Stories of the Decade

Posted on Dec 31, 2019 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

In the grand scheme of our 155 year-old University, a decade is barely a blip. But that doesn’t mean the past 10 years have gone without notable accomplishments.

We welcomed presidential visits, brought the original rules of basketball home and said farewell to a home on Daisy Hill. We revered Jayhawks who won the Nobel Peace Prize, Rhodes Scholarships, MacArthur fellowships and an Academy Award.

Jayhawks have much to be proud of.

KU Cancer Center achieves NCI designation

“I am here,” said Kathleen Sebelius, g’80, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “to formally award the University of Kansas Cancer Center with the prestigious designation as a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center.” With that proclamation on July 12, 2012, the University succeeded in its longtime quest for NCI designation, transforming cancer research and care for Kansas and the region to a gold standard.

Alumnus wins Nobel Peace Prize

Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia, received an honorary degree from KU

President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for his efforts at ending a civil war that ravaged his country for more than 50 years. Santos, b’73, visited KU in 2012 and returned in 2017 to receive an honorary degree. The Colombian leader was not the only sitting president to visit KU during the last decade: In 2015, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit KU in more than a century. 

Rock Chalk Champions

Fans celebrate on Mass Street after KU beats Duke to advance to the Final Four | 2018

It was a decade of dominance for KU men’s basketball, including 14 straight Big 12 titles and Final Fours in 2012 and 2018. Allen Fieldhouse hosted numerous legendary players and performances, including an overtime classic against Missouri in 2012 and Frank Mason III’s National Player of the Year season in 2017.

The women’s outdoor track and field team won the national championship in 2013, and KU’s volleyball team reached its first final four in 2015. KU Debate also won the 2018 National Debate Tournament—its sixth national championship.

Honors and Awards

KU students, faculty and alumni won numerous prestigious awards during the past decade.

The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and most celebrated fellowship in the world, and each year just 32 students from the United States are selected. Two Jayhawks received the coveted award: Kelsey Murrell, c’12, became KU’s 26th Rhodes Scholar in 2011, and Shegufta Huma, c’17, was named a Rhodes Scholar in 2016.

Two Jayhawks were named MacArthur Fellows in the past ten years. Often called “genius grants,” the fellowship provides a $500,000 no-strings-attached grant that helps exceptional artists, scholars, scientists and teachers to pursue projects.

Marla Spivak, PhD’89, was named a 2010 MacArthur Fellow. She is a McKnight Distinguished Professor in entomology at the University of Minnesota and an international leader on honey bee research.

Sarah Deer, c’96, l’99, was a winner of the MacArthur fellowship in 2014. Deer is a legal scholar, strategist and advocate for policies and legislation designed to help Native American tribal courts more effectively address violence against women. She returned to KU in 2017 as a professor in the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and the School of Public Affairs & Administration.

In 2012, the University began awarding honorary degrees at Commencement to recognize intellectual, scholarly, professional, or creative achievement, or service to humanity. It is the highest honor bestowed by the University.

Kevin Willmott, a KU professor of film & media studies, was nominated for and won his first Academy Award in 2019. Willmott was a co-writer on Spike Lee’s film “BlacKkKlansman,” which won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The rules come home

The original rules of basketball, penned by James Naismith in 1891, were brought to a public auction in December 2010. Jayhawk David Booth, c’68 g’69, spent a record $4.3 million to bring the rules home.

“[The rules are] incredibly important and they should be at the University of Kansas,” Booth said. “Naismith was there 40 years. He invented basketball and Phog Allen was one of the key figures in making it so popular.”

The DeBruce Center opened in 2016 to host the historic rules, along with other basketball history exhibits and a cafe.

Far Above: The campaign for Kansas raises more than $1.6 billion

Far exceeding its original goal of $1.2 billion, Far Above, The Campaign for Kansas, had raised $1.66 billion when it ended June 2016. The campaign, which began in July 2008 and was managed by KU Endowment, boosted support for students, faculty, facility and programs, creating 735 new scholarships and fellowships, 53 new professorships and 16 new buildings or major renovations. During the campaign, the University also celebrated its sesquicentennial, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the first day of classes on September 12, 1866.

