Former KU and NBA basketball player Drew Gooden finished work on his communication studies degree in December and enjoyed the fruits of his academic labor walking down Campanile Hill on Sunday morning into Memorial Stadium for KU commencement exercises. Read full article.
Devenie Ross, a 2016 School of Business graduate, is one of the winners of the American Institute of CPAs’ 2016 Elijah Watt Sells Award. A total of 102,323 individuals sat for the exam in 2016, and Ross was one of 58 candidates to meet the award criteria. Read full article.
Attorney Diane L. Bellquist, of Joseph, Hollander &Craft LLC, is the newly elected president-elect of the Topeka Bar Association. She earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. Read full article.
Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras, nominated Monday by President Donald Trump to fill a vacancy on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, is described by colleagues as a scholar who can build bridges with colleagues on the bench. Read full article.
Just Play Sports Solutions announced it will partner with seven professional WNBA teams — the Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Dallas Wings, LA Sparks, Seattle Storm and Washington Mystic. Austin Barone, a graduate of the KU School of Business, is a co-founder of the company. Read full article.
Kevin Pritchard — who played at Kansas and was the starting point guard on the Jayhawks’ 1988 national championship team — is the new president of basketball operations for the Indiana Pacers. Read full article.
Fatimah Al Ghafli, 53, is a University of Kansas student from Saudi Arabia, a mother of nine and a grandmother of nine. She celebrated her second degree from KU, a master’s in math. Her husband and two kids also have degrees from KU, and two more children currently attend the university. Read full story.
University of Kansas professor emeritus of art history Edmund Eglinski was known as an advocate for learning through direct experience. Eglinski, 85, died Sunday in Lawrence of a heart attack. Read full article.
Michael Crawford — professor of anthropology, founding director of the Laboratory of Biological Anthropology and a founder of the field of anthropological genetics — has been at KU since 1971 and founded the lab in 1975. After more than 45 years on the Hill, Crawford is retiring and handing over leadership of the lab. Read full article.
Former Kansas basketball guard Nick Bradford remembers consulting two of his college mentors — former Jayhawks head coach Roy Williams and assistant Neil Dougherty — about his future career path. Bradford was announced as girls head basketball coach at Olathe North High School. Read full article.
Two-time PGA tour winner Gary Woodland, who ranks 10th on this season’s money list with four top 10 finishes in 11 events, is playing in his fifth Masters and first since 2015. He did not qualify for the tournament last year. Read full article.
As a graduate of the University and the last dean of women, Kala Stroup, c’59 g’64 PhD’74, has held many positions in higher education and still works with students to make the University an inclusive place. Read full article.
Linda Ellis-Sims spent her childhood in Independence, Missouri. Though her parents did not attend college themselves, they always placed a priority on education. Ellis-Sims gained an appreciation for math and science while achieving academic success in high school. An athlete in high school, Ellis-Sims also developed a strong passion for sports. Both of her interests factored into her decision to attend the University of Kansas. Read full article.
Susan Tabor, who was born blind, works for a service that provides both readings and information to those who are blind, visually impaired or print-disabled. After high school graduation, Tabor went on to pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degree in social welfare at the University of Kansas. Read full article.
A veteran, a state government leader, a CEO and a managing partner will be recognized with the University of Kansas School of Law’s highest honor. The awards will be presented at a private dinner April 8 in Lawrence. Read full article.
Teeter, b’71 g’75, has been working in analytics at KU for 45 years. Not only has she changed the way the University handles the data, but she has forever impacted the lives of those that work with her. Read full article.
Washburn University has hired former University of Kansas player and Wake Forest assistant Brett Ballard, d’04, to succeed Bob Chipman as head men’s basketball coach, the school announced Thursday. Read full article.
C.B. McGrath has been named UNCW’s 11th head coach of men’s basketball, the university announced today. His appointment is effective Tuesday, April 4. McGrath earned a B.A. in human biology and a master’s degree in education from KU. Read full article.
Faegre Baker Daniels partner Brandee Caswell, l’98, has been selected for the 2017 “Top Litigator” award by Law Week Colorado. The award is given to lawyers who excel inside and outside of the courtroom in plaintiff and defense work, and in trials and appeals. Read full article.
