Every Jayhawk seems to know, or know of, Curtis Marsh. He’s the quintessential “KU guy,” overflowing with knowledge about everything Jayhawk-related from his years of managing KU Info.
Marsh recently started a new job at KU Endowment as the associate development director for the KU School of Music and the Lied Center.
Marsh, j’92, is in the passenger seat for this edition of “Driving with Jayhawks.” He shares tales of his favorite KU traditions— including a piece of history we bet you didn’t know— and the story of one of the greatest characters born in Allen Field House.
Thanks to our postseason partner, Crown Automotive, for allowing us to use the Jayhawk car for this series. Click here to watch more “Driving with Jayhawks” videos.
Jayhawks celebrated their alma mater’s past, present and future at the 23rd annual Rock Chalk Ball, held April 28 at the Kansas City Convention Center. This year’s event concluded a week of inauguration festivities for Chancellor Douglas A. Girod.
Hosted by the Alumni Association and the Greater Kansas City Network, the annual event unites Jayhawks in the nation’s largest KU community and raises funds for Association programs to advocate for KU; communicate to alumni and friends in all media; recruit students and volunteers; serve current students, alumni and KU; and unite all Jayhawks.
Chancellor Girod and his wife, Susan, served as honorary event chairs. Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info and the DeBruce Center, lent his voice—and his wealth of KU knowledge and traditions—as this year’s emcee. The event featured silent and live auctions and the enthusiastic sounds of the Patrick Lentz Band, one of Kansas City’s premier cover bands. The KU Libraries exhibit, History of the Jayhawk, was on display during the cocktail hour.
Sasha Flores Boulware, c’98, g’00, and Billy Marshall, c’00, served as network co-chairs for the event.
In keeping with the Alumni Association’s mission to strengthen KU, proceeds from the 2018 Rock Chalk Ball will be used to benefit legacy student recruitment and student programs. Proceeds from the Fund-A-Need portion of the auction will benefit the Jayhawk Career Network. A new KU Alumni Mentoring Program will be launched this fall to give students easy access to the power of our alumni base.
Thank you to the event’s title sponsor, Tickets For Less, and the presenting sponsors—Boulevard Brewing, Charlie Hustle and Gohagan— for their contributions to the live auction.
Check out some of our favorite social posts from Rock Chalk Ball below! Official photos from the event, courtesy of Steve Puppe, are available here and may be downloaded for personal use. If you attended this year’s Rock Chalk Ball, we’d love to have your feedback—please complete our survey.
Note: If you’re opening this on a mobile device, click on “Listen in browser.” If you click on “Play on Soundcloud,” you’ll be directed to the App Store to download the Soundcloud app. If you already have the Soundcloud app, it will open if you click the orange button.
KU alumni Curtis Marsh, j’92, and Creighton Coover, b’98, g’01, sat down to talk KU hoops and recall their all-time favorite Jayhawk players and memorable moments on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of basketball at the University of Kansas.
Listen to their take on KU’s top teams, most memorable moments and all-time starting lineups, and let us know what you think. Have a favorite KU hoops memory you’d like to share? Drop us a line and let us hear about it!
Look who’s talking
Curtis Marsh is director of KU Info and the DeBruce Center, home of Naismith’s original rules of basketball, at the University of Kansas. An avid KU basketball fan and historian of all things KU, Marsh was an undergraduate in the late 80s and early 90s, when camping for games often involved sleeping outside in a tent. He is one of the famous Allen Fieldhouse whistlers, as covered on this blog, and helped launch (literally) the legend of Captain Jayhawk and the Superfans.
Creighton Coover is a senior account manager with iModules Software, where he spends his days helping alumni associations across the country manage their data (disclaimer: the KU Alumni Association is an iModules client). In his spare time, Creighton continues to pore over data, tracking historically significant stats of his beloved Jayhawks on Twitter. He was a repeat guest on Brian Hanni’s Rock Chalk Sports Talk show for a segment titled Beyond the Box Score.
