Find out what fellow Jayhawks are up to in our biweekly edition of “In the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes.If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at email@example.com.
Former KU and NBA basketball player Drew Gooden finished work on his communication studies degree in December and enjoyed the fruits of his academic labor walking down Campanile Hill on Sunday morning into Memorial Stadium for KU commencement exercises. Read full article.
Devenie Ross, a 2016 School of Business graduate, is one of the winners of the American Institute of CPAs’ 2016 Elijah Watt Sells Award. A total of 102,323 individuals sat for the exam in 2016, and Ross was one of 58 candidates to meet the award criteria. Read full article.
Attorney Diane L. Bellquist, of Joseph, Hollander &Craft LLC, is the newly elected president-elect of the Topeka Bar Association. She earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. Read full article.
Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras, nominated Monday by President Donald Trump to fill a vacancy on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, is described by colleagues as a scholar who can build bridges with colleagues on the bench. Read full article.
Just Play Sports Solutions announced it will partner with seven professional WNBA teams — the Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Dallas Wings, LA Sparks, Seattle Storm and Washington Mystic. Austin Barone, a graduate of the KU School of Business, is a co-founder of the company. Read full article.
Kevin Pritchard — who played at Kansas and was the starting point guard on the Jayhawks’ 1988 national championship team — is the new president of basketball operations for the Indiana Pacers. Read full article.
Fatimah Al Ghafli, 53, is a University of Kansas student from Saudi Arabia, a mother of nine and a grandmother of nine. She celebrated her second degree from KU, a master’s in math. Her husband and two kids also have degrees from KU, and two more children currently attend the university. Read full story.
University of Kansas professor emeritus of art history Edmund Eglinski was known as an advocate for learning through direct experience. Eglinski, 85, died Sunday in Lawrence of a heart attack. Read full article.
Michael Crawford — professor of anthropology, founding director of the Laboratory of Biological Anthropology and a founder of the field of anthropological genetics — has been at KU since 1971 and founded the lab in 1975. After more than 45 years on the Hill, Crawford is retiring and handing over leadership of the lab. Read full article.
Former Kansas basketball guard Nick Bradford remembers consulting two of his college mentors — former Jayhawks head coach Roy Williams and assistant Neil Dougherty — about his future career path. Bradford was announced as girls head basketball coach at Olathe North High School. Read full article.
Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.
Each year, the University bids farewell to outstanding professors who retire after years of service to KU. The following post from Steve Pope, f’91, describes a recent farewell to a beloved faculty member.
In a room of more than 40 people, I knew no one, not a soul, except for the man of honor, Richard Branham, longtime KU professor of industrial design. I soon learned that the guests had traveled from Mexico, Brazil, China, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New York and Oklahoma City to pay tribute to their teacher on this great night of celebration. Although most of us now live elsewhere, for a brief, memorable time we all had lived, worked and often slept in the same spot on campus: the Art and Design Building (now Chalmers Hall) on Jayhawk Boulevard.
Beginning with the 1975 graduates, alumni shared their memories and their gratitude to Richard, who sat in the center among us with his wife, Alisa, in their home just off campus. Each person took a turn, and the stories traced Richard’s profound influence on students through 40 years of teaching. Though the details differed, each speech expressed admiration, love and gratitude. Some of us recalled their first encounter with Richard’s blunt wisdom as a one-on-one adviser. Others spoke of their first class, when his enthusiasm filled a lecture hall of eager, wide-eyed students. Others remembered his passion as a thinker, problem-solver and designer.
As the hours passed, I watched as others listened intently, smiling and nodding in recognition and agreement as fellow alumni described Richard. And then it dawned on me: These people are not strangers. I know them because their stories are also my stories. Richard is the common thread that binds us all. He shaped our thoughts and actions. On this night, in a home I had never visited, with people I had never met, I felt very much at home and connected with everyone. All of us are wired the same way. Richard taught us to apply our critical thinking and creativity with an array of methods to design solutions for all kinds of needs, wants and problems.
We also remembered that while Richard was a college professor, he was also working in the trenches of business, designing in the United States, East Asia, the Middle East and Europe. He remains a true Renaissance man and a world-renowned designer.
Of course, Richard is one of countless professors and teachers who given tirelessly and expected nothing in return, but his story is one in a million to me as my personal guide and mentor. So to Richard, on behalf of all of the KU students whose lives you touched, I thank you for wiring us to observe, think, analyze, solve, design and work as good humans, “the Richard Branham way.”
Photos courtesy of Steve Pope. Top photo: guests at Richard Branham’s retirement celebration. Bottom photo: Richard Branham (fourth from left) with former students.
