For the second consecutive year, Best Western Plus West Lawrence, one of six hotel properties in the Wichita-based Hospitality Development of America portfolio, has partnered with the University of Kansas Alumni Association. The hotel, which opened in fall 2018, is adjacent to the Rock Chalk Park complex in west Lawrence and will serve as a presenting sponsor and exclusive hotel partner of KU’s 107th Homecoming, Oct. 19-26.
Best Western Plus West Lawrence also will support the Student Alumni Network and the Alumni Association’s legacy student recruitment receptions for students and parents when they visit campus this year. In addition, the hotel will provide silent auction donations for two of the Association’s largest annual fundraising events, the Rock Chalk Ball in Kansas City and the Jayhawk Roundup in Wichita, and will offer Association members an exclusive discount on hotel stays.
“Homecoming is one of KU’s greatest traditions for students and alumni, and we’re thrilled to receive support from Best Western Plus West Lawrence to make this year’s celebration the best in years,” said Heath Peterson, KU Alumni Association president. “Thanks to this partnership, the Alumni Association also will continue to provide a host of programs and services for Jayhawks on the Hill and beyond.”
“As a proud KU alumnus, I fully understand the value of working with the KU Alumni Association to showcase our Lawrence hotel property to alumni, donors, parents and fans. The Association provides creative avenues to market our hotel with our investment going directly to supporting alumni and student programs. We are excited for Best Western Plus West Lawrence to be Jayhawks’ ‘home’ when they are in town to celebrate the great tradition of KU Homecoming,” said Steve Martens, c’75, CEO of The Martens Companies and its hotel development and management subsidiaries. Martens also is a Life Member of the Alumni Association and a Presidents Club donor.
Hawkstock, the 16th annual Jayhawk Roundup, brought Wichita Jayhawks a night of peace and love in the style of Woodstock to celebrate the iconic music festival’s 50th anniversary.
The Alumni Association’s annual event invited KU lovers to a beautiful spring evening at Murfin Stables. The barn was filled with Jayhawks getting into the groove with tie-dye, fringe vests and flower crowns.
This year’s event raised nearly $65,000 for the Jayhawk Career Network. The money will help KU students, recent grads and alumni continue to grow connections on their career journeys.
“Jayhawk Roundup was a huge success thanks to the many KU alumni and fans that came to celebrate and get groovy like it was 1969,” says Danielle Lafferty Hoover, c’07, director of donor relations and Wichita programs.
Kansaw Carvings artist Dan Besco was back with his famous wooden Jayhawk carving, which was so popular at the live auction that a second one was sold to the other bidder on the spot.
Steve, c’75, a former Wintermote award winner, and Gena Gunn Dillard, ’77, served as event chairs, and David, e’75, b’75, and Janet Lusk Murfin, d’75, hosted the far-out festivities. The Source Band brought the music that kept the dance floor full all night.
For Jayhawks who missed out on the fun, our biggest event of the year is still to come: The 2019 Rock Chalk Ball is April 27 in Kansas City.
Nearly 500 KU alumni and friends gathered April 13 at Murfin Stables for the Alumni Association’s Jayhawk Roundup, the Wichita Network’s largest fundraising event, which was presented this year in partnership with Kansas Athletics and Williams Education Fund. The event, typically held in the fall, moved to spring this year for the first time in its 15-year history.
The theme for the festivities was “Game of Hawks,” a playful spin on the popular fantasy epic “Game of Thrones.” Bleached-white trees with crimson leaves lined the stables and centerpieces of swords and shields adorned each table, echoes of medieval times.
The event featured silent and live auctions, with top dollars going for a trip to the 2018 Champions Classic in Indianapolis, and the KU Libraries exhibit “Commemorate the Gr8s,” which celebrates the 1988 and 2008 men’s basketball national championship teams. Guests were also treated a feast of food and drink and live music from the band Annie Up, as well as a live carving of a Jayhawk from Kansaw Carvings artist Dan Besco.
