Basketball season is here! The KU men’s basketball team takes on Kentucky in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The game tips off at approximately 8 p.m. (CT), following the first matchup between Duke and Michigan State.
Champions Classic Pregame Party
Join fellow Jayhawks in Chicago for a pregame party! We’re teaming up with Kansas Athletics and the Williams Education Fund to host an event three hours before the first game.
Revel Fulton Market 1215 W. Fulton Market Chicago, IL 2:30-5:30 p.m.
Admission to the pregame party is $40 for members, Presidents Club members, and Williams Education Fund Members. Admission is $50 for nonmembers, and $15 for non-drinkers and those under 21 years old.
Your ticket includes an open bar and light appetizers. Plus, enjoy the pep rally and tailgate games while perusing the KU Libraries exhibit “Commemorate the Gr8s,” which celebrates the national title teams of 1988 and 2008.
Game watch parties
If you’re not traveling to Chicago, watch the game with fellow alumni, fans and friends at an official KU Alumni watch party! These events are hosted by alumni volunteers and you’ll certainly be surrounded by crimson and blue.
Click here for a list of watch sites. Please note, if there isn’t an official party scheduled on our calendar for a site, we can’t guarantee that the watch sites will show the KU game, especially if there are other college or professional sporting events happening at the same time.
Watch and listen
Watch the Jayhawks on ESPN or listen to the game live on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
More than 40 alumni and 15 current students met July 18 on Michigan Avenue to learn from some of the best and brightest Jayhawk alumni based in the Windy City.
The event, Chicago Innovation and Entrepreneurship Panel, featured a panel of business leaders who shared the stories of their journey with Chicago area alumni. A select number of KU Student-Alumni Network members also attended.
Bryce McMichael, d’08, Chicago Network leader, said “One of the main goals we have in Chicago is diversifying our event offering beyond watch parties for KU games and expand into the careers and lifelong learning space. This event definitely fit the bill in that regard.”
David Hoese, e’86, vice president at Goldman Sachs served as panel moderator, with Todd Holmes c’89, CEO at Liquidus Marketing and co-founder of Goose Island Beer Co., Sherry Scott j’91, president at Gagen MacDonald, and David Grossman j’89, president at Freshii comprising the panel.
“The panelists stemmed from a Presidents Club reception we had last year in which Todd Holmes suggested an event like this,” McMichael said. “David Grossman and Sherry Scott were also added due to their specific entrepreneurial experience, local ties, and fascinating life stories.”
The event was the first of a series highlighting business leaders and entrepreneurs in Chicago. The panel offered advice to students and young alumni on topics such as how to start a business and risk tolerance.
“With 15 current KU students who hail from the Chicago area in attendance, I believe they came away with inspiration and pointers on how to create your own destiny and do the work you truly love,” McMichael said. “I also hope that those who went also came away knowing that their Alumni Association can provide much, much more value than they had originally thought going into the event!”
Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, president of the KU Alumni Association, echoed McMichael’s sentiments for the Alumni Association as a whole.
“We want to do more to directly connect students to industry leaders and showcase the power and reach of the KU degree,” Peterson said. “We must leverage the story of successful alumni to ensure current students have direct and constant access to a powerful network.”
Peterson’s goals were realized for Rebecca Hans, j’18, a Student-Alumni Network member who made an unexpected connection.
“I didn’t expect to know anyone [at the event] but I saw a family friend,” Hans said. “He introduced me to someone who has a connection to the military at KU. My dream job is a military psychologist where I could work with soldiers or their families and help them with mental health issues.”
“This event helped me realize that I can be successful in Chicago. Knowing that I am graduating in the spring, it is comforting to see that KU stays with you forever.”
Alex Ross, c’12, is a Life Member of the KU Alumni Association who earned a degree in communication studies. He lives in his hometown of Chicago where he is the CEO of New Coast Foundation, which helps accelerate the impact of innovative, emerging organizations working to alleviate poverty in the city. He is also the co-founder of New Coast Ventures.
I became a Jayhawk because…
I came here for my campus visit and I knew right away. I didn’t even apply to any other schools to my mom’s dismay. There’s something special about walking down Jayhawk Boulevard—I can’t explain it any other way than just to say it’s unlike anything else.
How has KU propelled you into your current career?
Going to KU and having the opportunity to start several successful student organizations gave me the confidence that I could do anything. In addition, it gave me the opportunity to travel all around the world and meet amazing people.
My favorite KU memory is…
100% going to the last KU & Mizzou basketball game. I bought seats on a whim for me and a buddy and the whole game two Mizzou fans were behind us talking trash. We came back and won the game, I turned around to give them a taste of their own medicine and they had already left. I screamed so much I lost my voice, it was the most adrenaline I’ve ever had pumping and I wasn’t even playing.
Describe a moment, during or after your time as a KU student, when you felt the greatest sense of Jayhawk pride.
