Thank you for supporting Hawks & Highways

Posted on Jul 19, 2019 in News

Hawks & Highways | 2019 Hawks & highways
Thanks to the more than 800 alumni, friends and University partners who participated in the 2019 Hawks & Highways events! The ongoing series supports Chancellor Douglas Girod’s priority to strengthen KU’s statewide outreach.

The KU Alumni Association and Kansas Athletics coordinated this year’s events, which featured the chancellor, athletics director Jeff Long, head football coach Les Miles and leaders from KU Endowment, KU Admissions, KU School of Medicine-Wichita, the Spencer Museum of Art, the KU Medical Center Alumni Association, the schools of Journalism and Social Welfare and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

We’re grateful to Alumni Association members and donors and Williams Education Fund donors whose support is critical to this program. Together we will continue to bring the best of KU to communities throughout Kansas.

Rock Chalk!

Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09

See pictures from the Hawks & Highways events in the slideshow below, or click here to view or download them from Flickr.

Hawks & Highways 2019

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Association programs, design and communications win regional honors

Posted on Jan 9, 2019 in News

Adams Alumni Center | CASE honors 2018
The Association and several other KU entities won regional honors in the annual competition of Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VI, which includes eight states.

The Association’s honors include:

Month of Service returns

For the second consecutive year, alumni donated their time and treasure for the Alumni Association’s KU Cares Month of Service campaign, which encourages Jayhawks nationwide to give back to their communities during the month of November. Nearly 350 volunteers—more than double last year’s participation—from 24 alumni networks generously gave more than 100 hours of service to:

  • Organize blood drives
  • Collect food, clothing and personal hygiene supplies
  • Prepare and serve meals for families in need
  • Restore and enhance neighborhood parks
  • Make sleeping bags for homeless individuals
  • Clean beaches in seaside communities
  • Gather pet supplies for local animal shelters
  • Raise money for national and local nonprofit organizations

Overall, the University community received 30 awards for programs, events and communications from the Office of Marketing Communications, KU Endowment, the KU Cancer Center, The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the William Allen White School of Journalism. The awards will be presented Jan. 15 at the annual CASE District VI conference in Denver.

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KU Alumni Association honors recipient of Fred Ellsworth Medallion

Posted on Sep 7, 2018 in News

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, Fred Ellsworth Medallion recipient
The 2018 recipient of the Fred Ellsworth Medallion for extraordinary service to the University of Kansas is Bernadette Gray-Little, the University’s 17th chancellor, who retired in 2017 after eight years of leadership. The KU Alumni Association will honor her Sept. 14 during the fall meeting of the Association’s national board of directors. Since 1975, the medallions have recognized KU volunteers who have continued the tradition of service established by Ellsworth, a 1922 KU graduate who was the Association’s chief executive for 39 years, retiring in 1963.

During her tenure as chancellor, Gray-Little led the record-breaking $1.6 billion Far Above fundraising campaign and led the successful proposal and implementation of new admissions standards and the launch of a new undergraduate curriculum, KU Core, both aimed to increase student retention and graduation rates. From 2012 through 2016, KU’s freshman class experienced growth for five straight years.

Gray-Little oversaw the physical transformation of the University in 50 capital improvement projects totaling $700 million in Lawrence as well as on the Edwards Campus in Overland Park and KU Medical Center campuses in Kansas City, Wichita and Salina. Most notable is the Central District in Lawrence. Other highlights include the expansion of the schools of Engineering and Medicine, including the construction of the new Health Education Building at KU Medical Center; a new home for the School of Business; new residence halls; and the restoration of Jayhawk Boulevard.

KU also made historic strides in research, achieving National Institutes of Health designations for the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, the KU Cancer Center and Frontiers, the KU Clinical and Translational Science Institute. KU is one of only 26 U.S. universities to house three NIH-designated research centers. The research enterprise also expanded with the recruitment of 12 Foundation Distinguished Professors, a key component of the Bold Aspirations strategic plan to enhance research initiatives on campus.

“We are pleased to recognize Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little with the Fred Ellsworth Medallion,” said Heath Peterson, president of the KU Alumni Association. “One of the most visible and important parts of her legacy at KU was making a commitment early in her tenure to establishing a strategic enrollment management plan. The plan was anchored by a data-driven, highly customized approach to recruitment and supported by a new and very robust four-year renewable scholarship model. The results from this transformation over the previous eight years speak for themselves. Of course, there are many other significant milestones, but enrollment growth stands out for me because it is incredibly important to the health of the entire institution.”

Since 1975, 157 KU alumni and friends have received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion.

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‘Tis the season

Posted on Dec 12, 2016 in 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 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 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 News

Dee Clifford, Proud Member and Mildred Clodfelter award recipient |
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 News

Chris Colyer, Proud Member and Dick Wintermote Award Recipient |
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 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 News

Phil Moran, Dick Wintermote award recipient |

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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