‘Spy Sites’ offers espionage tour of nation’s capital

Posted on Feb 27, 2017 in Alumni News and News

In the wake of a ceaseless stream of headlines and social-media chatter about international espionage, Georgetown University Press’ recent publication of Spy Sites of Washington, DC, the latest installment in a series of espionage history books written by retired CIA officer Robert Wallace, g’68, and historian H. Keith Melton, could not have come at a more opportune time.

Thanks to public fascination with the topic, the Washington Post recently promoted the book to its politically minded readership with an attractive, graphics-laden package featuring many of the sites Wallace and Melton featured in their book.

“I was surprised. I had no idea it would catch the attention of somebody there,” Wallace says from his Virginia home. “I think it was one of the cases where you just kind of catch a news cycle.”

Bob WallaceWallace, a former CIA station chief who ended his long career at the agency as director of its Office of Technical Service, began his writing career, and partnership with Melton, with the authoritative and fascinating Spycraft [Kansas Alumni magazine, issue 2, 2008], which brought to light countless previously untold chapters in the thrilling history of the CIA’s spytechs, with their ingenious devices and courageous exploits.

Wallace and Melton continued with, among others, The Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception and Spy Sites of New York City. As with the New York book, Spy Sites of Washington, DC is designed with a dual purpose in mind. It can be enjoyed at the reader’s leisure at home or, with its extensive maps and photographs, dropped into a backpack to serve as a guidebook to explore sites where notable espionage once took place.

A favored tour for Wallace is a stretch he’s dubbed the “Spy Mile,” featuring 25 spy sites that stretch from the Mayflower Hotel, down 16th Street to the White House, then east to the International Spy Museum on F Street.

“Having the information in front of you and then being at the site is the difference between watching the Jayhawks play in Allen Field House and watching them on a television in some bar,” he says. “You get the same information both ways, but you experience it totally differently.”

Wallace says he was surprised to learn during his research for this book—which he describes as “much more substantial” than Spy Sites of New York City—about ceaseless foreign involvement in American affairs across the entire span of our country’s history.

“Not only in terms of foreign countries attempting to, quote, steal American secrets, the information side, but also the influence side,” he says. “Foreign governments, through their intelligence organs, have consistently, regularly, always attempted to influence American politicians, influence American policy, influence the American public, and, by extension, either directly or indirectly, the American vote.

“I was surprised by that. I didn’t have a previous awareness of how consistently that played out over the years.”

Given that those are exactly the charges currently being bandied about in the early days of the current presidential administration, Wallace suggests using caution to draw exact parallels: “The dynamics of any particular age are of that age,” he says.

Instead, Wallace says, Americans should use that history to learn more about how such foreign efforts were dealt with in earlier times.

“What history teaches you is that maybe you shouldn’t be so surprised and shocked when things happen, because there’s probably historical precedence. But, maybe you can draw some lessons learned in terms of how similar situations were effectively, or not so effectively, dealt with.”

—Chris Lazzarino

Additional coverage:

100 Percent Chance There Is a Spy Site in Your DC-Area Neighborhood | NBC Washington

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LPD, #hilarious

Posted on Feb 7, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Drew Fennelly, Lawrence Police Department

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.”

His creativity burst forth three months later, as Fennelly, ’09, hunched over his laptop, bemoaning the men’s basketball team’s shattering loss in the NCAA Tournament. “Sorry, we can’t investigate Villanova ripping your heart out of your chest,” Fennelly wrote. “The crime occurred outside our jurisdiction. #RCJH”

The post was noticed by the Kansas City Star’s sports editor, who shared it with his 10,000 followers, and suddenly @LawrenceKS_PD zoomed to online fame.

“I felt the same frustration and despair that everybody else did about KU losing that game,” Fennelly says. “So I was thinking, how can I express to everyone else how I feel and relate it to the police department?”

He’d found the voice he’d been searching for, and his ensuing parade of comedy gold gained an even wider audience—hello, Jimmy Kimmel—Sept. 29: “We realize politics can make emotions run high, but being mad at a presidential candidate in a debate is NOT a reason to call 911.”

Fennelly says he scrutinizes every post for any possible hint of controversy or disrespect, but he otherwise lets the laughs loose almost daily, including an election-day reminder that “Electioneering is not a major at KU,” K9 officers posed for cute dog pics, Bad Luck Brian reminding citizens not to tempt thieves with unattended porch packages, and best of all, the occasional Saturday-night #LKPDTweetalong, during which he rides with a fellow officer and tweets the action from a citizen’s point of view.