Changing campus

The implosion of McCollum Hall in 2015 changed the Lawrence campus skyline, as KU witnessed unprecedented building and expansion over the past decade. KU Housing alone saw several buildings built or renovated, including Self, Oswald, Downs and McCarthy halls, Stouffer Apartments plus Corbin and GSP. The KU School of Pharmacy received a state-of-the-art home on West Campus, and the school’s expansion in Wichita was made possible thanks to state support. The KU School of Business moved from Summerfield into beautiful new Capitol Federal Hall, while the KU Medical Center welcomed the new Health Education Building to its Kansas City campus. A new KU School of Medicine Salina Campus grew, along with major projects in Lawrence, including Rock Chalk Park, Central District, KU School of Engineering expansion, Spencer Museum of Art renovation and more.

Chancellor transition

The 2010s were a decade of unprecedented growth at the University under Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little’s leadership. In 2017, Gray-Little stepped down as chancellor of the University, a position she held since 2009.

Douglas A. Girod, formerly executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center, was named KU’s 18th chancellor in July 2017. At the KU Medical Center, he oversaw the educational, research, patient care and community engagement missions of the schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions.

Association news

Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, succeeded Kevin Corbett, c’88, as Alumni Association president in 2015, continuing a decade of sustained growth and impact, including the creation of the KU Mentoring program and the Jayhawk Career Network. During that time, the Student Alumni Association became the Student Alumni Network (SAN), eliminating dues for student members. The group quickly grew to become the largest student organization at KU and the biggest of its kind in the Big 12. Similarly, loyal alumni fueled the growth of the Presidents Club to record numbers, allowing the Association continue its vital work to advocate for the University of Kansas, communicate with Jayhawks in all media, recruit students and volunteers, serve students and alumni, and unite Jayhawks worldwide.

Legends lost

The University lost some of its top Jayhawks including chancellors Robert Hemenway, in 2015, and Del Shankel, in 2018. Several other beloved Jayhawks left us in the last decade, including Max Falkenstien, c’47, the voice of the Jayhawks for more than 60 years; the legendary Coach Don Fambrough, d’48; and Hal Sandy, j’47, creator of our smiling Jayhawk, plus too many more to name. These incredible Jayhawks will forever be remembered fondly by alumni who love KU.

Bonus: Your favorites

To cap off this list, we had to include some of your favorites. Here are some of our readers’ most popular blog posts:

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Top 19 Stories of 2019

Posted on Dec 20, 2019 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Jayhawk Boulevard
As a new decade approaches, it’s time to take a look back at the year with our top 19 stories of 2019. It’s a mix of our favorites, your most-read and the KU stories that shaped the year. Thanks for a great year, Jayhawks!

Barbara Bichelmeyer19. Barbara Bichelmeyer named provost and executive vice chancellor

Chancellor Doug Girod announced Barbara Bichelmeyer as the next provost and executive vice chancellor of the Lawrence campus in a message to the KU community.

18. KU couple returns to their ‘Home on the Hill’

When Matt Lindberg reached out to us about a special 10-year anniversary surprise for his wife, Sarah, we couldn’t pass up the chance to give the Life Members a tour of campus to see their alma mater, old and new.

17. Jayhawk Career Network: How to talk about yourself and your value

Half the battle of getting a job is putting in the hard work to be prepared and gain relevant experience. The other half is conveying that work and experience to prospective employers.

How do you effectively talk about yourself and your value? Bill Mar, a manager for site reliability engineering at LinkedIn, is involved with NOVA, a nonprofit employment agency that offers customized services to job seekers in Silicon Valley. Through his work, Mar has learned some tips and tricks to landing a job.

