Jayhawk car delights Omaha alumni

Posted on Mar 23, 2018 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

KU Alumni staff with the Crown Toyota of Lawrence Jayhawk car
Before our staff members hit the road to the Sweet 16 in style in the Jayhawk car—courtesy of our postseason partner, Crown Toyota of Lawrence—they posed for a picture with the iconic ride.

Omaha, the site of the KU basketball team’s matchup tonight with No. 5 Clemson, is Nebraska’s largest city and home to more than 2,000 Jayhawks. We knew alumni would be thrilled to see the Jayhawk car in their city.

Danny Lewis, director of donor relations and athletic programs, mapped out a plan to visit as many local Jayhawks as possible so they could snap a photo and share a little bit of their KU story with us.

Baird Holm, LLP

Baird Holm Jayhawks with the Crown Toyota of Lawrence Jayhawk car

Rick Putnam, former chair of the KU Alumni Association’s national board of directors, rounded up a flock of Jayhawks at his law firm. Putnam, c’77, l’80, is a managing partner of Baird Holm, LLP. He even persuaded the firm’s marketing department to create a special banner for the occasion.

Union Pacific Railroad

Sierra Poulson, c'09, with the Crown Toyota of Lawrence Jayhawk car

Next up on the tour of Omaha: a stop at Union Pacific Railroad, where Sierra Poulson, c’09, works as an attorney.

Poulson earned a degree in psychology with a minor in art history, and she lived in Templin Hall. After leaving the Hill, she earned her law degree at DePaul.

We asked her what she misses most about Lawrence, and she responded “’80s night at the Bottleneck and crunchy chicken cheddar wraps!”

As we were taking the photo, another Jayhawk walked by … Jayhawks are everywhere.

Susan Hunter with the Crown Toyota of Lawrence Jayhawk car
Susan Hunter works as a train dispatcher for Union Pacific. She earned a degree in business and accounting from KU in 1994.

She was a proud resident of Douthart Scholarship Hall, and her favorite memory of KU is Thursday night trips to Carlos O’Kelly’s and watching “Seinfeld” and “Friends.”

KU Office of Admissions

Angie Bass with the Crown Toyota of Lawrence Jayhawk car
No, KU’s Office of Admissions didn’t move to Omaha—but you may not know that it employs regional admissions representatives across the country, including Angie Bass, who received a degree in elementary education in 2016.

Her favorite memory of Lawrence is the atmosphere of the town when the Kansas City Royals won the World Series. She heard fireworks all over town and ran to Massachusetts Street to celebrate.

Here’s hoping for another Mass Street celebration soon…

Jet Linx

Jamie Walker and Heath Peterson at Jet Linx
We drove the car out to Jet Linx, a personal private jet company started in Omaha in 1999, to see Jamie Walker.

Walker, c’97, is the president and CEO of the company. He earned a degree in English from KU and was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Some of Walker’s favorite college memories include nights at the Bull, just down the street from his fraternity house. What does he miss most about Lawrence? The whole town. It’s a pretty special place, after all.

We hope you enjoyed meeting some Omaha Jayhawks! Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more sights and sounds from the Midwest Regional. For more information about pregame events and watch parties during the NCAA Tournament, visit our ’Hawks ’n Hoops postseason hub.

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Astronauts Joe Engle, Steven Hawley to serve as grand marshals for Homecoming parade

Posted on Sep 8, 2017 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Homecoming 2017
Retired NASA astronauts and University of Kansas alumni Joe Engle and Steven Hawley will be grand marshals of the KU Homecoming Parade at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence. A meet and greet with Kansas Athletics will precede the parade from 4 to 5 p.m. at South Park. The theme for KU’s 105th Homecoming is “Jayhawks of the Galaxy.”

Joe EngleEngle, a Chapman native and 1955 School of Engineering graduate, was a member of the NASA Class of 1966. He trained for the Apollo 14 and Apollo 17 moon missions before commanding Space Shuttle Columbia, the second shuttle mission, on Nov. 12, 1981. Four years later, he commanded Space Shuttle Discovery. He has been inducted in the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame, the Astronaut Hall of Fame and the National Aviation Hall of Fame. In 1982, he received the University’s Distinguished Service Citation and was recognized as a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus.

Steven HawleyHawley, a Salina native who graduated in 1973 with a degree in astronomy, is a member of the NASA Class of 1978. He served as mission specialist on five space shuttle flights from 1984 to 1999 and logged more than 770 hours in space. He has received several awards from NASA and has been inducted in the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame. In 1998, he received the University’s Distinguished Service Citation, and he received the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007. He is a professor in the department of physics and astronomy at KU.