Whenever I travel I always, always, have something KU on and without fail I always get a “Rock Chalk”. Nothing better.
Where is the most unexpected place you’ve ever heard someone yell, “Rock Chalk”?
I was in the middle of nowhere Australia (legit at a gas station in the middle of nowhere) and someone just screams out “ROCK CHALK BABY!!!!” He was a grad from 10 years before and saw my shirt. My sister thought we were nuts.
James “Jay” William Byrnes IV, f’03, founder and creative director of Chicago-based streetwear brand Fourth is King, will host a pop-up shop event from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Vertical Gallery in Chicago.
Streetwear enthusiasts and art lovers alike are invited to celebrate the brand’s new collaboration with Brooklyn-based artist Dan Funderburgh, f’01, and check out the gallery’s latest exhibition, The Great Western, a three-artist show featuring international street-contemporary artists EINE, Sickboy and Word to Mother.
The Fourth is King and Dan Funderburgh artist series collection includes short- and long-sleeve T-shirts and jackets, which range from $40 to $75 and will be available for purchase at the event. Complimentary beverages from Penrose Brewing Company and Solemn Oath Brewery will be provided.
Like many close friends, Sara Stotts and Julie Thies Dunlap can finish each other’s sentences. They also finish each other’s songs—much to the delight of audiences who have seen their irreverent musical, “MotherFreakingHood!” (Maternal Discretion Advised), which makes its Kansas City debut May 29-June 14 at the Goppert Theatre at Avila University.
The two began creating music—including Rock Chalk Revue productions—as Kappa Alpha Theta sorority sisters and roommates at KU. Like true collaborators, each credits the other for their successful partnership.
“I’m not a singer,” Dunlap says. “Sara’s a phenomenal singer. I can play the piano and barely carry a tune to get my idea across to her. She’s really fantastic.”
Stotts, d’95, a physical therapist in Chicago, has performed with comedy troupes, including The Second City and Annoyance Theatre. Improvisation helped her hone her comedic skills, she says, but Dunlap “helped me find my funny bone. I was a lot funnier after I met Julie. Before her, I was boring.”
Dunlap, c’98, hatched the plot for “MotherFreakingHood” following Stotts’ 40th birthday party, when Stotts’ husband, Bill Vellon, booked a comedy band to perform. The party triggered Dunlap’s creativity. “I started thinking about when we were roommates, doing Rock Chalk Revue. We wrote stuff all the time,” she recalls. “I thought we should make a show about motherhood, so I called Sara and suggested we write this musical and make it about three moms—and she didn’t call me back for probably three months. I thought, ‘Well, I guess we’re not going to do that.’
“I had written a couple of songs just for fun, and Sara finally called me one day and said, ‘OK, I’m in. I’ve written three songs, and I’m ready. Let’s go.’ So we did.”
When they began the project, Stotts’ children, Steven and Lauren, were 3 and 1, and Dunlap, who lives in Lawrence with her husband, David, c’92, m’96, was guiding her four children through grade school while writing a weekly column for the Lawrence Journal-World.
After sharing songs and ideas long-distance and holing up at hotels in Lawrence and Chicago for weekends of writing, the two finished the musical (originally called “Mother%$!#hood”), and it sold out in fall 2013 at the Lawrence Arts Center. Their work caught the attention of producer Seth Eckelman and Moonshine Variety Co., which is staging the Kansas City premiere.
The show tells the stories of three mothers, Rachael, Angie and Marcia, whose children range in ages from infants to teenagers. “We had very few rules, but one of them was that everything had to be funny,” Dunlap explains. “There cannot be anything sad and nobody dies in the show. Motherhood is stressful enough; you don’t want to go to a play and cry about it. And it had to be truthful—and I mean the truth in your head. The truth you might not even tell your best friend.”
For the musical’s Lawrence debut, Dunlap directed and Stotts played Marcia, the oldest mom in the show who is surprised to learn she’s having a “bonus baby.” Now the two are watching director Heidi Vann and new actresses interpret their work for the Kansas City production. “It’s really fun to see their instincts and their chemistry,” Stotts says. “It’s not like I didn’t know the show, but they brought things to the songs that I didn’t expect.”
The two friends hope a successful Kansas City run will lead to performances in Chicago.“The ultimate goal is to see this do for moms what ‘Menopause The Musical’ did for menopausal women,” Dunlap says. “It is a voice and an anthem and a celebration—and we want it to take over the world.”
Once again this year, we’re dispatching staff members to key cities across the United States to host watch parties for local Jayhawks.
Today, our fearless travelers are stationed in Denver, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
Each location will have a KU Alumni Association table set up with free giveaways such as stickers and coasters. If you’re a member, though, be sure to show your card to receive a special gift! You can show your actual card, a digital copy of the card (it’s on some of our emails) or even a copy of a recent email that has your membership status at the bottom.