McCollum Hall, the largest residence hall at the University of Kansas, was demolished at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 25.
Built in 1965, 10-story McCollum Hall was originally designed with a capacity of 910 residents. With two new residence halls now facing Lewis and Hashinger halls, the McCollum site will be paved for much-needed parking.
Watch our video below to see interviews detailing the history of McCollum Hall and the future of Daisy Hill with Becky Schulte, University archivist; Jim Modig, University architect; and Curtis Marsh, director of KU Info.
Curtis Marsh, j’92, and Joe Zielinski, j’92, are well-known to many KU basketball fans for their, shall we say, shenanigans in Allen Fieldhouse. Anyone remember Captain Jayhawk and the Superfans, or the Flying Banduzzici Brothers? Many of their antics were left behind when the men graduated, but one tradition still makes an occasional appearance in the Fieldhouse: whistling.
As fixtures in the student section during their college days, Joe and Curtis spent their pre-game hours like most students— tearing newspapers into confetti and organizing cheers— but they also became adept at whistling very loudly, sometimes even on-key.
They used their newfound skill to make as much noise as possible during the games, but they also began to experiment with actual songs. According to Curtis, “We didn’t like the profanity some students used to show their disdain toward the game’s referees, so we started whistling ‘Three Blind Mice’ whenever we disagreed with a call.”
Joe and Curtis then decided to step up their game and try whistling the trumpet solo while the pep band played “Brass Roots.” After several attempts, they perfected their whistling duet and a new tradition was born.
After graduating, the pair thought their whistling days were in the past. “We thought it was less acceptable to be so silly in other parts of the Fieldhouse,” Curtis says. But to their surprise, they discovered that the “Brass Roots” whistle duet was still well-received outside the student section.
“The song is played less often these days, but the current band director heard about our little show and asked if we’d like to perform with the band,” explained Curtis. “So, whenever we attend a game together, if the band plays ‘Brass Roots’ we whistle along.”
Watch a video of the Allen Fieldhouse Whistlers, shot in 2014 by Andy Lees with KU Marketing and Communications:
The KU Memorial Unions and Student Union Activities hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 29 to mark the grand opening of the Jayhawk Collection, which has a permanent home—thanks to the generosity of local donors James and Mary Ellen Ascher—in the Union’s level two corridor.
The 1,000-plus piece collection, which is displayed in floor-to-ceiling glass cases designed by Sabatini Architects and constructed by B.A. Green Construction, boasts almost any piece of KU memorabilia imaginable, including Jayhawk figurines in every shape and size, apparel, lamps, pens and even antique popcorn tins.
Kenneth “Bud” Jennings, ’57, who started the collection when he was 12, happily spoke to the crowd about the origins of his impressive assortment of KU memorabilia. “My neighbor, who worked at KU, gave me my first Jayhawk toy,” he recalled. From there, the collection only grew as Jennings went to garage sales and auctions over the years.
The collection had been on display in the Union for four years through an agreement with Jennings before he finally decided to auction it off. That was when James, ’51, and Mary Ellen, assoc., stepped in to make a donation to keep the collection where it belonged—on the KU campus.
Mike Reid, director of public affairs, acknowledged the Aschers’ generosity during the ceremony’s opening statements. “Thanks to the Aschers for stepping forward and keeping the Jayhawk spirit alive,” he said. “And thanks for letting us continue to share this collection with all of the Jayhawk nation.”
The Aschers also attended the ceremony and were on hand to help cut the ribbon. “I think it’s beautiful,” James said. “I’m amazed at what they’ve accomplished. The people who put this together are really the ones who get the credit.”
After the ceremony, participants walked the hallway, admiring the collection, which now also contains pieces donated by others in the KU community, and sharing their own stories about pieces they had acquired over the years. Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info, recognized a hat he had contributed to the collection and was excited to see it displayed with the other historical items. “No one’s going to believe me that it’s my contribution,” he joked.
