‘Tis the season

Posted on Dec 12, 2016 in Campus News and News

‘Tis the season for a little cheer, so we dressed our loved ones up in silly gear!

Happy holidays from the KU Alumni Association. We appreciate your loyalty as a member.

Need more holiday cheer? Check out our holiday videos from previous years.

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KU Alumni Association welcomes new officers, national board members

Posted on Sep 13, 2016 in Campus News and News

New board members
New national board members are (l to r): Jay Kerutis, Portia Kibble Smith, Janet Murfin and Ryan Colaianni.

New officers and four new directors were among the University of Kansas alumni who gathered Sept. 9-10 at the Adams Alumni Center for the fall meeting of the KU Alumni Association’s national board of directors.

Scott SeyfarthThe national chair for 2016-’17 is Scott Seyfarth, Hinsdale, Illinois, and the chair-elect is Kevin Carroll, Johns Creek, Georgia. Both took office July 1. The new directors are Jay Kerutis, Mesa, Arizona; Janet Lusk Murfin, Wichita; Ryan Colaianni, Arlington, Virginia; and Portia Kibble Smith, Overland Park. Their five-year terms on the board began July 1.

Seyfarth earned his KU degree in accounting and business administration in 1983. A longtime volunteer leader for the Association’s Chicago Network, he joined the national board in 2010. He owns Hipskind Seyfarth Risk Solutions LLC in Chicago. He is an Association life member, and he and his wife, Eileen, are donors to the Presidents Club.

Kevin CarrollCarroll became part of the Jayhawk community in 1983, when he was hired as the first director of the Adams Alumni Center and manager of The Learned Club for the Association. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, he is now chief operating officer and general manager of the Atlanta Athletic Club.

He joined the Association’s national board in 2012. He and his wife, Lisa, have hosted KU student recruitment events in Atlanta and Florida. They are life members and donors to the Presidents Club.

Colaianni completed KU bachelor’s degrees in political science and journalism in 2007. Following graduation, he returned to his hometown of Arlington, Virginia, and began his career in Washington, D.C., where he is now vice president of Edelman public relations. He leads the Washington Network as president and has hosted numerous events to support the Association and student recruitment. He received the 2011 Dick Wintermote Award for his leadership. His wife, Erinn, earned her KU bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2007 and her master’s in 2008. The Colaiannis are Alumni Association life members and Presidents Club donors.

Kerutis earned his KU bachelor’s degree in personnel administration in 1982. He devoted his career to computer software, rising through the ranks at Digital River Inc. to become president of the software and digital commerce services division. Now retired, he is president of the Las Sendas Golf Club. He competed for KU as a swimmer and, as captain, led the team to two conference championships and organized a 25-year reunion of his teammates. He is a life member and Presidents Club donor. He is married to Pat Caldwell.

Murfin, a 1975 KU graduate in elementary education, helped create the annual Jayhawk Roundup in Wichita and with her husband, David, a 1975 KU graduate, has hosted the event every year at Murfin Stables. She is a member of the Wichita Network board and has volunteered for numerous programs. The Murfins are life members and Presidents Club donors. David Murfin is a member of the Kansas Board of Regents.

Kibble Smith earned her KU degree in personnel administration in 1978, and she owns PKS Executive Search & Consulting. She serves on the Kansas City Network board, and she has participated in numerous events, including the Rock Chalk Ball and ’Hawks, Helmets and Handlebars. She personally recruits students through her involvement in the local KU network as well as the Black Alumni Network, and she is an annual member of the Association.

The Alumni Association accepts nominations for the national board from January 1 through March 1 each year. The board’s nominating committee selects a slate of nominees in April, the board considers each member of the slate for election at its spring meeting. The board meets in the fall, winter and spring.

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Cheese ball for everyone!

Posted on Feb 3, 2015 in Campus News and News

It’s Cheese Ball Day here at the Adams Alumni Center. Not that we need an excuse for snacks, but today we have a good one: celebrating what would have been our dear Miss Betty’s 50th work anniversary.

Betty Howe Otto | www.kualumni.orgRecords specialist Betty Howe Otto started working as a graphotype operator for the KU Alumni Association on Feb. 3, 1965, back when we were headquartered in Strong Hall and people still knew what a graphotype machine was. (I once asked Betty to explain the mysterious contraption, which she patiently did, and I still didn’t have the slightest clue, so please don’t ask me to explain it here.)

And then every year afterward, Betty on Feb. 3 celebrated her Alumni Association anniversary by bringing in one of her famous, ginormous, nut-encrusted cheese balls and a big box of crackers.

Don’t like cheese balls, you say? Then you never had one of Miss Betty’s.

“This date was very special to her. She absolutely loved working at KUAA,” records specialist Julie Lowrance wrote this morning in an email to her colleagues here on Oread Avenue. “While I’m sure this store-bought cheese ball won’t be nearly as delicious as hers, I wanted to do something to honor her.”

True, the energetically orange ball-o’-cheese nested in a bed of crackers is not as good as Betty’s. But it is delicious, if only for the memories.