16. Film & Media Studies professor takes Oscar for co-writing ‘BlacKkKlansman’

After months of Oscar buzz, Kevin Willmott’s work on “BlacKkKlansman” was lauded Feb. 24 with an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

15. Flying Jayhawks pay tribute at Normandy on 75th anniversary of D-Day

A June Flying Jayhawks trip brought KU alumni to Celtic Lands, visiting the ports of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and England. But the real treat came in the form of a front-row seat to history, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We would visit Normandy in the days leading up to the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and our guide would be none other than David Eisenhower Jr., grandson of President Dwight David Eisenhower, who commanded the D-Day invasion.

14. KU to present three honorary degrees at 2019 Commencement

An Olympic gold medalist and humanitarian, a former director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the CEO of a global scientific instrumentation company received honorary degrees from KU at the 2019 Commencement.

13. Rock Chalk Ball brings a Jayhawk party to Kansas City

Rock Chalk Ball 2019

Nearly 550 Jayhawks gathered April 27 to celebrate the University of Kansas at the 24th annual Rock Chalk Ball, which is hosted by the Alumni Association and the Greater Kansas City Network.

12. Part-time beauty blogger blossoms into full-time social-media influencer

When Sarah James started blogging in 2005, she was searching for no more than a creative outlet to offset the somewhat draining days as a pharmaceutical sales representative, a role she held through most of her 30s. “I wasn’t looking to completely sidetrack my career,” says James, “but sure enough, that’s what happened.”

11. KU senior relishes behind-the-scenes opportunity with the Blues

Using the Jayhawk Career Network’s mentoring platform, Jordan Kriete had the chance to go behind the scenes at the St. Louis Blues team headquarters to learn about a career in sports marketing firsthand.

10. The Rock Chalk Roundball Classic

Top 19

KU basketball athletes become legends when they wear the crimson and blue in Allen Fieldhouse. But what they do with that fame is up to them. Since 2009, the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic has invited KU alumni back to Lawrence for a charity basketball game to raise money for local children fighting cancer.

9. Herford stamps passport to football championships

Marcus Herford, Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year in 2007 and a member of KU’s victorious Orange Bowl team that season, is, more than a decade later, living his best life, coaching football and winning championships. That much is, more or less, going to script.

8. Commencement regalia origins have KU connection

The University of Kansas has a long history of traditions at Commencement, but one tradition with a Jayhawk connection is celebrated at graduations everywhere. The regalia that graduates wear for their official conferral of degrees looks much the same no matter what college or university you visit.

7. University receives NCAA notice of allegations

On Monday, Sept. 23, the University of Kansas received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA enforcement staff regarding alleged violations of NCAA bylaws within the Kansas men’s basketball and football programs.

6. Rock Chalk Revue

On the 70th anniversary of Rock Chalk Revue, learn the story of one of the nation’s largest student-run philanthropy events. The event has raised more than $1 million for community nonprofit organizations throughout its history.

5. Woodland reminisces about KU after U.S. Open victory

Days after closing out his first major-tournament victory, Gary Woodland shared stories of his time at KU and his new future as a U.S. Open champion.

4. Jayhawk’s license plate disaster warrants Alumni Association assistance

The KU Alumni Association receives hundreds of letters from Jayhawks across the globe, but it was an ominous note from Brooke Collison, a Corvallis, Oregon, alumnus, titled “Insidious KSU Plot” that recently caught the attention of several staffers. Curious what Collison had uncovered about our pesky neighbors to the west, we read on.

3. Joe’s Bakery served up sweet memories

Since 1952, Joe’s Bakery served the people of Lawrence with delicious sub sandwiches and fresh donuts, served up 24 hours a day except Sundays. The 24 hours were necessary, as a hot, fresh glazed donut from Joe’s was a staple of the KU student nightlife.

2. KU student, professor’s tight-knit connection leads to award

Hailey Solomon, a senior from Oswego, nominated her civil engineering professor, Matt O’Reilly, for the H.O.P.E. Award. When he was selected as a finalist, Solomon attended the Oct. 5 KU-OU football game to support her mentor. Uninterested in the game itself, Solomon brought her crocheting and presumed her presence had gone unnoticed. Four million Twitter and Facebook views later, she had become a social media sensation.