The Jayhawk Collection is available for viewing at no charge during the Union’s normal operating hours. Be sure to stop by on your next visit to campus.
Watch the slideshow below to see photos from the event and of the Jayhawk Collection. Photos by Dan Storey.
The Jayhawk Boulevard facelift has changed more than just the pavement—the KU Info booth has been rebuilt to better serve students who walk the iconic thoroughfare.
Recent construction opened the door to creating a contemporary version of the classic structure. The original booth was a gift from the Class of 1950. The new and improved booth is larger and complies with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. “The old booth was perfectly comfortable for one person, but if there was more than one person, you’d better really like that other person,” says Curtis Marsh, KU Info director.
The new space represents KU Info’s commitment to remain a ready resource for students. “This service is here with whatever students need help with. You don’t get judged for the questions you ask,” says Marsh, j’92. “We’re the experts on the KU stuff, but if you want to know how to wash your clothes or cook ramen, we want to help students with any issues they have. We want alumni to call, too, because we love the fact that alumni think of us as a tradition.”
Marsh made sure to honor tradition in the ceremonial opening of the new booth by inviting Warren Corman, e’50, longtime University architect, to clip the ribbon.
KU Info receives an average of 300 inquiries a day. For help, visit kuinfo.ku.edu or call 785-864-3506.
The 2014 Homecoming Parade takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26, in downtown Lawrence with a couple of familiar voices behind the microphone. John Holt, j’81, l’84, current news anchor for Fox 4, and Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info, will reunited to serve as the parade’s emcees.
Fun fact: these two Jayhawks also served as co-emcees of the 2010 Homecoming parade. The Homecoming theme was “Rock Chalk Roadtrip” and the creative entries featured a variety of transportation-themed floats. Robert Eaton, e’63, was the parade’s grand marshal.
This weekend, alumni, friends and KU Info superstars are invited to help celebrate the new KU Info booth on Jayhawk Boulevard. A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for noon on Saturday, three hours before kickoff of the Homecoming football game. Learn more about the new booth in this post submitted by Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info.
KU students today are used to a continuous stream of crimson and blue buses that transport them to all reaches of Lawrence. In the 1950’s, just three decades after the electric trolley stopped running between campus and Massachusetts Street, there were buses on Jayhawk Blvd, but very few.
There was a bus stop on Jayhawk Boulevard, just south of Bailey Hall, built with funds from a gift of the class of 1950. Students could take shelter from the elements and wait for the occasional public transport. It included a small building that was rarely used. Research has only uncovered one example of its regular use, and that was in the volatile early 70’s when campus law enforcement committed to staffing the booth in the early evenings.
This small shelter fell into disrepair after decades of non-use. In the mid 2000’s, a group proposed refurbishing the booth to provide walk-up service for KU Info. The booth got a facelift, and from 2010 to spring 2014, students could get all their questions answered from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday.
(The photo above right is from the 1960’s. The photo below was taken during the summer of 2014.)
But last summer, the booth had to be taken down in preparation for the second phase of the Jayhawk Boulevard reconstruction project. Because the structure was a class gift, and because it had been rejuvenated as a campus information desk, the decision was made to rebuild it just a few yards to the southwest of its original location.
The campus master plan dictated that the booth be further away from the street to increase safety for pedestrians. The structure was also moved closer to Wescoe Hall to better position it as a bus stop.
It represents a contemporary version of a classic campus structure and will still host KU Info staff during regular class times. KU Info itself is a contemporary version of a classic campus service, so it is a perfect marriage of the two.
—Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info
The photos below were taken on Tuesday, Sept. 23, and show the current state of construction on the booth.
Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info, explains how to juggle your responsibilities by adapting your approach in this wonderful short YouTube video. As he shared with an audience during his Last Lecture presentation, which we covered on our blog in March, you can take on more work and responsibilities if you handle it in a slightly different way than you did before. Confused? Don’t be. Curtis makes it look easy and shows you how to be more productive in life and in your career without getting stressed …and without dropping the ball!