Over the course of her 47 years at the KU Alumni Association, Miss Betty installed herself as the keeper of traditions within our wacky warren: hand-crafted Christmas decorations for everybody in the building, for instance, and our ritual of bringing in treats to celebrate work anniversaries and birthdays. Munchers minis, cinnamon twists, even the occasional veggie-and-dip platter are standard fare, and now the back counter also includes a well-stocked tray of healthy-ish snacks, available for inexpensive purchase, as well as a huge, seemingly bottomless tin of spiced popcorn from a local barbecue restaurant.

The cheese ball, though, that’s the golden ticket, and we’ve gone too long without one.

Miss Betty retired in June 2012; we lost her for good on July 23, 2014.

We’ve hired quite a few new staff members since Betty left, and whenever we welcome them to the crew I feel a fleeting dash of melancholy. As good as their experience will hopefully be here, they’ll never know Miss Betty. Well, that’s how the wheel turns, and our new colleagues will surely create and cherish their own Alumni Association rituals, traditions and memories.

Just do us old-timers one favor: Go ahead and forget all about us, we know you will, but don’t forget the Feb. 3 cheese ball, eh? It’s not for us. It’s for Miss Betty, and honoring her is worth the effort.

Because nobody ever, ever loved the KU Alumni Association and all that it represents—alumni members, Jayhawk traditions, the great good fortune of finding oneself associated in any manner with this university on a Hill—more than Betty Howe Otto.

Quoting Julie: “Miss you, Betty.”

—Chris Lazzarino

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Millie Award Recipient: Dee Clifford

Posted on Jan 5, 2015 in Campus News and News

Dee Clifford, Proud Member and Mildred Clodfelter award recipient | www.kualumni.org
Dee Clifford, c’71, is among six loyal Jayhawks honored with the 2014 Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award.

The “Millie” recognizes Jayhawks who have served KU as ambassadors in their local communities for 10 years or more and honors the memory of Clodfelter, b’41, for her 47 years of service to the University, including 42 years working at the Association.

Clifford is a Path to Life Premium member who has been active in the Las Vegas, Nevada alumni network since retiring in the area in 2005; she currently serves as the network leader. She was the watch site coordinator and helped the local KU Jayhawks grow from a handful of participants to about 200 faithful.

Before her retirement, she spent her career in information technology, including 16 years with Marion Laboratories and affiliated companies in the Kansas City area. She retired from Aventis Pharmaceuticals in 2000 but returned to work as director of information technology for North Kansas City Hospital before retiring “for good” in 2004.

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Dick Wintermote Award Recipient: Chris Colyer

Posted on Dec 15, 2014 in Campus News and News

Chris Colyer, Proud Member and Dick Wintermote Award Recipient | www.kualumni.org
Heath Peterson, vice president for alumni programs, recently presented the Dick Wintermote Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award to Chris Colyer, b’04, l’09, current president of the Phoenix Network of the Alumni Association.

Chris was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, in a family of Jayhawks: Jim Colyer, c’72; Toni Farha Colyer, d’72; James Colyer, ’00; Kelli Colyer Lieurance, c’02, l’05; and Kami Colyer, p’09. While attending KU, Chris was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity and a manager at the popular just-off-campus watering hole, The Wheel.

Chris graduated from KU with a degree in business administration, and following a brief stint as a financial analyst at Payless ShoeSource World Headquarters in Topeka, he returned to the KU School of Law and earned his Juris Doctor in 2009. He currently works as an environmental and real estate attorney at Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. in Phoenix.

The Dick Wintermote award annually recognizes up to five network volunteers who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership to their network and the KU Alumni Association during a one-year period (July 1-June 30). Dick Wintermote, c’51, served as the executive director of the Association from 1963 to 1983.

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Millie Award Recipient: Jim Christensen

Posted on Nov 17, 2014 in Campus News and News

Jim Christensen

Jim Christensen, d’64, is among six loyal Jayhawks honored with the 2014 Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award.

The “Millie” recognizes Jayhawks who have served KU as ambassadors in their local communities for 10 years or more and honors the memory of Clodfelter, b’41, for her 47 years of service to the University, including 42 years working at the Association.

Christensen, a native of Marion and a Path to Life Premium and Life Member, has helped recruit prospective students and served as the Marion County coordinator for the Kansas Honors Program since 1977.

He has volunteered as a member of Jayhawks for Higher Education, and he contributes to the Williams Education Fund for Kansas Athletics. He played football at KU and began his career as a teacher. He later joined his father in business and took over Lynn Farm Equipment, an international dealership, until his retirement in 2006.

Kevin Corbett, president of the Alumni Association, presented Christensen with the award at the McPherson Kansas Honors Program held on Sept. 24.

Congratulations, Jim!

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Dick Wintermote Award Recipient: Phil Moran

Posted on Oct 8, 2014 in Campus News and News

Phil Moran, Dick Wintermote award recipient | www.kualumni.org

Danny Lewis, director of alumni programs, recently presented the Dick Wintermote Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award to Phil Moran, e’80, current president of the Houston Chapter of the Alumni Association.