Topeka native and University of Kansas graduate Steve Tilford, a popular figure at cycling events in Lawrence because of his outgoing personality and area roots, died early Wednesday morning on Interstate 70 near the Utah-Colorado border, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. Read full article.
The KU men’s basketball season ended abruptly in Kansas City when the Ducks of Oregon ousted the Jayhawks from the NCAA Tournament in the Elite 8. While the road to the Final Four has ended for the ‘Hawks, the accolades keep rolling in, including first-team AP All-American honors for senior Frank Mason and third-team honors for freshman Josh Jackson. That adds to the team’s haul of Big 12 honors, including Player of the Year (Mason), Freshman of the Year (Jackson) and Coach of the Year (Bill Self), in addition to KU winning its thirteenth consecutive Big 12 title. Obviously, it’s been a busy year.
The KU Alumni Association also kept busy connecting fans and alumni for watch parties coast to coast. Nick Kallail, assistant vice president for alumni and career programs, tallied up his attendance at KU basketball gatherings during his first year on the staff, sharing the total with friends and alumni volunteers on Facebook:
Reflecting on an incredible first basketball season with KUAA –
3 home games
4 games in KC
5 road games – Las Vegas, Ft Worth, Norman, Waco, Austin
14 watch parties – LA (3), Denver, Chicago (2), Manhattan Beach, Seattle (2), San Francisco (2), San Diego, Houston, Dallas
And loved every second of it… because of the time spent with so many of you. Heading home!
Nick ended the season with our L.A. Jayhawks, where halftime festivities include a highlight video celebrating our loyal alumni and fans (see below). Similar celebrations took place all season every place Jayhawks flock, from Maine to Seattle, and last Saturday was no different. All told, the KU Alumni Association hosted 68 watch parties during KU’s Elite 8 contest with Oregon in Kansas City.
And throughout the postseason, our staff was able to travel in style, thanks once again to our postseason partner Crown Automotive. The Crown Jayhawk Car didn’t log as many miles as we had hoped, but fans loved seeing it and snapping pics with it when we hit the road to Tulsa and KC.
More awards and recognition will continue to come before Monday night’s national championship game, and we have one more to add, for the Best Fans and Alumni in the Nation, always proud to be a Jayhawk.
Open-practice shootarounds are usually mundane, forgettable affairs, with players practicing three-point shots, testing a few free throws and moving through light drills without breaking a sweat. Thursday afternoon, the top-seeded Jayhawks closed out their half-hour session in downtown Tulsa’s BOK Center with a thrilling sequence that brought raucous cheers from a blue-clad crowd of about 1,000 fans.
As the “practice” neared its conclusion, senior Frank Mason III, a leading candidate for national player of the year, planted himself in the corner of the court directly in front of the men’s basketball band and began drilling a succession of swishes from beyond the arc.
As his streak gained momentum, the festive musicians began shouting out a running count of swished three-pointers. When Mason missed on No. 16, a broad smile flashed across his usually stoic face and cheers turned to a quick roar.
The Jayhawks (28-4) closed out the practice with half-court shots, and, unusually, none were even close—until sophomore guard Lagerald Vick nailed a nothing-but-net swish that looked as effortless as a mid-ranger jumper.
That’s when coach Bill Self called for the team to huddle at midcourt. Once assembled in a tight pack, the players began chanting something unintelligible from a half-court away. The meaning of their words became clear as injured freshman center Udoka Azubuike grinned, shook his head, grinned again, and finally grabbed a ball handed to him by a teammate and thundered toward the goal.
Guarding his injured left wrist, Azubuike slammed home a thunderous right-handed dunk, which was quickly followed by Mason bouncing a ball off the backboard and grabbing it for a one-handed slam of his own.
As freshman sensation Josh Jackson began to follow suit, a look of panic shot across Self’s face and the veteran coach, a Naismith Coach of the Year finalist, shouted “Josh, don’t! Josh, don’t!” Jackson grudgingly obeyed orders and trotted toward the stands to join his teammates in an impromptu autograph session for eager fans.