“Humor really is one of the best coping mechanisms for dealing with what we see on a regular basis,” says Fennelly, an officer since 2009. “I think you would be hard-pressed to find a police officer with out a pretty good sense of humor.”

From dry to wry, all in a day’s work.

—Chris Lazzarino

This post was originally published in the Jayhawk Walk section of Kansas Alumni magazine, issue no. 1, 2017, but it’s not the only press about the police department’s Twitter antics. Check out the links below for more.

This Police Department Has The Most Hilarious Twitter Game Ever And You Won’t Stop Laughing | Thought Catalog

Day in the Life: Meet the man behind the famous LPD Twitter account | University Daily Kansan

Cops in Kansas foster engagement with an arresting Twitter feed | PR Daily

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Self a First-Time Naismith Hall of Fame Nominee

Posted on Dec 21, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Coach Bill Self
Men’s basketball coach Bill Self on Wednesday was announced as a first-time nominee for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“I certainly didn’t expect this,” Self said during preparations for Thursday’s game at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “I’m proud, mainly because of the teams’ successes we’ve had in the various stops that put me in a position to be considered.”

Self, a Life Joint member of the KU Alumni Association, is 395-84 in his 14 seasons at KU, and his 82.5 KU winning percentage is the best in school history. Including his coaching stints at Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois, Self is 602-189 in 24 years as a head coach. At KU, where he has taken his Jayhawks to 18-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, Self has recorded more conference titles (12) than home losses (9).

Finalists will be announced during NBA All-Star festivities Feb. 18 in New Orleans, and the hall of fame’s Class of 2017 will be unveiled April 3 at the NCAA Tournament’s championship game in Glendale, Arizona.

—Chris Lazzarino

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Run, jump, kick, spike, shoot, swim, pass, score, win: What a week to be a Jayhawk

Posted on Nov 21, 2016 in Alumni News and News

KU volleyball team clinches Big 12 Championship
“What a great day to be a Jayhawk!” coach David Beaty shouted, his raspy voice barely audible amid the chaos that swarmed across Memorial Stadium’s field after KU upset Texas, 24-21, in an overtime thriller that gave Beaty his first Big 12 victory and the Jayhawks’ first in the conference since 2014.

Beaty of course was spot-on with the sentiment, but the time element was off. While football’s first victory over Texas since 1938 scored the national headlines, it was more than a great day to be a Jayhawk: From Sunday to Sunday, it was a week for the athletics ages.

Soccer sets the tone

Soccer set the tone on Sunday, Nov. 13, at Rock Chalk Park, when junior Lois Heuchan scored 40 seconds into double overtime to give the Jayhawks a 1-0 victory over Missouri in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. (The Jayhawks’ second-round loss, 2-0 Nov. 18 at North Carolina, was only their third loss since mid-September.)

Men’s basketball

Men’s basketball was up next, as the Jayhawks avoided their first 0-2 start since 1972 by beating top-ranked Duke, 77-75, Tuesday in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Frank Mason’s game-winning field goal with 1.8 seconds remaining was one of KU’s most thrilling shots since Mario Chalmers nailed a three-pointer to send the 2008 national championship game into overtime.

“That was quite a play we called: ‘Just get out of his way,’” coach Bill Self said afterward. “He’s a stud.”

Recruit chooses Kansas

Billy Preston, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward from Los Angeles kept the buzz going Friday afternoon when he released a video  announcing his college selection. Dressed in uniforms from his four finalists—KU, Indiana, USC and Syracuse—Preston played a magic-of-film one-on-one game against himself, at the end of which he turns to the camera and announces, “Rock Chalk, Jayhawks.”

Just a few hours later, Preston’s future team beat Siena, 86-65, running Self’s home record to 207-9 and passing Ted Owens on the list of all-time victories in Allen Field House.

“He’s a special coach and this is a special place,” sophomore forward Carlton Bragg Jr. said afterward. “You put those two things together and special things happen.”

Volleyball clinches championship

About 13 hours later, at 11 a.m. Saturday morning, volleyball began its final regular-season home match. Although they played without junior All-American Kelsie Payne, who injured an ankle in KU’s five-set victory Nov. 16 at West Virginia, the Jayhawks fought through another tough five-setter to defeat Iowa State and clinch at least a share of their first Big 12 championship.

“It could have been a disaster, or it could have been the best day ever, and they decided to make it the best day ever,” said coach Ray Bechard. “Our seniors weren’t going to let us lose.”

Swimmer hits career-best mark

Saturday’s action was not limited to Lawrence: freshman Jenny Nusbaum won the 200-yard freestyle at the Kansas Classic swim meet in Topeka’s Capitol Federal Natatorium with a career-best mark of 1 minute, 48.97 seconds, and she helped her team to a 7.34-second victory in the 800-yard freestyle relay.