1. Students make a splash with ‘Wescoe Rooftop Pool’

aerial shot of Wescoe Rooftop Pool rendering

The plaza in front of Wescoe Hall has been lovingly referred to as Wescoe Beach for decades. This year, a group of KU students are making a splash with a proposal to turn the classic building into a real beach party with a rooftop pool.

And there you have it — our most popular stories of 2019! Thank you for a great year, and Rock Chalk!

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Top 18 Stories of 2018

Posted on Dec 21, 2018 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Fraser | Top 18 Stories of 2018

As 2019 approaches, it’s time to take a look back at our year with our top 18 stories of 2018. These are the stories most liked and shared by the Jayhawk community. Thanks for a great year!

Top 18 Stories of 201818. KU Mentoring connects neuroscience student with surgeon

Thomas Angel took the long road to the University of Kansas, but he’s making sure his time here counts. Thanks to the power of the KU Mentoring platform, Angel connected with a practicing surgeon who he will shadow over winter break.

17. Remembering Chancellor Shankel

The University family lost an extraordinary Jayhawk and truly dedicated leader in Chancellor Emeritus Del Shankel. Shankel twice led KU through pivotal transitions as interim chancellor, from 1980 to ’81 and 1994 to ’95. The Kansas Board of Regents officially designated him KU’s 15th chancellor in 1995.

16. Giving Thanks to KU Mentors

In honor of the season, the KU Alumni Association thanks the thousands of Jayhawk students and alumni who have joined KU Mentoring. More than 3,500 users have registered on the platform, and we’re excited to help the next 3,500 make a connection with the Jayhawk Career Network.

15. He’s got it if he can find it

Rod Ernst, third-generation owner of the iconic downtown Lawrence hardware store Ernst & Son, died Jan. 23, the store announced on its Facebook page. Ernst is the subject of a feature story in issue No. 1, 2018, of Kansas Alumni.

14. Simply the Best

2018 Debate championship team | Top 18 Stories of 2018

At the beginning of the fall semester, University of Kansas debater Quaram Robinson refused to set her sights on winning the National Debate Tournament, the annual four-day showdown of the best competitors in college debate. She feared she would only set herself up to fail. But here she was, eight months later, in the championship round of the NDT in Wichita. Robinson and her teammmate, Will Katz, had just delivered their final rebuttals late in the evening of March 26, the last day of the tournament.

13. KU to honor Rob Riggle with Distinguished Alumni award

Rob Riggle, one of the most recognizable Jayhawk alumni, was honored this year with the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Kansas. He visited Lawrence in November to accept the award.

12. KU Alumni Conversation: 120 Years of KU Basketball

KU alumni Curtis Marsh, j’92, and Creighton Coover, b’98, g’01, sat down to talk KU hoops and recall their all-time favorite Jayhawk players and memorable moments on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of basketball at the University of Kansas.

11. Les Miles announced as Head Football Coach

Les Miles, a national championship-winning former coach at Louisiana State and Oklahoma State, has been named the new head football coach at the University of Kansas, Kansas Athletics Director Jeff Long announced Sunday.

10. University of Kansas names Jeff Long director of athletics

University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod today named Jeff Long as the university’s new director of athletics. Long brings more than two decades of experience in athletic administration at the Division I level, most recently at the University of Arkansas. During that time, he transformed Arkansas’ athletics department into one of the most successful in the country and established himself as a national leader within intercollegiate athletics.

9. Bawk Chalk: Alumni construct creative hen house for their brood

Top 18 Stories of 2018

What started as a means to pass time between NCAA tournament games turned into much more for Jarrod, f’95, g’03, and Kate Neely Williams, ’97, who this spring masterminded the construction of Alhen Field House, a wildly creative chicken coop built in the likeness of KU’s legendary basketball arena.