Steve Pope, f’91, is founder and CEO of R2FACT Product Development in Kansas City, Missouri.
After twenty-seven years at the University of Kansas, Danny Anderson is leaving KU to become president of Trinity University in San Antonio. The experience of packing up his office provided an opportunity for the former dean of KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to reflect a little on his time upon Mt. Oread.
“With absolute clarity, I am excited and honored to become the president of Trinity University. At the same time, I have temporarily lived in a parallel emotional universe as I prepare to leave the University of Kansas.”
Sifting through presentations, papers and correspondence, Anderson, g’82, PhD’85, was allowed to take a journey frequently interrupted by a crossroads: what to shred, what to treasure and what to pass on? More often, as he shared in the College’s Learning Without Boundaries blog, his thoughts turned to the people who make KU such a special place.
“I am grateful to our graduates, our alumni. They safeguard our future. They honor our traditions. They commune with us. As dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences between 2010 and 2015, I have enjoyed the privilege of listening to their KU stories.”
In addition to teaching in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Anderson’s administrative posts during his time on campus included department chair, associate dean, vice provost for academic affairs and interim provost and executive vice chancellor. As dean of the College, he was oversaw the implementation of the new KU Core academic requirements for bachelors degrees, and he was instrumental in developing the Jayhawk Generations scholarship with KU alumni.
“Packing my office was a process of refining the substance of gratitude. As students, faculty, staff, retirees, and alumni, you have changed me, energized me, and educated me to make a difference in our world. I am grateful, I am honored, and I am a proud alumnus of the University of Kansas. When I unpack my office in San Antonio, these memories and gratitude will be welcome company. My parallel universes will again be one in focus, energy, creativity, and commitment as I begin a new role serving Trinity University.”
Rolfe joined the University in 1969 and served as chair of the department of civil and environmental engineering from 1975 to 1998. During that time, he worked closely with alumni to strengthen programs and raise funds. In July 2012 he was appointed interim dean and provided strong leadership and guidance to the engineering school.
“It has been a really fantastic 45 years. I’ve enjoyed it,” Rolfe said during a retirement celebration May 23. “My family has been supportive and it’s just been a great time.”
“Stan is one of the few people who have defined the engineering profession, so it has been a truly unique privilege to work with him,” said Adolfo Matamoros, professor of civil and environmental engineering. “Many faculty members look to him for leadership because they trust the fact that Stan will look out for them, give them advice to better their careers and to improve upon themselves.”
Rolfe earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering, all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before joining KU, he worked at U.S. Steel, serving as division chief of the material behavior division at the company’s Applied Research Laboratory in Monroeville, Pa.
The University of Kansas Trumpet Ensemble represented Kansas in the 2013 Inaugural Parade after another band had to withdraw. Kansas House Representative Barbara Ballard recommended the group to inauguration planners, and with the help of generous sponsors, including the KU Alumni Association, arrangements for the trip fell into place. With only ten days and two rehearsals to prepare, the students left Lawrence Friday for the 21-hour bus ride to the nation’s capital. Under the direction of Steve Leisring, associate professor of trumpet, the group marched along the 1.3 mile parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue, playing an arrangement of the Kansas State song, “Home on the Range.”
Photos from the parade were posted on KU’s Facebook page, and a recounting of the group’s experience appeared in the University Daily Kansan when classes resumed this week. Alumni may also remember that we featured Master Sgt. Gerry Amoury, d’86, last month on this site, where he talked about his involvement in planning the Inaugural Parade. We’re proud of our patriotic Jayhawks!
A new book by a KU faculty member chronicles the life of the man Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once called his “spiritual and intellectual father.”
KU faculty member and author Randal Jelks discussed his new book, “Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement: A Biography,” for members of the KU Black Alumni Chapter in Washington D.C. on Nov. 27. An excerpt from the book can be viewed online and was recently promoted by the Department of American Studies on Twitter (@AmericanStuKU).
In the excerpt, Jelks provides details about close relationship between Elijah Mays and Dr. King. He writes:
According to Coretta Scott King, Mays came to visit her the night of her husband’s assassination. She told him, “You know, Dr. Mays, Martin always said he wanted you to do his eulogy.” To which Mays replied, “I always wanted him to preach mine.”
Jelks continues to describe the challenging task Mays had in speaking that hot day, while juggling his own emotions and the need to calm the agitated crowd.
His eulogy was brilliant. With his impassioned words, he prodded blacks to turn their collective grief and outrage into hope for the future. The reality of the matter was that King was dead, and from that moment, the intellectual landscape that governed the civil rights movement, which Mays had powerfully influenced, would be changed.