Cross-country makes history

On a wintry morning in Terre Haute, Indiana, sophomore Sharon Lokedi ran fifth at the NCAA cross-country championships, the best NCAA finish in the history of KU women’s cross-country and the best by any Jayhawk since John Lawson won the men’s meet in 1965.

“When it’s cold and windy like it was today, you never know what might happen in a race like this,” Lokedi said. “So my plan was just to stay up at the front, stay with the leaders and be ready for anything.”

Football upsets Texas

On a chilly afternoon and evening in Memorial Stadium, the football ’Hawks offered the first hint of a possible upset by taking a 10-7 lead into halftime against Texas. But, KU came out flat in the third quarter, and when D’Onta Foreman scored his second touchdown of the second half with 13:34 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Longhorns a 21-10 lead.

The game looked hopelessly out of reach to fans and commentators, but players never saw it that way.

“They are some resilient tough dudes,” Beaty said. “They kept believing. They kept working.”

With 10 minutes remaining in regulation, redshirt freshman quarterback Carter Stanley jolted the KU offense to life with a 20-yard run, which was immediately followed by a 15-yard run by freshman running back Khalil Herbert that set the Jayhawks up at the Texas 45 yard line. Herbert scored seven plays later on a 1-yard run, and sophomore receiver Steven Sims Jr. converted a two-point conversion to push KU to within three, 21-18, with 7:48 remaining.

Freshman safety Mike Lee halted a Texas scoring threat on the ensuing drive when he forced Foreman to fumble at the KU 13-yard-line. Senior defensive end Cameron Rosser pounced on the loose ball, the Longhorns’ fifth turnover of the game. KU then gave the ball back on downs, but when Texas tried to close the game out by converting on fourth and 5 from the KU 32, sophomore linebacker Keith Loneker Jr. scored the biggest of his game-high 16 tackles by stopping Foreman 2 yards short.

The Jayhawks took over on their own 29 with 58 seconds remaining. Three receptions by senior running back Ke’aun Kinner  and a 15-yard penalty against Texas set KU up at the Longhorns’ 19, where, with seven seconds left in regulation, senior Matthew Wyman tied the game with a 36-yard field goal.

On the second play of overtime Lee again stepped up big, intercepting a Texas pass. Needing only a field goal to win, KU pushed forward behind five Kinner rushes, allowing Wyman to win the game with a 25-yard field goal.


The season finale awaits Saturday at Kansas State, but that rivalry’s renewal was on nobody’s mind as the Jayhawks celebrated madly.

Well, almost nobody’s.

“We have a huge, huge mountain to climb to get ready to play those guys,” Beaty said. “But it’s going to be a lot easier and a lot more fun preparing tomorrow with the result we got today.”

Women’s basketball team closes week with a win

And still more was yet to come: Women’s basketball closed out the remarkable week that was with a 68-58 victory at Memphis, the Jayhawks’ first win of the season and the first regular-season road victory for second-year coach Brandon Schneider.

What a great week to be a Jayhawk.

—Chris Lazzarino

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KU alumnus wins Nobel Peace Prize

Posted on Oct 7, 2016 in Alumni News and News

President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia on Friday was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts at ending a civil war that has ravaged his country for more than 50 years. Although the peace accord Santos, a 1973 KU graduate with degrees in business and economics, negotiated with Colombian rebels was unexpectedly rejected by voters, the Norwegian Nobel Committee expressed hope that the award would encourage Colombians to continue their efforts at ending a civil war that killed more than 220,000 and displaced nearly 6 million.

Kansas Alumni via kualumni.org“The Norwegian Nobel Committee emphasizes the importance of the fact that President Santos is now inviting all parties to participate in a broad-based national dialogue aimed at advancing the peace process,” the Nobel Committee stated in a press release issued Oct. 7 from its Oslo, Norway, headquarters. “Even those who opposed the peace accord have welcomed such a dialogue. The Nobel Committee hopes that all parties will take their share of responsibility and participate constructively in the upcoming peace talks.”

Santos followed an older brother, Luis Fernando Santos, a 1970 graduate of KU’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, to KU, arriving on Mount Oread in 1969. As detailed in a cover story of Kansas Alumni magazine’s issue No. 3, 2011, Santos first lived in McCollum Hall, then joined the Delta Upsilon fraternity as a sophomore.