8. Holiday Vespers

At a university brimming with history, the story of a monthly concert in the early 1920s turning into one of KU’s longest-running traditions is filled with twists and turns. For 94 years, Jayhawks have celebrated the holiday season with Vespers. Our annual holiday greeting for alumni featured a look back at this storied tradition.

7. Pay Heed: ‘Beware of the Phog’ banner turns 30

In 1988, a couple of KU students hatched an idea, created a banner and left a legacy that has come to define KU’s storied Allen Fieldhouse, known to many simply as “the Phog.” Thirty years later, the friends and KU alumni reunited to reminisce about the banner and how it all came to be.

Top 18 Stories of 2018

6. Front and Center

A finger-snap ago, Central District was nothing more robust than an artist’s rendering, a wish list, part of a master plan for what our beloved campus could one day be, how it should live and breathe and teach and embrace, for the next half-century or more. Less than two years later—“We tried to build it as fast as we could,” said one project architect—and this thing is done.

5. Traditions Night

At the start of every fall semester, anxious KU freshmen fill the stadium for Traditions Night, a rite of passage where they learn about the cherished traditions of old KU. Year after year, KU puts on a show. And there’s always a showstopper.

4. Sign of the times: KU student goes viral at College GameDay

Whenever ESPN’s College GameDay comes to Lawrence, students know to bring their A-game when it comes to signs. In between the signs cheering the Jayhawks and jeering the West Virginia Mountaineers, one student took a jab at the channel broadcasting the whole event.

3. Hard Stories

Drawing on her background as a daughter of rural Kansas, one writer is challenging America to face up to its class divide. Sarah Smarsh, c’03, j’03, published her first book, Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, and took aim at stereotypes and assumptions. Smarsh was featured on the cover of issue No. 5, 2018, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

2. Campus icon ‘Tan Man’ to celebrate 75th birthday, and you’re all invited

Thousands of students have spent time soaking up the sun in front of Wescoe. But KU students from the late 1960s through the 1980s remember one particular man’s legacy of relaxing on the beach. John Schneider, more commonly known as “Tan Man,” spent the better part of three decades as a campus icon, sharing his charm and kindness with Jayhawks.

1. The Walk

Commencement | Top 18 Stories of 2018

Students gather on Memorial Drive on a Sunday morning, grouped up by their schools. Friends, siblings, parents and grandparents line the sidewalks on the way to Memorial Stadium. As they cross through the World War II Memorial Campanile and begin their descent down the Hill, graduates take their final steps as students into their future as KU alumni. Our Commencement feature reviews the history of this beloved Jayhawk tradition.

And there you have it — our most popular articles and features of 2018! Perhaps not surprisingly, stories that feature KU traditions or nostalgic memories of time on campus resonate strongly with Jayhawks, and we hope to bring you more of these pieces in 2019. Rock Chalk! 

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Top 17 Stories of 2017

Posted on Dec 19, 2017 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

View of Memorial Stadium on the KU campus | top stories of 2017

It’s time for our annual look back at the top stories of the year from the KU Alumni Association’s website. These were the most viewed, clicked and shared stories of 2017, according to the Jayhawks who flocked to our site. Our coverage included news of a new chancellor, timeless traditions and more than a few surprises. So, as we wave the wheat to 2017, here’s to another great year for Jayhawks everywhere. Rock Chalk!

17. Fortissimo Fan Fare

Carrying on traditions that date back to the days when the Jayhawks played in Hoch Auditorium, the men’s basketball band fills Allen Field House with an energizing mix of musicianship, enthusiasm, school spirit and just plain fun. Hear director Sharon Toulouse, f’97, g’05, and many of her talented musicians explain the stories behind their rites and rituals, and read more about it in “Fortissimo Fan Fare,” in issue No. 2, 2017, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

16. Alumna shares lessons learned from viral rant’s aftermath

Jenni Carlson returned to her alma mater for J-School Generations, an annual reunion during Homecoming weekend. The event invites alumni back to the William Allen White School of Journalism to reconnect with students and faculty. Carlson, j’97, was a speaker for J-Talk, a TED-style lecture event where she and other alumni shared their stories.

