Posted on Jan 30, 2015 in Campus News and News
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.