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.
Ten years since they last visited campus has been 10 years too long for this Jayhawk couple. Matt, j’08, and Sarah Strathman Lindberg, c’09, returned to Lawrence October 11 to find a campus filled with change, but still familiar.
Their day began with a trip to the Oread Hotel, a far cry from the pile of rubble that was once the Crossing. On the 9th-floor rooftop terrace, familiar sights mixed with the new: A giant apartment complex across the street from the nearly 100-year-old Memorial Stadium, and renovated Jayhawk Boulevard and Memorial Drive connecting historic campus buildings.
Next, a walk down Jayhawk Boulevard past Fraser Hall where the couple met in French class, and Watson Library, home to studying among the stacks.
“It still feels comfortable walking around. I recognize everything,” Matt said. “It still feels like campus to me.”
The tour brought the pair to Matt’s old stomping grounds at the School of Journalism and the University Daily Kansan, where memories of 2008 came back.
Matt was on the paper’s staff as a student, including serving as special sections editor his senior year.
“After KU won the title, Mario Chalmers came into the Kansan offices asking for a paper, apologizing for not having his KU student ID,” he said. “I think we gave him a dozen copies.”
From there, the couple trekked across campus to the new football complex, which has seen massive changes since the Lindbergs’ graduation after the 2007-’08 Orange Bowl season.
They were able to poke their head into the football facilities, in part due to their fandom: They spent the night camping for front-row seats in the student section during the Jayhawks’ 12-1 season.
The last stop on the tour was the DeBruce Center, where the couple got to check out the “Original Rules of Basket Ball,” an exhibition that features a recording of James Naismith describing his invention.
After a full morning of tours, the Lindbergs were sent off to explore Mass Street and Lawrence, thanks to gift cards from KU Alumni restaurant partners Papa Keno’s Pizza, Jefferson’s and Merchants.
In between stops to see the newest additions to the campus, the Lindbergs were happy to reminisce about memories of the little things.
“For me, it’s been walking up and down the hills,” Sarah said. “I did that so many times, and now here I am doing it again, except now I’m not going to class.”
For Matt, it’s a return to what was once normal. “Going into the Kansan room, I haven’t been there since I graduated. I used to be in there every day.”
Despite everything that’s changed, the campus contains a spirit that continues to last.
“It feels very much the same, but current,” Matt said. “Some things just haven’t changed, and I like it.”
“We were fortunate to have great candidates who clearly understood the opportunities and challenges,” said Carl Lejuez, interim provost & executive vice chancellor. “Ron has an exceptional track record of success in his endeavors and programs, both at KU and at High Point. I appreciate his insight into the changing environments for pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical research, and I believe he will be an outstanding leader of the School of Pharmacy.”
Ragan will succeed Kenneth Audus, who in November 2018 announced his decision to step away from the leadership role after 15 years. The School of Pharmacy offers the only pharmacy program in Kansas and has a presence on three KU campuses: Lawrence, Kansas City and Wichita. The school received more than $15 million in research funding in fiscal year 2018 and ranks seventh in the nation by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Approximately 150 students are accepted annually into the Pharm.D. professional degree program after completing two years of pre-pharmacy coursework. The program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, and students in the class of 2018 achieved a first-time pass rate of 100% on the North American Pharmacists Licensure Exam.
“KU is recognized nationally and internationally for its clinical and graduate programs in pharmacy,” Ragan said. “This recognition is directly related to the exceptional faculty, staff and students we attract. I am proud to be a graduate of both the clinical program and the graduate program at KU and am honored to be returning to my alma mater as the eighth dean in the 134-year history of the school. There are great opportunities ahead, and this is the ideal time to return to Kansas and build on the success the school has enjoyed over the years.”
Ragan has been at High Point University, in High Point, North Carolina, since 2012. As founding dean of the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy, Ragan has overseen development of a program that now enrolls 189 students. He also helped design the $120 million facility that opened in 2017. Prior to joining High Point, where he is also a professor, Ragan held several positions at KU. From 2004 to 2012, he was associate dean for academic affairs, managing a variety of curricular affairs for the school. During this time he also served on leadership teams that led construction of the Pharmacy Building and established the satellite teaching facility in Wichita. Between 1998 and 2011, Ragan directed KU’s nontraditional Pharm.D. program, a 44-credit-hour program that bridged professionals through the degree upgrade process. He initially joined the KU faculty as an adjunct instructor of pharmacy practice for the 1997-1998 academic year.
From 2000 to 2013 Ragan was president of Midwest Pharmaceutical Consulting Inc. His professional experience also includes direct patient care positions at independent and medical center pharmacies. While at KU as a student he worked at the Student Health Pharmacy in Watkins Health Center. His graduate student tenure also included positions as a graduate teaching assistant and as a researcher in pharmacology and toxicology. Ragan has published in various journals on topics related to neuronal cell death, drug therapy and pharmacy education research.