15. LPD, #Hilarious

After launching the Lawrence Police Department’s Twitter page Dec. 31, 2015, with the usual dry reminders for revelers to designate sober drivers, Officer Drew Fennelly yearned to “find the voice for the Twitter account.”

14. KU aerospace grad lands coveted spot in NASA astronaut class

Loral O’Hara, a 2006 graduate of the KU School of Engineering’s aerospace engineering program, was introduced as one of 12 members of NASA’s 2017 astronaut candidate class. After her KU graduation, O’Hara earned a master’s degree at Purdue University. Until joining NASA for the arduous astronaut selection process, O’Hara most recently worked as a research engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

13. Artist recreates late grandfather’s North Korean war rescue

On October 27th, 1951, downed pilot James J. McCabe ran “like an injured gazelle” past enemy lines to an approaching rescue copter in North Korea. After three failed pickup attempts, he grabbed the helicopter’s landing skiff and hung on for dear life as the chopper took off under a hailstorm of explosions. Alumnus Tim McCabe recreated his grandfather’s experience in the style of a graphic novel.

12. Shenanigans abound when former rivals travel abroad

An old rivalry was renewed as Jayhawks made the “Great Journey through Europe.” Participants on the Flying Jayhawks tour found themselves traveling with some Nebraska Cornhuskers, who pranked the KU crew by holding Jayhawk decorations hostage.

11. Former KU Volleyball athlete aces House Hunters premiere

Ashlyn Driskill, a graduate student in the KU School of Business’ MBA program and a member of KU volleyball’s 2015 Final Four team, made her television debut when House Hunters documented her and her husband’s search for a Kansas City home. She sat down with us in February for a Q&A about the experience, and after the episode premiered we asked a couple more questions about the show and got an update on the house (pictures included!).

Brian Palermo and Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little | www.kualumni.org10. Jayhawks rally to give alumnus an unforgettable Commencement

One of the most treasured traditions at the University of Kansas takes place every spring, when thousands of graduating students walk through the Campanile and down the Hill for Commencement. Brian Palermo, a KU Admissions representative based in St. Louis, never got to experience that moment—until this year.

9. Charlie Hustle combines nostalgia and spirit

Jayhawks in the Kansas City area have likely heard the name or seen Charlie Hustle’s vintage-style T-shirts around town—especially its signature KC heart shirt. Our video allowed alumni to learn more about the Kansas City-based company and its staff of Jayhawks, including what inspired its founder and CEO, Chase McAnulty, to create the company and where the name came from.

8. Ten KU students named finalists for 27th-annual Ex.C.E.L. Awards

Ten finalists were selected for the 27th-annual Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership Awards at the University of Kansas. The finalists participated in the Homecoming parade, and two winners were announced during halftime of the KU-Texas Tech Homecoming football game Oct. 7 at Memorial Stadium.

7. Viral video captures the KU experience

Before Ben Brodsky walked down the Hill last May, he could sense it was coming. That feeling of nostalgia that all alumni understand was becoming all too real, and Brodsky, c’17, wanted to hit save and preserve his time at KU. Fortunately, the talented film and media studies major had shot hours of footage during his time on campus; timeless scenes that also captured a place in time. His memories. His journey. But one with which we could all relate.

6. Forty years of Hog Calling: The Marching Jayhawks’ pregame tradition

KU Marching Jayhawks hog calling photo courtesy of KU School of Music

For 40 years, the Marching Jayhawks have used one song to pump them up before running onto the field at Memorial Stadium to play the songs that get everyone else ready for the game. If it sounds bizarre and unofficial, that’s because it is. Unlike other KU traditions that date back to the late 19th century, “Hog Calling” began 40 years ago when a group of Marching Jayhawks were bored.