KU alumnus and former astronaut Ron Evans, who joined Engle in NASA’s Class of 1966 and served as command module pilot on Apollo 17, died in 1990. The University’s newest astronaut candidate, Loral O’Hara, graduated from the School of Engineering in 2006. She is currently in NASA’s two-year training program.

The parade is part of a weeklong celebration that begins Sunday, Oct. 1, and includes several student and alumni activities, including competitions, community service opportunities and reunions, all of which lead up to the KU-Texas Tech football game Saturday, Oct. 7, in Memorial Stadium. A complete schedule of Homecoming week activities can be found at on the Homecoming website.

The student-led Homecoming Steering Committee is directed by Nellie Kassebaum, a Burdick junior in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She works with Alumni Association adviser Jacey Krehbiel, assistant director of membership and business development.

This year’s Homecoming celebration is sponsored by Crown Toyota-Volkswagen.

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Rock Chalk Road Trip

Posted on Mar 16, 2017 in Alumni News, News, and Sports


Flying South to Tulsa

'Hawks 'n Hoops via www.kualumni.org

Follow the ‘Hawks as they fly through the postseason on our ‘Hawks and Hoops page, where alumni can find the latest updates on tournament games, pep rallies, shoot arounds and alumni watch parties around the country. And watch out for our KU Alumni Association staff on the road. They’ll be hard to miss.

Once again, thanks to Miles Schnaer’s Crown Automotive in Lawrence, your KU Alumni Association staff will be driving to Tulsa in style on the ‘Road to the Final Four.’ Be sure to wave at them in this one-of-a-kind Jayhawk Car.
Crown Toyota-Volkswagen
Our postseaon partners at Crown tell us the Jayhawk car has been a favorite among fans and auto enthusiasts young and old, so if you spot us during March Madness, don’t forget to post a pic and tag #kualumni.

See you on the road!

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University of Kansas concludes 104th Homecoming celebration

Posted on Oct 26, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Homecoming 2016

The University of Kansas celebrated its 104th Homecoming Oct. 16-22. The annual event was organized by the KU Alumni Association and a student-led Homecoming steering committee, which was directed by Katie Gerard, a Hanover senior in supply chain management. She worked with Alumni Association adviser Jacey Krehbiel, assistant director of alumni programs. Homecoming sponsors were Crown Automotive, Coca Cola and Kansas Athletics.

The theme for this year’s event was “Rock Chalk Super Hawk.” Students and alumni participated in several activities throughout the week, including competitions, community service opportunities and reunions. Members of the KU and Lawrence communities collected more than a ton of non-perishable food items for Just Food of Douglas County during the Stuff the Bus competition. They also donated more than 1,000 books for the Lawrence for Literacy Children’s Book Drive, which was sponsored by the Homecoming steering committee and the United Way of Douglas County.

The Homecoming parade was Friday, Oct. 21, on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence and featured Bob Davis, the former play-by-play voice of Kansas Jayhawk football and men’s basketball, and 2016 Olympic gold medalist and former KU track and field sprinter Kyle Clemons as grand marshals. A pep rally at Eighth and New Hampshire streets followed the parade. The weeklong celebration culminated with a KU football game against Oklahoma State University Saturday, Oct. 22, in Memorial Stadium.

The 2016 Homecoming event and award winners are:

ExCEL Awards
Jordan Hildenbrand, a senior from Blue Springs, Missouri, majoring in chemical engineering
Abdoulie Njai, a senior from Wichita majoring in human biology

Jennifer Alderdice Homecoming Award
Sarah Pickert, a junior from Wichita majoring in visual communication in graphic design

Rich and Judy Billings Spirit of 1912 Award
Linda Ellis Sims, e’79, from Independence, Missouri

Overall Winners

Greek Life
1st place: Alpha Delta Pi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Delta Lambda Phi
2nd place: Delta Delta Delta, Theta Chi, Alpha Kappa Lambda
3rd place: Alpha Chi Omega, Delta Tau Delta, Beta Sigma Psi

Student Life
1st place: Omega Phi Alpha, Beta Upsilon Chi
2nd place: KU School of Engineering
3rd place: Student Union Activities, The Big Event, KJHK

For more information and a complete list of competition winners, visit homecoming.ku.edu.


2016 KU HomecomingKU’s 104th Homecoming celebration, Rock Chalk Super Hawk, takes place Oct. 16-22. For a full list of activities and events during Homecoming week, fun facts and historical information, visit www.kualumni.org/homecoming. Share your photos with us by posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #kuhomecoming, and follow the hashtag to see more pictures of the celebration. Click here to read more stories about Homecoming.