A motivated scholar—as well as a friendly fraternity brother who enjoyed beers at The Wagon Wheel Café, serenading sororities and participating in all-night nickel-dime-quarter poker games—Santos earned his KU degree in seven semesters, returned to Colombia, then left for London where he began his career as Colombia’s delegate to the International Coffee Organization. The KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences named Santos a distinguished alumnus in 2012.

“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.”

Olav Njølstad, secretary of the Nobel Committee, on Friday said, “I just had a chance to talk with President Santos on the phone, and he was overwhelmed. He said immediately that this is ‘very, very, very important for my country and for the continuing peace process.’”

For continuing updates, follow KU Alumni Association social media outlets, and Alumni Association members will find complete coverage in issue No. 6 of Kansas Alumni magazine.

—Chris Lazzarino

Chancellor Gray-Little and President Santos via kualumni.org

Additional Resources

Illustration: Niklas Elmehed. Copyright: Nobel Media AB 2016
Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 via nobelprize.org

Colombia’s President, Juan Manuel Santos, Is Awarded Nobel Peace Prize via nytimes.com

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Awarded Nobel Peace Prize via npr.org

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences bestows highest honor on alumni via ku.edu

Jayhawks in Rio: Colombia connection via kualumni.org

Colombian president returns to the Hill via kualumni.org

The Gamble | Kansas Alumni magazine issue No. 3, 2011

Illustration: Niklas Elmehed. Copyright: Nobel Media AB 2016

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Food favorites from Kansas Alumni

Posted on Aug 9, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Kansas Alumni magazine

Putting together an entire magazine devoted to food and drink has been great fun for us at Kansas Alumni, and we’ve heard (through the grapevine, mostly) that our look at cuisines past, present and future in issue No. 4 has been a big hit with readers as well. We’d love to hear that feedback directly from you: If a story from the current issue jogged a food memory or whetted your appetite for more culinary adventure, email us a note at kualumni@kualumni.org.

Of course, culinary topics have long been an abiding interest of ours. The adventure, passion and life’s work that food so often inspires seems to produce a cornucopia of fascinating characters and tasty storylines, which we’ve happily celebrated in our pages over the years. Here are a few of our food favorites from issues past. Enjoy!


“Brew Master” by Steve Hill (Issue No. 2, 2010)

The craftsman behind Kansas City’s hometown beer honed his eye for artistry on the Boulevard in Lawrence.

Profile: Michael Bauer, by Tom King (Issue No. 4, 2012)

San Fran diners rely on Bauer’s refined tastes.

“Holy Cow!” by Chris Lazzarino (Issue No. 4, 2002)

Bill Bunyan’s drive through Kansas is a (medium) rare feat.

“It’s All Good” by Chris Lazzarino (Issue No. 4, 2007)

Cook it, study it, sauce it, smoke it, grill it, have a contest over it and make new friends with it; just don’t forget to eat the savory sensation of the new American summer, barbecue.

Profile: Brent Joseph, by Jennifer Jackson Sanner (Issue No. 4, 2009)

Pride in family, hometown adds zest to business.

“The Tater-Mater Man” by Steve Hill (Issue No. 4, 2013)

Tom Wagner earned his stripes the old-fashioned way—by cultivating a lifelong fascination with the art and science of plant breeding.

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Rite of spring renews Friday

Posted on May 4, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Ted Johnson
Professor Emeritus Ted Johnson’s annual Stop Day campus walking tour [“A Beautiful Mind,” Kansas Alumni magazine, issue No. 5, 2011] is set to begin at 9 a.m. Friday, as always, in front of Dyche Hall. For those who have yet to experience Johnson’s full-day stroll across campus and through millennia of intellectual curiosity, this might be the perfect year to join the reflective boulevard procession, as lovely sunny weather is forecast.

Other scheduled visits include 10 a.m. at Lippincott Hall, 11 a.m. at Twente Hall, noon at Watson Library and then to Wescoe Hall’s The Underground café for lunch. The afternoon program begins at 2 p.m. at Anschutz Library, followed by a stroll to the Chi Omega fountain. At 3 p.m. the group will meander past the Vietnam and Korean war memorials before arriving at the Campanile at 4.

The day’s long tour and invigorating conversations will conclude at 5 p.m. at Spooner Hall’s Weaver Court.

There are no registration or fees, and participants are encouraged to join or depart at any time. Johnson this year asked us to emphasize that recent tours have included a number of participants who successfully navigated the entire route in wheelchairs, so he renews his encouragement for others who might be apprehensive about the length and duration of the day’s journey to consider joining the excursion; although the marathon timetable might appear daunting, the tour meanders at a relaxed pace, with plenty of time for resting and relaxation.