Alumni Association President Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, thanked event chairs and stable owners Dave, e’75, b’75, and Janet Lusk Murfin, d’75, for hosting the Roundup and honored longtime Wichita volunteer and 2017 Wintermote Award winner Camille Nyberg, c’96, g’98, along with Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award winners Jerry, p’69, and Lucy Burtnett, who hosted the event in 2011 and 2012.
Chancellor Doug Girod detailed the University’s recent accomplishments in Wichita, which included the debate team’s victorious run to the national championship title and the Jayhawks’ first- and second-round wins in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which brought thousands of alumni and fans to the area in March.
Several members of Kansas Athletics also attended the Roundup, including head football coach David Beaty, men’s basketball assistant coach Kurtis Townsend and Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger, PhD’96, who was celebrating his birthday.
“We had more guests in attendance than we have had in years,” says Danielle Lafferty Hoover, c’07, director of donor relations and Wichita programs. “The fans love having University partners and KU guests in the stables—it’s like bringing a part of Lawrence to Wichita.”
Check out more pictures from Jayhawk Roundup! Photos may be downloaded for personal use. Photos from the Lamphouse Photo Booth Company can be viewed here.
As a local and national KU volunteer, Camille Bribiesca Nyberg is known for her warmth, dedication and hospitality—qualities that earned her a 2017 Dick Wintermote Volunteer of the Year Award. As her hometown Wichita Network alumni gather this week for the 15th annual Jayhawk Roundup, Alumni Association president Heath Peterson will honor Nyberg, c’96, g’98, who has contributed countless hours to the Roundup and, with her husband, Glenn, ’79, chaired the event in 2014 and 2015.
Nyberg’s guidance was critical for Danielle Lafferty Hoover, c’07, when she joined the Association staff in 2015 as assistant director of Wichita programs. “Camille was instrumental when I first began my role,” says Hoover, who is now director of donor relations and Wichita programs. “She spent a lot of time helping me get to know the other volunteers and network board members. Anyone who knows Camille would agree that she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.”
As a new KU graduate, Nyberg left her home state to live in Dallas, where she quickly became involved in the local network, helping to host alumni and athletic events and Jayhawk Generations picnics for new freshmen and their families. Her fellow alumni nominated her to serve on the Association’s National Board of Directors, which she joined in 2009. Nyberg led the Association as national chair from 2014-’15, shortly after she moved back to her hometown. Back in Wichita, she attended numerous activities in addition to the Roundup, and she hosted events for alumni mentors and Wichita North High School students through the Helpful Alumni Working for KU (HAWK) Mentor Program with KU’s Office of Admissions.
Peterson, d’04, g’09, credits Nyberg for strengthening the Wichita Network: “Camille has invested considerable time in our events. Thanks to her efforts, KU has a much more visible and active presence in the largest city in Kansas.”
Nyberg was one of three alumni in 2017 to receive the annual award named for Dick Wintermote, j’51, who served as the Association’s executive director from 1963 to 1983 and helped establish the strong Jayhawk tradition of volunteering to help alumni and current students as well as prospective Jayhawks. The other winners were Kate Feller McSwain, b’12, who leads the Dallas Network, and Brandon Petz, b’06, g’07, who leads the Lawrence Network.
About the Award
This annual award recognizes network volunteers who demonstrate extraordinary leadership to their network and the KU Alumni Association during a one-year period (July 1-June 30). An internal staff committee within the KU Alumni Association consisting of those who work closest with volunteers meets each year to decide on award winners.
In recognition of their service to Wichita-area alumni, Jerry and Lucy Burtnett will be presented with the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award, affectionately known as the “Millie” award, at Jayhawk Roundup on April 13.
Jerry, p’69, and Lucy have helped organize the Jayhawk Roundup since 2006, and they hosted the event in 2011 and 2012. KU Alumni Association president Heath Peterson thanked the Burtnetts for giving “a tremendous amount of sweat equity to Jayhawk Roundup, both serving on the volunteer committee and later as chairs of the event.”