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Crown Automotive to sponsor KU Homecoming, post-season basketball activities

Posted on Sep 30, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Homecoming float
Miles Schnaer’s Crown Automotive of Lawrence will sponsor the University of Kansas’ Homecoming celebration this year. The annual event, which kicks off Sunday, Oct. 16, is organized by the KU Alumni Association and features a weeklong series of student and alumni activities, including competitions, community service opportunities, reunions, and the Homecoming parade and pep rally. The celebration culminates with a KU football game against Oklahoma State University Saturday, Oct. 22, in Memorial Stadium. Longtime sponsors Coca Cola and Kansas Athletics join Crown Automotive in supporting this year’s event.

The dealership also will return as a sponsor of the Jayhawks’ post-season basketball activities in 2017.

Earlier this year, Crown Automotive teamed up with the KU Alumni Association during the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and loaned its Crown Jayhawk Car, a KU-themed Scion tC, to Alumni Association staff who traveled in March to Louisville, Kentucky, to support the Jayhawks as they advanced to the Elite Eight.

Crown logo“We are truly grateful for Crown’s support of Homecoming and postseason basketball,” said Heath Peterson, KU Alumni Association president. “Crown’s sponsorship will help us expand this fall’s Homecoming activities for students, alumni and the Lawrence community. Next spring, Crown will help us unite Jayhawks in communities nationwide.”

“Crown Automotive is proud to sponsor KU’s Homecoming celebration and provide continued support to the Jayhawks in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament,” said Miles Schnaer, owner of Crown Automotive. “Our partnership with the Alumni Association demonstrates our loyalty and commitment to the University of Kansas and its longstanding traditions.”

For more information about Homecoming activities, visit the Homecoming website.

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It was a great ride

Posted on Mar 28, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports


The road to the Final Four ended abruptly Saturday with KU’s loss to Villanova in the Elite 8. Time to load the car and head for home, but not before looking back on a great “ride” through the postseason.

Jayhawk Car via kualumni.orgThanks to a partnership with Miles Schnaer’s Crown Automotive in Lawrence, our staff was fortunate enough to drive the Jayhawk Car to NCAA Tournament sites in Des Moines and Louisville for alumni events. I asked the lucky staff members who were beyond excited to drive it what it was like to get behind the wheel of the Jayhawk Car:

“It turned heads quicker than a Wayne Selden dunk!”

“It drove the lane more smoothly than Devonte Graham!”

Jayhawk Car at Churchill Downs via kualumni.orgUgh. Okay, clearly we’ve still got basketball on the brain, but that’s understandable. The Jayhawk Car–a Scion tC, the sportiest model in the Scion line up–visited the venues and other popular sites during the Jayhawks’ postseason run. The car itself was a popular attraction among fans who asked to take pics with it, including one KU alumnus who asked for a picture sitting behind the wheel (he reportedly wanted to send the shot to wife, hoping to drop a hint). This didn’t surprise the team at Crown, who told us the Jayhawk Car has been popular with fans since it was created.

“The relationship with KU is very important because it is a partnership based on each entity supporting one another,” said Crown spokesperson Randy Habiger. “Miles has had a relationship with KU for over 20 years. The car was his idea, and he envisioned it being displayed at KU events, golf outings, etc., so we wrapped it to be a recognizable icon that it is.”

So recognizable, in fact, that it even attracts non-Jayhawks.

“We’ve even had K State and Missouri fans want their pictures taken with the car,” he said. (We’ll have to take his word for it, since we didn’t spot any during this year’s NCAA Tournament.)

Even though the journey had to end, the partnership made for a memorable March. And while the Jayhawks’ drive to the championship didn’t pan out, it was a incredible season …and one great ride!

–David Johnston

Crown Toyota Jayhawk car

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Driving the ‘Road to the Final Four’ in style

Posted on Mar 17, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports


This year, thanks to a partnership with Miles Schnaer’s Crown Automotive in Lawrence, there will be no missing the KU Alumni Association on the ‘Road to the Final Four.’ Catch our staff in this one-of-a-kind Jayhawk Car, if you can!

IMG_logo_crownThe Crown Jayhawk Car is a Scion tC, and take our word for it, this Jayhawk can fly. If you’re lucky enough to spot it on the road, or if you scored tickets to see the Jayhawks play in person, look for the Crown Jayhawk Car and post a pic. According to our friends at Crown, the car has been a fan favorite among Jayhawks and auto enthusiasts young and old.

Follow the ‘hawks throughout the postseason on our ‘Hawks and Hoops page, with the latest information on tournament games, pep rallies, shoot arounds and watch parties around the country. Plus, look for special benefits just for proud Association members. No matter how far our Jayhawks go in the tournament, you can bet we’ll arrive in style!

Crown car via kualumni.org
–David Johnston

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