Many times, members of our alumni network find themselves engaging with one another in a way that promotes personal and professional engagement. Glen Collins, c’98 , wasted no time after leaving KU to start his career as a marketing professional.
Now the marketing director and partner for Switch in Dallas, Collins sees the value of his KU experience weaving into his everyday work. Switch offers strategy, branding and digital assistance for a variety of companies: American Heart Association, Coyote Grills, Country Club Plaza, Maggiano’s Little Italy and Vim + Vigor to name a few.
We caught up with Collins to find out more about how he came to be a partner at Switch.
Tell us a little bit about your experience as a student at KU: things you were involved in, your favorite professor, your favorite traditions.
My experience at KU can be summed up in one word: transformative. The relationships, education, culture, the Midwest, Lawrence, the fraternity, live music and the cult religion that is KU basketball. It ran through my veins, and still does.
Growing up in Dallas, I knew very little about KU. Fortunately, the fraternity I joined, FIJI, on-ramped me quite well. My favorite experiences included directing Rock Chalk Revue, working at a brand new store called Hobbs on Mass Street, enjoying live music at Liberty Hall and The Bottleneck. But it’s all the filler in between that was the greatest—making friends from all over the country, reading the University Daily Kansan before class, and having awesome exchanges with professors and teaching assistants. I loved every minute of it. I had too much fun my sophomore year, and my GPA slipped so much my parents made me come home for a semester to straighten up. It was the best thing for me. I worked to save up enough money to go back, and it made me appreciate just how great it was. I never took KU for granted after that, and while I didn’t make the Dean’s List, my grades were significantly better until I graduated.
How did you meet your business partner, and how did that lead to your company?
I met my business partner, Kimi Dallman, through a friend I met at KU. That friend was Matt Dallman c’01, a great guy who was a few years younger than me in my fraternity. Matt and I originally bumped into one another at a KU Alumni Association watch party, then soon after that at an alumni happy hour. We were catching up on life and business, and he suggested that I connect with his wife, who was in a similar career as mine.
At the time, my company was a marketing consultancy supporting small to medium-sized businesses. Kimi’s company, originally Switch Creative, was a design firm focused on branding and web. A week or two later we all had lunch, and Kimi and I immediately connected and discovered the means to support each other’s businesses. We worked together for six or eight months on a number of successful projects before we started talking about merging our shops. A few months later, we merged and have grown more and more ever since. At the time of our merger, Switch had five total employees. Currently we have sixteen employees and have merged with another interactive development shop, Good Work, to grow our service offering even more.
We have had a blast running Switch, and KU is central to core of our business — both consciously and subconsciously. We’ve hosted multiple March Madness watch parties at the office, with the bell cow being Switch Sixteen (a pre-party/pep rally) that preceded KU’s sweet sixteen game in Dallas in 2013.
How do you stay connected to KU as an alumnus living in Dallas?
Fortunately I have several very close friends that I met at KU that live in the DFW area. The KU bond is real, and we often seek each other out. My best friend married a Jayhawk. One of my other best friends is on the alumni board and is very plugged in to the alumni events (watchers, happy hours, coffees). I attend as much as I can. Honestly, I would have to try to not brush up against KU friends past and present these days. And I like it that way. A lot.
What advice do you have for current KU students and graduates?
Never take it for granted. KU is a special place with a heartbeat all it’s own. It’s authentic and pure, and the relationships you develop there reflect that purity and authenticity.
For existing students: Enjoy all aspects of KU and Lawrence: slugging to class in the cold; the pageantry of game days; Day on the Hill; and the live music of Lawrence. Get a job if you can — I worked in restaurants, as an intramural referee and in a retail store. Those relationships are so meaningful to me as I was transforming from student to graduate and professional.
For graduates: Lean on the KU network. The trust tree is strong, and the reception is always warm and comfortable. Jayhawks look after Jayhawks — they really do. Seek out the community. You’re gonna watch KU hoops somewhere, so you might as well go to a watch party and do the Rock Chalk chant with strangers. Eventually some of those strangers will become relationships that are more than basketball buddies.
Tell us a little bit about the recent Dallas Network breakfast and what alumni can expect when they attend a KU event.
The Dallas Network breakfast is great. It’s very intimate and casual. You can expect to meet Jayhawks from a variety of different places, ages and careers. Often one or two Jayhawks are singled out to share their story, and specifically their business background. It’s a great time on a relational and business networking level. It will invariably lead to spin-off meetings, lunches, etc. Don’t miss it.
Rock Chalk Revue brings together a variety of students, and sometimes, sparks fly.
Tim, f’00, and Gina McCabe, b’02 are living examples of this. Tim met Gina 16 years ago at a Rock Chalk Revue practice. Gina was a lead actress, and Tim was a lead actor. The rest was history. Tim and Gina were married on June 19, 2004 in Kansas City.
Sixteen years later, two children and one on the way, Tim and Gina have enjoyed their lives as new parents. That’s why Tim put his creative noggin’ to artistic use to create an anniversary video so that his kids will come to learn the story of how their parents met.
We caught up with Tim about his video in this Q&A:
What kind of skills went into the creation of this video?