—Chris Lazzarino

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’Hawks ready to rumble in Louisville

Posted on Mar 23, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Sweet 16 Open Practice | photo by Steve Puppe

After visiting historic Churchill Downs for their team dinner Tuesday, the top-seeded Jayhawks convened for open practice Wednesday in downtown Louisville’s cavernous KFC Yum! Center in preparation for their Sweet 16 showdown Thursday with the No. 5 seed Maryland Terrapins.

In their light-hearted but spirited open practice, KU guards—especially Wayne Selden Jr. and Devonte’ Graham—looked to be locked in as they made their way around the arc, launching shots from 2 and 3 feet behind the line that consistently swished elegantly through the net. The highlight of the afternoon session was Evan Manning’s swish from half court, nearly equalled by LaGerald Vick.

“We know how it feels to take losses,” says forward Jamari Traylor, referencing opening-weekend NCAA Tournament losses the past two seasons. “We’re just a little bit more focused. When you take a loss, it sits in the back of your mind and you’re going to do anything you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The Terrapins are coached by former KU guard Mark Turgeon, c’87, who in 1987 became the first Jayhawk to appear in four NCAA Tournaments. As for coaching against his alma mater, the veteran former coach of Wichita State and Texas A&M coach said, “The Kansas thing is not that weird to me anymore, or unique. It was a little bit that way the first time we played them, but being at Texas A&M, we played them a lot. You get used to it.”

Turgeon did, however, disclose that one boyhood sports loyalty will never fade: “I literally can’t go to bed at night,” Turgeon said, “until I get a Royals’ score.”

KU alumni, fans and friends are invited to gather for a pregame party starting at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Cascade Rooms A, B and C. The KU spirit squad, mascots and band will lead a pep rally at 6:15 p.m.

Miami and Villanova open the South Regional’s Sweet 16 action at 6:10 p.m. (Central) Thursday. The KU-Maryland game follows at approximately 8:40.

The two teams advancing to the Elite Eight will play Saturday (time to be determined Friday), with a trip to the Final Four in Houston on the line.

—Chris Lazzarino

Watch our slideshow below to see photos from today’s open practice, or click here to view the photos on Flickr. All photos by Steve Puppe.

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Campanile limestone readies for ‘tune-up’

Posted on Feb 17, 2016 in Alumni News and News

KU Campanile | www.kualumni.org
Contractors on Wednesday began inspecting the 65-year-old Campanile for weakened pieces of exterior limestone. University Architect Jim Modig, a’73, says masonry specialists were called in when “gravel-sized” pieces of stone were discovered around the base of the 120-foot tower.

“What we wanted to do is get a bucket out there and inspect all the stonework, all the way up and down, just to see what’s going on,” Modig says. “Once they check everything out they’ll come back and tell us what needs to be done.”

Along with removing any obvious loose pieces, the workers are also “sounding” the limestone, listening for hollow spots that can indicate fractures.

“It’s the typical Kansas freeze-thaw weather and its impact on native limestone,” Modig says.

Inspections should last only a day or two. Barring an unexpectedly dire diagnosis, it is anticipated that repairs will be completed well before Commencement on May 15.

“It’s not a major project as we sense it right now,” Modig says. “We refer to it as something like a tune-up.”

—Chris Lazzarino

Photos by Dan Storey

KU Campanile | www.kualumni.org

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Let the Good Times Roll!

Posted on Jan 29, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Flashback Friday | SUA roller skating event

After a decadeslong hiatus—We miss Fantasyland!—roller skating finally returns to Lawrence, thanks to Student Union Activities’ first-ever skate-night party, 8 to 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 5, in the Kansas Union Ballroom.

“Flashback Friday”—a retro-themed evening with a DJ spinning disco music, snacks and prizes, and of course the requisite dazzling disco ball—will help introduce a younger generation to the four-wheeling thrills that fueled their parents’ long-ago Friday night with friends.

The event is free to current KU students, and SUA special-events coordinator Taylor Burke emphasizes that everyone is welcome to join in the fun. The $10 admission for the general public includes skates, provided by Neon Entertainment, which will set up its portable rink in the Ballroom.

“This is completely new for us, and people are really amped about it,” Burke says. “It’s so easy and fun just to come to the Union and skate. We don’t have a roller rink [in Lawrence], so I think people are going to be really excited.”

Indeed we are. Bring on the disco duck (one foot only!). And a snowball (girls lined up on side, boys on the other), a couples-only moonlight skate, and, a limbo or two, with prizes for those who can really get down.

The only thing not authentically retro: Anyone skating will be asked to sign a liability waiver.

—Chris Lazzarino

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