The practice was so spirited that it might have served a purpose far beyond the typical bit of public relations splash: The Jayhawks seemingly generated a jump-start on rebuilding the momentum they lost after losing their first game of the Big 12 Tournament one week ago.
“I think it’s real important for all of us to get going,” junior guard Devonte’ Graham said of KU’s NCAA Tournament opener, 5:50 p.m. Friday against UC Davis. “We all gotta come out and be aggressive, especially on the defensive end, to get the jitters out and stuff like that. Everybody just needs to be aggressive.”
Fans are invited to a pregame event at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 17, at the Cox Business Center. The event, hosted by the KU Alumni Association, Kansas Athletics and the Williams Education Fund, will include a pep rally at 3:30 featuring the spirit squad and the basketball band. More information is available at the alumni association’s postseason site.
Check out photos from today’s open practice in the slideshow below, or click here to see the pictures on Flickr. All photos by Steve Puppe.
Follow the ‘Hawks as they fly through the postseason on our ‘Hawks and Hoops page, where alumni can find the latest updates on tournament games, pep rallies, shoot arounds and alumni watch parties around the country. And watch out for our KU Alumni Association staff on the road. They’ll be hard to miss.
Once again, thanks to Miles Schnaer’s Crown Automotive in Lawrence, your KU Alumni Association staff will be driving to Tulsa in style on the ‘Road to the Final Four.’ Be sure to wave at them in this one-of-a-kind Jayhawk Car.
Our postseaon partners at Crown tell us the Jayhawk car has been a favorite among fans and auto enthusiasts young and old, so if you spot us during March Madness, don’t forget to post a pic and tag #kualumni.
Senior night is always memorable for Jayhawks, and this one will be no different as KU bids farewell to starters and fan favorites Frank Mason and Landon Lucas, along with a third senior named Self. The only son of Head Coach Bill Self, fifth-year senior Tyler Self will thank his coach and father in what will surely be an emotional night for the Jayhawk family.
Get ready with our curated round up of senior night coverage below, and tune in tonight for the 8 p.m. CST tip off versus Oklahoma. Rock Chalk!
KU Provost Neeli Bendapudi visited southwest Kansas recently to discuss efforts made at the University of Kansas to alleviate transfer issues as well as a program to help Pell Grant and first-generation college students acclimate to a large campus. Alumnus Al Shank, a member of the KU Alumni Association’s national board of directors, is also mentioned in the article. Read full article.
The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has announced additional public programs for the spring 2017 semester. A group of distinguished KU alumni will headline the semester’s programming, including 2017 Dole Lecture guest Robert Kaplan. Read full article.
Sheila Bair has been mentioned as a potential candidate for one of three vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board. Bair, c’75, l’78, is currently the president of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. Read full article.
Dan Ryckert, an alumnus who holds two Guiness World Records and is a well-established voice in the gaming community, and his fiancee are competing to become the first couple to be married in the new Taco Bell Chapel in Las Vegas. Ryckert, c’08, has also published six books, including one about his experiences at KU. Read full article.
Stephanie A. Lovett-Bowman, c’05, j’05, l’10, has rejoined the Spencer Fane’s litigation practice after serving with the U.S. Department of Education. Previous to her time at the DoE, Stephanie served with Spencer Fane for five years. Read full article.
Catina Taylor, a co-founder of the V Form Alliance, uses virtual reality that allows elementary and middle school students to take a “field trip” exploring landmarks in Kansas and Missouri that are relevant to black history. Taylor earned a degree from the KU School of Law in 1999. Read full article.
Mary Loveland, a member of the KU Alumni Association’s national board of directors from 1977-1982, is a candidate for the open seat on the Lawrence school board. Loveland, c’70, previously served on the board from 1987-2003 and again from 2007-2011. Read full article.
Carole Haggard, a retired teacher in Olathe, could not believe her good luck in January, when she learned she had won the grand prize in the Alumni Association’s Membership Mania Sweepstakes. Haggard, g’94, who renewed her annual membership to enter the drawing, scored a $1,000 Visa gift card, a basketball autographed by the KU men’s basketball team and four tickets to a home game in Allen Field House.