Well I’ve learned that the art of storytelling is most important. I knew my family would always enjoy being able to watch the story of how Gina and I met at KU. From there it was a matter of painting, drawing, and animating a fun take on our first years together.
How did your children react to the video?
My daughter likes the KU scenes, and the funnier parts like when Dad drives the wrong way to the hospital when Mom is in labor. My son especially likes the scene where he shows up at the end. We are excited to welcome a new baby boy in May, so I suppose I’d better get back to the drawing board with a few additional scenes.
Do you and your family have any lasting connections with Rock Chalk Revue?
Aside from our own marriage, we have lots of lasting friendships from Rock Chalk Revue. A few Architecture friends and I worked hard on the sets for our shows when we were in college. I got to dabble in welding and carpentry… skills I now utilize more as a homeowner than as a digital artist.
Have you gained any attention for the video?
Actually, I made the video two years ago for our anniversary and shared it on Facebook. Recently a friend asked if he could feature it in a series he was doing for his congregation at Heartland Community Church in Olathe. It has helped resurface the video again, and now I’m excited that people are seeing it in time for the next Rock Chalk Review.
What have you been up to after leaving the University?
I am a senior artist at CardFool.com, where you can personalize and send funny greeting cards. You can add your own photo to a birthday card from your computer or social media accounts, and the card then gets printed and sent to your recipient. (Oh… and the postage is free!)
How did your KU experience prepare you for your career?
I’ve been able to utilize all of the skills I learned at KU in my career. Every time you work on a new project, you enter in to the creative process which is what a Fine Arts Degree prepares you for. However, some of my favorite classes were outside of the Art Department, because I have a wide variety of interests.
How would you describe your experience at KU — favorite memories?
I believe there was a real purpose for why I went to KU. I met my wife, made lifelong friends, and got a great sense of family there. Lawrence will always have a special place in our hearts.
A University of Kansas sorority house was recognized by the City of Lawrence as a historical landmark this week.
Members of the Chi Omega sorority filed an application with the City of Lawrence last February to nominate the chapter’s house, 1345 West Campus Rd., for designation as a landmark on the Lawrence Register of Historic Places.
City staff recommended approval of the designation, and the Lawrence City Commissioners unanimously voted at their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12, to add the structure to the register.
Listing on the local register helps preserve resources important to Lawrence’s history; a primary goal of the Historic Resources Commission is to build a register of properties which show the diversity and growth of Lawrence since its inception.
Alpha Kappa Alpha, KU’s first historically black sorority, held its centennial celebration earlier this month. The Delta Chapter was originally chartered Feb. 15, 1915. Audrey Lee, j’76, g’78, reflected on the festivities, which included events for current and alumnae members of the sorority as well as for the general public.
“We came to KU. Saw a Sorority. It was the AKAs. And they looked good to me.”
Those words, sung by the sorority sisters who pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha in the 1970s, brought back memories and a lot of bonding during our sorority’s reunion Feb. 13-15 in Lawrence. Not everybody knew each other when we arrived on campus for the Centennial Celebration, but it was like Six Degrees of Alpha Kappa Alpha. We were all connected through one another. It was great.
I stepped out of my car and immediately called out someone’s name who pledged four years after me. As I walked in the door, a young sorority sister asked if I knew her mother. Of course, her mother had pledged with me. It was a time of renewing friendships and making new friends. While posting on Facebook, I got a message from a sister in Kentucky who let me know that one of the women in my picture was one of her best friends. That was amazing.
Katherine Idelburg, who pledged in 1949, was the most golden of the sisters there. It was impressive to see the women in pledged in the 1950s who came back and all still have a strong bond with one another. They told us the stories of living in the sorority house. When I pledged in 1974, we no longer had a house. Each generation had their stories to tell, and each generation had their own strolls and chants to perform.
During the weekend, we reviewed the history with the representatives from University Archives. We raised funds for the Willow Domestic Violence Center and dedicated a bench on campus. We were greeted at a gala by KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. Our featured speaker was the AKA Mid-Western Regional Director Jan M. Carpenter-Baker.
It was exciting. I had a friend drive me around campus and stop so I could take pictures of Strong Hall and the Campanile. The campus has grown so much and is so beautiful—just as beautiful as my ladies of the pink and green.
Pictured above: Members of the Delta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Golden Sorors and Madam Regional Director making service donations to Willow Domestic Violence Center.
KU’s 102nd Homecoming celebration will take place Sept. 21-27 of this year, and we thought it would be fun to share photos and stories from past Homecomings to help get alumni, students and fans excited. So, we’re participating in the internet meme Throwback Thursday, a popular trend on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram where users post old pictures of themselves.
For many years it was a tradition for the Homecoming football game to be played against the Missouri Tigers, and that was the case for Homecoming 1953. Members of the Delta Gamma sorority decorated their lawn, taking inspiration from the well-established rivalry: “Mi-Zoo Tiger: Our Biggest Catch.”
Unfortunately, the Jayhawks were not victorious in 1953, losing to the Tigers 6-10.
Image courtesy of University Archives and the Kenneth Spencer Research Library.
Check back next week for another look at KU’s rich tradition of Homecoming! We’d love to see your Homecoming pictures and hear your stories. Submit them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tag your pictures with #kuhomecoming on Twitter or Instagram.