Move-in day at Corbin

Posted on Aug 26, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

On Sunday, August 14, we tagged along with the McKee family for move-in day. Julie McKee, c’87, and her husband Mark, b’83, helped their second daughter, Chandler, move into Corbin Hall, and little sister Brooke was along for the adventure. KU announced earlier this year that Corbin Hall will be restored and renovated in 2017.


Corbin Connections

Julie McKee, c’87, walked into Corbin Hall and was immediately taken back in time. A few years had passed, of course, and her three daughters were a reminder of the passage of time. Corbin had changed some too, of course. The decorations and some of the furniture were different, but much of the historic building was exactly as she remembered, including the atmosphere- a familiar mix of excitement and uncertainty that comes with a life-changing moment, like going off to college.

Welcome to move-in day.

For more than 90 years, Corbin Hall has served as the largest female-only residence hall for undergraduates at the University of Kansas, which means multiple generations of Jayhawks, like the McKees, have lived there. Corbin was the first home-away-from-home for countless KU alumni, and a new crop of eager freshmen moved in August 14. However, this year’s group of girls will have a unique experience compared to those who will follow; they will live in the same Corbin Hall inhabited by their mothers and grandmothers, and they’ll be the last class to do so.

Renovations Planned

Corbin Hall via kualumni.orgEarlier this year, KU announced plans to close Corbin in 2017 so renovations–and restorations–can be made to the aging facility. Upgrades to plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems will be made at a cost of around $13.5 million, improving all student rooms, restrooms, public spaces and the entryway. Corbin is scheduled to reopen in 2018. That made this year’s move-in day a special occasion, especially for those who once lived in Corbin. The next group to move in, once restoration and improvements are complete, will experience a much more modern facility that retains all the architectural charm this historic KU building has to offer.

Originally built in 1923, Corbin was extended in 1951 with the addition of the north building. It has been updated through the years, but the structure and layout have remained largely unchanged, which former residents will recall. You might tell a fellow Jayhawk you lived in Corbin. A woman would know to ask “north or south?”

Each wing was known for its quirks and its own culture, history and personality. A bond was created among the girls on each floor that survived bid day, bad dates and changed majors.


Julie McKee, her husband Mark, b’83, helped their daughter unload, unpack and decorate her room with fresh new bedding before speaking with us about their family’s move-in day experience, which was admittedly bittersweet. Chandler McKee, like most KU freshmen, radiated optimism, knowing it was finally her turn to be a Jayhawk.

And her new address would be 420 West 11th Street, better known as Corbin Hall.

–David Johnston

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Following in her footsteps

Posted on May 16, 2014 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News


Tracey Keegan, d’92, and Addison Keegan-Harris, c’14.

For Facebook’s “Throwback Thursday” this week, Tracy Keegan, d’92, shared an image from the day she walked down the hill at KU’s commencement in 1992, noting that she was pregnant with her daughter at the time. This weekend, her daughter Addison Keegan-Harris, now all grown up, will walk down the hill. She’ll be following in her mother’s footsteps—in more ways than one.

Mom Tracy has been a loyal volunteer for the KU Alumni Association’s Ad Astra Chapter in Topeka for years. Her involvement with the chapter has helped KU recruitment efforts, supported university advocacy efforts during KU Day in the Capitol and helped bring talented KU musicians and other programs to alumni in the Topeka area.

This week, Tracy’s daughter Addison was named the recipient of the Donald K. Alderson Memorial Award, which recognizes a graduating senior whose campus involvement as a student benefits fellow students and the greater good. The announcement recognized her Jayhawk lineage—she’s the daughter of two KU alumni—and included just a few of her activities on campus. Ready for this?

Since she was destined to be a future Jayhawk from a young age, Addison jumped right in, getting involved as a resident assistant for GSP and Corbin before becoming an orientation assistant and a research assistant for the Performance Management Laboratory. She also helped found the Applied Behavior Science Undergraduate Student Organization and served as president of Peer Leadership Consultants. As a result of her stellar career at KU, she was named a finalist in the fall for the 2013 ExCEL award, recognizing excellence in community, education and leadership among KU students. She will graduate this weekend with a degree in applied behavior science and a minor in leadership studies.

Clearly, KU involvement runs in the family, and we can think of no greater legacy for a Jayhawk to leave.

—David Johnston

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