He is a member of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists and served on its board of directors from 2013 to 2017. He is also a member of the American Pharmacists Association, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Society of Neuroscience, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and more. His service commitments include work on several committees and organizations at the school, university, community and regional levels. He received a KU Center for Teaching Excellence award in 2009, and he also received the 2003 PRISM Award from the Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America. In 1989, he was selected as the Kansas Pharmacist Association Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year.
Ragan has a doctor of philosophy and a master’s degree in pharmacology and toxicology from KU. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from KU, and he has an associate’s degree from Butler County Community College. He is a licensed pharmacist in Kansas and North Carolina.
Lejuez expressed appreciation for those involved in the successful search effort.
“The dean of pharmacy search committee — led by Michael Branicky, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and past dean of the School of Engineering — worked diligently to identify great candidates and involve faculty, students and staff from all our campuses,” Lejuez said. “Our administrative support staff worked without the assistance of a search firm, and they and the others in the search committee did a remarkable job. I am grateful for their service.”
This weekend marks the anniversary of an event that many Jayhawks would rather forget. The Crossing, a campus icon, was demolished in 2008 to make way for the Oread Hotel.
The building opened in 1923 as Rock Chalk Café. It served as a lunch haven for students and catered to soldiers during World War II. Through the years, it became a go-to spot for students to spend an afternoon relaxing on the porch or playing darts inside. And if a student was hungry, Yello Sub and the Glass Onion were right next door.
Andrea Graham and her college boyfriend, Brandon, were big fans of the bar during their time at KU in the early 2000s. “My boyfriend at the time, now my husband, threw me a surprise 22nd birthday party at the Crossing,” says Andrea, j’02. “We loved that place!”
After a new owner took over in 2006, the bar stayed open until the teardown date arrived. The nine-story hotel complex opened in 2010.
In total, the bar was open for 85 years at 12th Street and Oread Avenue. The bar’s name fluctuated as owners changed in the 70s and 80s. Monikers for the dive bar included New Haven, Catfish Bar ‘N Grill, and Rock Chalk Bar. It became known only as The Crossing in 1988.
It may be hard to believe but sometimes the crisp, cool yet sunny season of fall skips the Hill and, simply put, autumn just doesn’t fall onto campus. Many years the blistering Kansas summers turn directly into chilly, breezy winter days and we’re left wondering…”Where was fall?”
Not this year—fall arrived on the Hill with style
A few days of rainfall turned dreary, dull landscapes into brightly beaming yellows, lively greens and olives and fiery reds fit for a crimson (and blue) campus.
It seems as though the leaves turned overnight, and all of a sudden every scene on campus was picture-perfect. We were even given a warm day with blue skies among a cloudy, cool week.
The University of Kansas will enact a budget adjustment on the Lawrence campus to address fiscal constraints and cut costs for fiscal year 2019.
The adjustment entails a 5.87 percent across-the-board budget reduction for all Lawrence campus departments and units, including central administration. The reduction will be implemented beginning July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.
“The map to move us forward readjusts our budget to meet our obligations and helps us put our students, staff and faculty first,” said Carl Lejuez, interim provost and executive vice chancellor. “This includes a commitment to keep tuition increases as low as possible and to enact a plan for getting back to annual merit raises, even if small at first.”
Lejuez has already met with deans and vice provosts to discuss how they can manage budget reductions to their respective units in a way that best preserves their mission and core functions.
The need to recalibrate the university’s budget is the result of many long-term commitments and investments that each year have exceeded revenue, combined with institutional budgeting practices inconsistent with the current challenges of higher education funding, as well as a decade-long trend of state funding declines.
“Staying the current course is not an option,” Lejuez said. “If we make no changes in the coming year, we will have overspent our budget with no remaining balances to support this overspending, and operations will be short a minimum of $50 million within five years. Additionally, spreading the cut over several years is not an option. This tactic costs us more financially; perpetuates a climate of uncertainty about job security, raises and tuition costs; and keeps us in a constant state of want and need rather than advancing us toward a position of stability that we all deserve.”
The Office of the Provost has already begun developing a longer-term plan that includes the development of a new budget model.
Another step in the evolution of the Central District at the University of Kansas is now complete. On the site of the old Burge Union, which opened in 1979, sits a brand-new building: a new Burge that can host events of any size and adds accommodations that make KU a more welcoming, inclusive campus.
“The big goal was to have a flexible conference space,” said JJ O’Toole-Curran, senior associate director at KU Memorial Union. “Student Senate wanted to have offices for student services, and the union wanted a flexible conference space with a large kitchen downstairs to serve as the catering hub for this side of campus.”
The focus on inclusivity continued with the additions of a lactation room and a Wudu/Ablution room. Reflection rooms for meditation or prayer by students of all faiths are also available.
“These facilities were important to Student Senate to make our campus more accessible for our students,” said Sharon Leatherman, assistant director of building and event services. “Very few unions have everything we have here.”