5. Happy House Hunters

Former KU volleyball player Ashlyn Driskill started the year having just helped the Jayhawks reach their first Final Four in program history. She followed that up by getting engaged and buying her first house with fiance Foster Vielock. To top it off, the happy couple was selected to appear on HGTV’s House Hunters, set to air later this year. Ashlyn agreed to share her story with KU alumni.

4. My meeting with Hal Sandy

Harold “Hal” Sandy, j’47, who created the famous Happy Jayhawk logo as a KU student in 1946, died Dec. 9, 2017. Sandy is fondly remembered by alumni and Jayhawk fans, and his creation remains one of the most recognized and beloved collegiate symbols in the country. David Johnston, KU Alumni Association vice president for marketing and digital media, met with Sandy while leading the KU visual identity project in 2005 as KU director of marketing. He reflects on meeting Sandy for the first time in this personal tribute to a KU icon.
Dr. Douglas Girod, 18th Chancellor of the University of Kansas, speaking at the press conference.

3. School spirit

Learn more about the historical house in Lawrence that hosted professors, chancellors, and the last months of the life of James Naismith. Our special online feature highlighted the farm house’s hallowed history just in time for Halloween.

2. Breaking: Fake News for April Fools

Every year on April 1, the KU Alumni Association plays a playful prank on unsuspecting alumni, sending a special April Fool’s Day edition of our alumni e-newsletter. Although alumni swore they wouldn’t be fooled again, these “fake news” stories made some of them do a double take. Proceed at your own risk.

1. Board of Regents announces 18th chancellor of the University of Kansas

The Kansas Board of Regents announced the appointment of Dr. Douglas A. Girod as the 18th Chancellor of the University of Kansas.

“I am honored to be here today to make this important announcement. Naming the next Chancellor is one of the most important jobs we undertake as the Board of Regents,” stated Zoe Newton, Chair of the Board of Regents. “Dr. Girod is the right person for this time of transition. His 23 years of service are a testament to Dr. Girod’s love and commitment to KU. He will honor KU’s traditions and history while leading this great university into the future.”

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Top Ten KU stories of 2016

Posted on Dec 21, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Top 10 stories of 2016 via kualumni.org

We’re recounting the most memorable moments and biggest KU stories of the past year. With help from our crack team of KU experts, a.k.a. your hard-working KU Alumni Association staff, we’ve assembled and ranked the top ten of 2016. Read on as we present the best of KU…

 

10. Basketball Rules

The new home of Naismith’s original rules of basketball hosted a housewarming party when the DeBruce Center held its official grand opening celebration on Saturday, July 23. Hundreds of loyal fans and alumni made the pilgrimage to Lawrence to pay tribute to the game’s inventor and tour the new building connected to Allen Fieldhouse.

 

9. Winning week

A big basketball win over Duke, a double-overtime Border War win for soccer, KU’s first Big 12 volleyball title and an upset football victory over Texas. It was more than just a great week to be a Jayhawk. From Sunday to Sunday, it was a week for the athletics ages.

 

8. Open for Business

In May, we took a sneak peek inside the School of Business’ new building, Capitol Federal Hall, where expansive, flexible design encourages collaborative learning and innovation is welcome. More details and images of the school’s new space can be found in the May issue of Kansas Alumni magazine.

 

7. KU Endowment announces results of Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas

The largest higher education fundraising effort to date in the state, Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, raised $1.66 billion, far exceeding its $1.2 billion goal. The campaign, which ended June 30, boosted student support, faculty, facilities and programs at the University of Kansas and The University of Kansas Hospital.

 

6. Twelve straight Big 12 Conference titles

Highlights of the 2015-16 season included a gold medal at the World University Games in South Korea; the championship trophy at the 2015 Maui Invitational in November; a 12th-straight Big 12 Conference regular season; and the Big 12 Postseason Championship title. It truly was an amazing year.
 