We’re already hearing reports from Teri Harris, director of membership, that Stoney’s Bar & Grill, our official alumni watch site in Denver, is packed with Jayhawk fans. The restaurant even put together a special Jayhawk menu with offerings that include “Naismith Nachos” and “Phog Allen Fries.”
And from Lottie’s Pub in Chicago, Tyler Rockers, coordinator of alumni programs, proclaimed that the sky is appropriately colored KU blue today.
Should KU win today over Eastern Kentucky and advance to Sunday’s game, staff members will host watch parties in Phoenix, Dallas, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco, Portland and New York City.
Last night’s matchup between the two basketball powerhouses felt more like March Madness than an early November game. With nearly 9,000 alumni in the metro area, plus thousands more who traveled to the game, Chicago was a mecca for Jayhawks yesterday. The KU Alumni Association’s pregame party at the West End was full all afternoon, and alumni and fans spilled over to surrounding bars.
Chicago wasn’t the only hotspot for Jayhawks, though. More than 20 alumni chapters and clubs held official watch parties, and many other unofficial watch parties took place. We also added several new areas to our watch party list, including Iowa City and New Orleans.
And, perhaps our favorite answer: “at the hospital in labor with my first born.” Now that’s a dedicated fan. Congratulations, Laura, on your future Jayhawk!
You can find a complete list of official alumni watch sites here, and a list of KU Alumni Association chapters is available here. Be sure to check your local chapter’s website frequently for a calendar of upcoming events and other announcements.
And, if you’re not receiving emails from the KU Alumni Association about watch parties and other events, make sure your alumni record is up-to-date! You can go to www.kualumni.org/register to register online (it’s free!) and update your profile.
The KU Alumni Association is hosting a pregame party in Chicago at the West End, 1326 W. Madison St. Staff members from the Alumni Association will be in attendance, including Mike Davis, senior vice president for donor and membership programs; Heath Peterson, vice president for alumni programs; and Danny Lewis, director of alumni programs.
Of course, since our staff members bleed crimson and blue, a number of others will be there off the clock.
Michael Branicky, dean of the School of Engineering, and Stephen Mazza, dean of the School of Law, will also be in attendance to share news from the Hill with alumni.
And for those of you who are staying home, many of our chapters are hosting watch parties at local establishments. We’ve even added several new areas to the list, including Iowa City and New Orleans.
Click here to see a full list of official alumni watch parties.
Don’t see one near you on the list? Click here for a list of alumni watch sites; many of these places aren’t hosting an official watch party, but Jayhawks may still gather to watch the game. For those “unofficial” watch parties, conversations often take place within chapter Facebook groups (you can find a list of those on our Facebook page).
Information about television programming and channel lineups for KU games can be found here on the Kansas Athletics’ website.
We’re excited to partner with the University of Kansas Libraries this summer to present a number of events. More than 80 Jayhawks in Denver turned out for An Evening with Naismith: Artifacts of a KU Legend, and that event will be held next week in both Houston and Dallas.
The second event we’re co-hosting with the Libraries this summer is Rhythm and Meaning: Jazz at KU. Join us in Chicago, Omaha and St. Louis to see a selection of the Libraries’ rich jazz collection, including one of the largest sound archives west of the Mississippi.
The cost for each event is $15 and includes hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. We encourage you to sponsor a Jayhawk and bring along a prospective student! Current and incoming KU students can attend the events at no cost.
Staff from the KU Alumni Association and KU Libraries will attend each event to share updates from the Hill.
We hope you’ll be able to join us at one of these events to learn a little more about KU’s unique history and enjoy an evening of KU camaraderie! If you’re a member of the KU Alumni Association, be sure to bring your membership card and receive a free gift.
Kansas Athletics and the KU Alumni Association have partnered to bring KU football to Jayhawks across the midwest this spring! If you’re a football fan, don’t miss this opportunity to meet Coach Weis.
You might remember that last spring we hosted several events around the state of Kansas that featured the newly-hired head coach. This year, we’re expanding the events to include a number of cities outside of Kansas.
All Jayhawk alumni, fans and friends are invited to attend the events, which include free receptions, luncheons and happy hours in several cities. Sheahon Zenger, director of athletics, will also be in attendance, along with Kansas Athletics and KU Alumni Association staff members.
Here’s a list of the events, with a link to purchase tickets if there’s a cost involved:
Denver: Thurs., May 2, at Stoney’s Full Steam Tavern (free)
Topeka: Wed., May 22, at Ramada Inn Downtown Convention Center (free)
Commemorative KU football items will be available, and you’ll also have the chance to win autographed merchandise and football tickets. And, if you’re a KU Alumni Association member, be sure to show your membership card to receive a free members-only gift!
Don’t have your membership card handy? We’ve made it easy for you– our emails now include your membership status printed at the bottom, so you can show a recent email to our staff to get your gift. Not a member? Click here to join.
Click here to read about the KU football team’s spring game, held on Saturday, Apr. 13.