The award recognizes chapter volunteers who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership to their chapter and the KU Alumni Association during a one-year period, and it honors Dick Wintermote, c’51, who served as the executive director of the Association from 1963 to 1983.

While Phil loves watching his Jayhawks, one of his goals as chapter leader was to involve alumni with events that were not focused solely on sports. With this in mind, the chapter has since enjoyed a museum tour of impressionist art that included a wine tasting, and another popular event brought in a speaker from the Dole Institute who spoke about the 2012 Presidential election.

The Houston Chapter was proud to support the Moran Norris Foundation in bringing 30 underprivileged junior high students to the Rice University campus. The kids enjoyed a campus tour and then learned the Rock Chalk chant before attending the KU vs. Rice football game.

After graduating from KU with a degree in chemical engineering, Phil worked in the oilfield as a field engineer and in management for Schlumberger. During this time, he completed an MBA from SMU’S Cox School of Business. Phil is a partner with Portfolio Advisory Council, LLC, an investment advisory and financial planning firm. He is also a member of the Engineering Dean’s Club and the Alumni Association’s Presidents Club.

Phil and his wife, Vicki, have two sons and have lived in Houston since 1997.

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Mike Denning, Dick Wintermote Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award recipient

Posted on Nov 21, 2013 in Campus News and News

Mike Denning, c’83, received the Dick Wintermote award at the Veterans Alumni Chapter Senior Advisory Board dinner Nov. 15 in recognition of his leadership of the KU Veterans Alumni Chapter.

Under Denning’s guidance, the relatively new Veterans Alumni Chapter has established a Challenge Coin, the Veterans Day 5K Run, the new Chancellor John Fraser Distinguished Military Graduate Award, and support for the Wounded Warriors Scholarship Fund, along with other efforts to improve the KU experience for all veteran students and alumni.

Following his graduation, Denning entered the Marine Corps and was commissioned a second lieutenant in April 1983. His 27-year military career included three tours of duty in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. Since 2011, he has directed the University’s Office of Graduate Military Programs.

The Wintermote award is named for Dick Wintermote, c’51, who served as the executive director of the Association from 1963 to 1983. The annual award is presented to chapter volunteers who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership during a one-year period. Other 2013 winners include Kent Colvin, assoc., of the Southwest Kansas Chapter; Steve Dillard, c’75, of the Wichita Chapter; Rita Holmes-Bobo, b’82, g’84, of the Black Alumni Chapter; and Sean O’Grady, j’04, of the Denver Chapter. The winners are profiled in issue 6, 2013, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

Randy Masten and Mike Denning, KU Veterans Alumni Chapter | www.kualumni.org

Pictured above: Randy Masten, g’03, secretary/treasurer of the Veterans Alumni Chapter, and Mike Denning, c’83, president.

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Calling all 2008 graduates

Posted on Nov 19, 2013 in Campus News and News

Did you know that recent graduates are eligible to join the KU Alumni Association at special discounted rates?

img_news_fleece_blanketThe discount is available for the first five years after completion of your most recent KU degree. An annual single membership costs just $25 per year– regularly $55– while a joint membership is $30 (regularly $60). That’s a huge savings!

If you’re ready to commit to life membership, you’ll save even more. A single life membership is half price for recent grads ($500 instead of $1000), and an installment plan is available so you can make monthly payments instead of a lump sum.

And, we have a special gift for you: Lock in a life membership at half price, and you’ll receive a free KU fleece roll-up blanket!

Click here to join before Dec. 31 and take advantage of Recent Grad rates!

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Jayhawks connect on Facebook

Posted on Oct 14, 2013 in Campus News and News

Love it or hate it, Facebook has become the go-to source for people to connect with friends, relatives and long-lost classmates. Alumni of the University of Kansas are no different, and we’ve found that Facebook groups are a great way for Jayhawks around the world to meet each other, plan events and share their spirit.

The Alumni Association offers 22 chapters in Kansas that include all 105 counties; 41 national chapters; and 18 points of contact in an international network. Each of these groups also has a home on Facebook.

Facebook groups also exist for areas where we don’t have an official chapter, but Jayhawk alumni, fans and friends wanted a way to connect with each other.

How do you find a Facebook group to join? There are a couple ways:

  • Find the chapter’s website. Click here to see a list of affinity and geographic-based chapters; each chapter name links to the chapter’s website, where you can find everything you need to know about the chapter, including their Facebook group.
  • Or, click here to visit the KU Alumni Facebook page, where you can find a list of alumni Facebook groups– including those that aren’t affiliated with an official chapter.

Recently, we made a big change for our Kansas chapters. Previously, each chapter had its own Facebook Page. However, to stay consistent with how our national chapters are using Facebook, as well as to encourage more interaction among alumni, we decided to start using groups instead. In some cases, we combined several chapter areas into one Facebook group, since many events are of interest to alumni in multiple chapter areas.

If you’re using Facebook to keep in touch with friends or family, consider finding an alumni network, too. And if there’s not a Facebook group in your area, but you’re interested in setting one up, let us know! Email kualumni@kualumni.org and we’ll get in touch with more information.

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