5. KU student earns Rhodes Scholarship

University of Kansas senior Shegufta Huma is one of 32 American students to win a Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most prestigious recognitions of scholarly excellence. Shegufta Huma, from Bel Aire, is majoring in political science with a minor in Spanish, and she is particularly interested in working toward justice for Muslim immigrants. Huma is KU’s 27th Rhodes Scholar.

 

4. KU School of Business dean Neeli Bendapudi named Provost

“I am thrilled for the opportunity to serve my alma mater in a new capacity and look forward to working with people across campus to make it an even better place for our students, our faculty and our staff to learn and to work,” Bendapudi said. “This is a truly wonderful place that means so much to me and my family, and this opportunity is a dream come true for me.”

 

3. KU Sesquicentennial

In 2016, KU celebrated a 150-year tradition of educating leaders and serving the state of Kansas. The KU Alumni Association contributed to the momentous occasion with a number of commemorative activities, including a KU150-themed birthday celebration at the 2015 Jayhawk Roundup in Wichita, a special edition of our annual alumni calendar with historic images of KU and a reprise of our popular Jayhawks on Parade with three one-of-a-kind Jayhawks to celebrate KU.

 

2. Chancellor Gray-Little to step down in summer 2017

Bernadette Gray-Little, the 17th chancellor of the University of Kansas, has announced she will step down from the position in summer 2017. “It has been an honor to lead the University of Kansas,” said Chancellor Gray-Little. “KU has always been a special place with terrific people and an instinctive spirit to change our world for the better. Leading this remarkable institution is a privilege I always will cherish, and I’m grateful to the entire KU community for believing in our mission.”

…and the biggest KU story of 2016 (drumroll please)…

 

1. KU alumnus wins Nobel Peace Prize

President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts at ending a civil war that has ravaged his country for more than 50 years. “This great honor only adds to the immense pride KU alumni around the world have felt for their fellow Jayhawk since President Santos devoted himself to the cause of peace in Colombia,” said KU Alumni Association President Heath Peterson. “This Nobel Peace Prize also brings honor to the long-established mission of University of Kansas faculty, administrators, students, staff and alumni to make our heartland campus a welcome home to students from around the world. Our international missions, as educators and alumni advocates, will continue with an energized pace thanks to President Santos, whom we are proud to call one of our own.”

How did we do? Was your favorite KU moment mentioned or did we forget another unforgettable moment? Let us know by emailing us at share@kualumni.org, and check out more stories while you’re here. It’s been a great year worth celebrating, and we know our chant will rise in 2017!

–David Johnston

 

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Top KU stories of 2016

Posted on Dec 21, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Top KU stories of 2016 via kualumni.org

The Best of KU

2016 was an eventful year that marked major milestones and gave cause for celebration. From our Jayhawks in Rio to our 27th Rhodes Scholar, KU alumni had plenty of reasons to be proud of their alma mater in 2016, so we’re recounting the most memorable moments and biggest KU stories of the past year. With help from our crack team of KU experts, a.k.a. your hard-working KU Alumni Association staff, we’ve assembled and ranked the top stories of 2016. So without further ado, we present the best of KU:

25. KU Jazz in Lincoln Center

24. National discount program for members

23. Food, glorious food

22. SAA free for freshmen in 2016

21. April Fool’s Day 2016: Fooled again

20. Junior Naismith steals the show

19. Student and Alumni apps

18. The Power of Sport: A Conversation on Business, Race and Sports

17. Ellsworth honorees commit time, talent and resources to KU

16. Spencer Museum’s big reveal

…How are we doing so far? Can you guess the biggest stories of 2016? Our final 15 feature some beloved KU buildings–both new and old–a few famous Jayhawks and some fond farewells. Keep reading while we reveal the rest of the best…

15. Jayhawks in Rio

14. Bob Davis hands the mic to Brian Hanni

13. Central District celebrated at topping out ceremony

12. Goodbye, Burge

11. Fabulous Freshmen: Incoming class sets record for academic talent

 

>>> CONTINUE TO REVEAL TOP TEN >>>

 

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