Danielle Hoover, director of donor relations and Wichita programs, echoed Peterson’s praise, stating the Burtnetts “are some of the hardest working volunteers I have ever worked with. They’ve spent many, many hours helping set up, decorate and clean up the Murfin Stables for Jayhawk Roundup.”
“We got involved because of our local KU contacts and wanted to help,” said Jerry. “Working with our KU friends was very enjoyable and we continue to help with Roundup.”
The Burtnetts, who are Life Members of the KU Alumni Association, now split their time between Wichita and Florida.
The Burtnetts as “event chairs” at the 2011 Halloween-themed Jayhawk Roundup
About the award
The Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award was created in 1987 to thank alumni and friends for sustained volunteer service to the University at the local level. The award honors Mildred Clodfelter, b’41, who worked for the University for 47 years, including 42 at the Alumni Association.
It’s not every day you get to see Baby Jay jump out of a giant birthday gift box, start a conga line and dance with Chancellor Gray-Little and former KU basketball coach Ted Owens. But that’s exactly what awaited guests at the Jayhawk Roundup on Saturday.
The annual event, now in its 14th year, took place once again at Murfin Stables in Wichita. More than 400 Jayhawk alumni, fans and friends attended to help celebrate KU’s Sesquicentennial at the birthday-themed party.
Guests enjoyed a VIP reception where they mingled with special guests Bill Self and Ted Owens, followed by dinner and dancing to a live band. Live and silent auctions also gave Jayhawks a chance to bid on unique items, including a pair of tickets to the KU vs. Oregon State men’s basketball game at the Sprint Center, a football autographed by Steve Young and Jerry Rice, and a variety of KU-themed items.
This year’s centerpieces, custom-painted birthday boxes decked out in KU colors, were also available for purchase—just in time for holiday gift-giving!
The Jayhawk Roundup is the largest gathering of KU faithful in Wichita. Proceeds from the event help enhance alumni programs, including student recruitment, career networking and our alumni lobbying program, Jayhawks for Higher Education.
A special thank you to Jayhawk Roundup hosts Dave and Janet Murfin, event chairs Glenn and Camille Nyberg, decorations chair Chris Jeter, and our Jayhawk Benefactors: Kansas Athletics, A. Scott and Carol Ritchie, Linda and John T. Stewart III and Security 1st Title.
And to all the loyal volunteers who make this event happen every year: we couldn’t do it with you! Thank you for your dedication.
What happens when you combine 18 cases of red, white, blue, and yellow gift bows, a couple of glue guns and a fabulous group of volunteers? You get a giant display of Jayhawk spirit. Quite literally!
In early August, the decorations committee for the Jayhawk Roundup, led by decorations chair Chris Jeter, gathered at Murfin Stables to work on an oversized “bow mural.” The project will grace the corner of the arena and provide a photo background for the annual event, held on October 2, 2015, in Wichita. This year’s theme is “Happy Birthday KU,” celebrating the 150th birthday of the University of Kansas.
Members of the committee helping that day were Chris and Lori Jeter, Jim Burgess, Jerry and Lucy Burtnett, Bob and Kay Blinn, Camille Nyberg, Margaret Lafferty, Danielle Hoover, and Susan Younger.
The mural was fairly easy to create, so we wanted to share it with you so you can make your own. This technique would be perfect for a high school spirit wall, a grade school art project, or for anywhere you want to make a really big visual impact.
To start off, you will need to create your image on a grid, and if you are familiar with cross stitch embroidery, the idea is basically the same. For the Jayhawk head, the graphic was placed underneath a grid and then filled in with colored dots to bring up the pattern. The more detailed the image you wish to create, the larger the mural should be. (Each dot coordinates with the color of the bow, and gray is used here to represent white). Our mural ended up measuring approximately 6 1/2 feet tall by 11 feet wide. With a grid like this, it’s easy to determine the bow position, and the number of bows needed. The black lines running every six columns represents each mural panel, as explained in Step 2.