The Forum, with a Skyfold wall down.
The Burge Union’s central room is the Forum, the largest single-function room in Lawrence with over 10,800 square feet. For comparison, the Kansas Union ballroom is 7,000 square feet.
The room can be divided into four separate rooms with Skyfold soundproof walls that unfold from the ceiling. Student groups can reserve facilities for free, with reduced rates available for staff and faculty.
A Roasterie Coffee and Hawk Shop convenience store sells grab-and-go food for students.
A seating area in the main entrance offers a view of Allen Fieldhouse.
A “Quiet Zone,” where students can study in total silence.
Study pods, recently added in the Kansas Union as well, line the windows in a hallway.
Slawson Hall hosted a formal dedication ceremony for the two buildings on April 25, where Chancellor Girod shared remarks. Other speakers included with Robert Goldstein, provost’s special adviser for campus development; Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment, and Bryan Rodriguez-Colon, a graduate student in geology.
“The University of Kansas aspires to make discoveries that change the world — and the Earth, Energy & Environment Center positions KU researchers to do exactly that in areas related to energy, natural resources and the environment,” Girod said. “Thanks to these new facilities, the university will continue to be at the forefront of efforts to address challenges and create opportunities that shape our society for years to come.”
Members of the Lawrence community are invited to come see the building themselves at an opening celebration from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 5. The event is free and includes activities for children and adults:
A rock pile where children can search for stones and fossils to keep, with geologists on hand to identify them
An augmented reality sandbox for participants to create models of geologic events and features like floods, landslides and lakes
Demonstrations of the new state-of-the-art lab equpiment
An exhibit of core samples, a cola-fueled volcano, showings of “Jurassic Park” and more
Maps will be available for self-guided tours. Guided tours will also take place to show the inner workings of the facility.
KU Parking & Transit has partnered with VeoRide to launch KU Bike Share, a new program that allows the KU and Lawrence community to rent a bicycle using a smartphone.
Renting is simple: Find the nearest available bike using the VeoRide app, and scan the bike’s QR code to unlock it. After your ride, park at any bike rack on campus and push a slider down on the bike to lock it. Rides are only 50 cents per 15 minutes, with daily, monthly and yearly rates available.
The Bike Share program comes as a result of the KU Bicycle Advisory Committee, a campus group that had input from KU Parking and Transit, Student Housing, the Center for Sustainability, and the city of Lawrence.
“The committee is a group of stakeholders across campus that have been working on bikeability and bike infrastructure on campus since we released a campus bike plan in 2016,” said Kim Criner, education and outreach coordinator at the KU Center for Sustainability. “We really tried to have all the voices at the table that are interested in what we’re doing.”
And don’t worry: The people in charge have thought all about the hills. The committee made sure to get bikes with seven gears. VeoRide can designate bikes in-app as free-to-ride “lucky bikes,” which provides a free ride in exchange for getting the bike back to a central location. VeoRide also hired local staff to maintain the bikes and move them back up the Hill as needed.
Currently, all bike rides must conclude on campus. However, discussions with the city of Lawrence are in the works to allow riders to leave bikes downtown.
Each VeoRide bike includes instructions in the front basket
Hear Candice Xie, co-founder of VeoRide, explain how the bike sharing program works.
The Jayhawk Bookstore closed for good in 2016, leaving a prominent corner in Lawrence unoccupied. (Jayhawks everywhere surely remember the bookstore’s jingle: “At the top of the Hill.) With renovations complete, the building just west of the Chi Omega fountain and across the street from the EEEC is now open for business.
Textbooks, paper, and Jayhawk sweatshirts have given way to coffee, pastries, salads, sandwiches, and beers at McLain’s Market. The Kansas City-based small business also has a store in Overland Park, and the original McLain’s Bakery has operated in Kansas City since 1945.
The market opened April 9 and already is a popular hangout for KU students as they prepare for finals. A variety of seating options in different nooks and crannies of the two floors gives a welcoming coffee shop vibe. Plenty of outdoor seating offers views down Naismith Drive. Construction isn’t done yet, with a side room under renovation for Kansas City-based clothing company Charlie Hustle to move in.
The rapid growth and expansion of KU’s Lawrence campus continues with the new Earth, Energy and Environment Center, which opened earlier this semester. The EEEC features modern labs, classrooms and study spaces for the next generations of Jayhawk students.
The new construction also brings the campus closer together, as students can now walk from the engineering buildings to Jayhawk Boulevard without going outside, thanks to a skybridge over Naismith Drive. From the entrance to Learned Engineering Expansion Phase 2 to Lindley Hall, we took a walk through the path to see for ourselves.
And if you haven’t been on campus recently and are completely turned around, here’s where our path took us:
The new Earth, Energy and Environment Center opened for the 2018 spring semester. Find more coverage of the building here.