Her good fortune continued Feb. 13, when Haggard, her daughter-in-law Calla Haggard and granddaughters Sara and Dorothy enjoyed prime seats for the Jayhawks’ improbable comeback 84-80 win in overtime against the West Virginia Mountaineers. The family rejoiced with the rest of the thunderous crowd, which set a new Guinness world record when the roar reached 130.4 decibels, the loudest in an indoor arena.
“This was an unforgettable night, and I’m truly grateful,” Haggard said. Sharing the experience with her family made it all the sweeter.
Calla Haggard and her daughters, Sara and Dorothy, celebrated with their grandmother, Carole Haggard, during the KU’s memorable home-court win over West Virginia Feb. 13.
Justin Law is the first to admit that his spouse is much better at compromising than he is—especially when it comes to watching college sports. But he’s no stranger to compromise either.
Justin, b’99, g’04, a diehard Jayhawk, lives in Manhattan with his wife, Kelly, a K-State graduate. They met in Kansas City in 2004, thanks to a friend who played matchmaker. An engagement soon followed, and the young couple decided to ditch the big city and move to a smaller town.
“Manhattan wasn’t necessarily on the list at the time,” Justin recalls wryly.
That changed when Kelly accepted a job at the K-State Alumni Association. The Laws have been in the Little Apple ever since.
Despite the fact that Justin bleeds crimson and blue, and Kelly’s pride is purple, the two make it work. “She’s come to KU basketball games with me but not against K-State,” says Justin. “I’ve been to K-State football games when they’re not playing KU. I’m a little more competitive and more interested in the outcome of sporting events, especially against K-State—especially living in Manhattan.”
Kelly, who now works at USI Insurance Services and counts the KU Alumni Association as one of her clients, has softened her stance against her intrastate rival. “I will willingly go to KU games when they’re not playing K-State, and I’ll cheer for KU,” she says. “But I typically wear pretty neutral colors.”
Justin gets a little support from their daughter, Kherington, who’s almost 7. The young girl, who at first favored the Wildcats over the Jayhawks, has been singing a different tune lately. The future Jayhawk, who is a big fan of Baby Jay and can easily recite KU’s alma mater, proudly sports her Jayhawk cheerleading outfit to school and willingly endures teasing from her teachers and classmates.
“She actually started out a K-State fan,” says Justin. “Around the age of 4, she switched allegiances. I’m honestly not sure how that happened. I wish I knew how, so if she started wavering I could bring her back.”
The Laws keep the family rivalry fun by placing wagers, which include dinner duty or a household chore for the losing fan, on KU vs. K-State games. “We have a lot of family bets,” says Kelly. “It’s always Kherington and Justin against me.”
Although Justin and his daughter often don’t fare well during football season, they look forward to basketball season and rely on their ’Hawks to outplay the Wildcats—if for no other reason than to dodge dinner duty. Here’s hoping they get their win.
There’s a big basketball game this Saturday, Jayhawks.
The KU men’s basketball team takes on the Kentucky Wildcats in the Sonic SEC-Big 12 Challenge. The game tips off at 5:15 p.m. CT at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.
It’s the perfect opportunity to gather with fellow alumni, fans and friends!
Hang out with staff members from the KU Alumni Association, Kansas Athletics and the Williams Fund before the game at the Magnolia Room in the Hilton Lexington Downtown.
We’ll have light snacks, a cash bar and TVs showing other games.
2:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, January 28
Magnolia Room, Hilton Lexington Downtown
369 W. Vine St.
Lexington, KY 40507
More than 50 watch parties are scheduled around the country, from Albany to Wichita—it’s close to a record number.
Check out our online calendar to find a watch party near you. And if you haven’t connected with a local alumni network, you can find a list of all networks plus links to their websites and Facebook groups here.
Share your photos
We’d love to see your photos from the pregame party, the game or your watch parties! Share them on social media using the #KUalumni hashtag, or post them to our Facebook page. We’ll share the best ones with our followers!
If you don’t have an alumni network or watch site in your area, and would like to start one, contact Nick Kallail, assistant vice president of alumni and career programs, at email@example.com.