For our base paper, we used a brown kraft paper, and the color really helped our white bows pop. Our kraft roll is 24″ wide, so we divided the grid into the appropriate number of columns. (See black lines on the grid, indicating each column). Measure six 3-1/2 inch squares starting from the left edge, and leave the remaining 3″ to the right, so you can glue the panels together to make the complete mural. If your paper is thin, reinforce the back with packing tape. The kraft paper is surprisingly strong, but reinforcing helps strengthen the paper.
We left room for a sleeve at both the top and the bottom, and will thread a PVC pole through the sleeves to stiffen the mural and make it easier to hang. (We also left 12 inches at the top and bottom as blank space above and below the bows).
Draw out the entire grid on your paper, and then label it so you can follow the grid, such as “row 1, column 1,” “row 1, column 2,” and so on. To cut down on confusion and make the process easy for a group, use paint markers to indicate the color in each square.
Package bows work really well for this project. They’re fun and the texture adds to the effect, and in this case, the bows fit our birthday theme. We used 4″ confetti bows from Papermart, which have a variety of strong colors and great case prices.
Use a glue gun with a hot glue setting. It’s important to use hot glue, because it helps grip the fibers of the paper better. (Avoid using cold glue guns). Draw an “X” of glue in the square, and affix your bow. You don’t need to remove the paper covering the sticky pad on the back of the bow. In fact, that sticker is too weak to use, so just glue right over it. You want to make sure that you draw a large enough “X” so that the glue grips parts of the bow, and not just in the center over the sticker. Lightly smash the bow down as you glue it to make sure it grips the hot glue well. (Don’t worry, the bow will pop right back up).
Once all your panels are finished, lay them flat together to make sure your design looks right. The left side of each panel should line up with the blank space on the right side of your panel. Glue the panels together with tacky glue. When the glue is dry, reinforce the panels on the back with packing tape. If you are going to store the mural for a bit, don’t glue the panels together until you are ready to hang it, and keep the panels flat while storing them. This will help prevent warping, and cover them with plastic tarps to keep the moisture out.
And that’s all there is to it! If you would like to make your own mural of the Jayhawk, feel free to borrow our grid diagram. We’d love to see examples of your own creations, so be sure to post them on the Association’s Facebook page.
The Roundup is the largest event hosted by the KU Alumni Association in Wichita, attracting hundreds of people to Murfin Stables each year for a fun evening of dinner, dancing, live and silent auctions and KU camaraderie.
Jeff Kennedy, j’81, national chair of the Board of Directors, and Patti Gorham served as this year’s Jayhawk Roundup chairpersons, leading a committee of dedicated volunteers.
Guests enjoyed a dinner sponsored by Security 1st Title and Truffles, followed by remarks from Kevin Corbett, president; Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little; and Lynn Loveland, assistant director of Wichita programs for the Alumni Association.
The silent auction was open throughout the evening, while live bidding for items such as a one-hour ride in a Beechcraft T-6 trainer and dinner with Sheahon Zenger and John Hadl began after dinner.
Another interesting item in the auction? An 11-foot American alligator. We’re not kidding– Presidents Club member Colette Kocour, c’73, who served on the decorations committee for the Roundup, was determined to find a great item for the auction this year. She made a call to Dr. Leonard Krishtalka, director of the Biodiversity Institute and professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and his staff members found the scaly, stuffed creature.
The story was chronicled by Kocour’s hometown newspaper, the Wellington Daily News. Click here to read the full story.
After the auction ended, Jayhawks kicked up their heels (or boots) and danced to music from Monster Entertainment until midnight.
Proceeds from the Jayhawk Roundup help enhance alumni programs, including student recruitment, career networking and the alumni lobbying program, Jayhawks for Higher Education.
Stay tuned for information about next year’s event! If you are interested in becoming a sponsoring or helping with the event, contact Lynn Loveland at email@example.com or 316.293.2621.
Watch the slideshow below to see pictures from this year’s Roundup, or click here to view the photos on Flickr.