Heather Biele’s feature story in Kansas Alumni magazine, issue No. 2, 2018, describes how the center came to be.
Turmoil on campus
In September 2014, the Huffington Post detailed the story of an anonymous KU student who accused the University, Lawrence police and the local district attorney of failing to properly respond after she reported her sexual assault.
Within days, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little assembled a task force to examine how the University prevents and responds to sexual assault.
As the 2015 spring semester came to a close, task force delivered a report to the chancellor with 27 recommendations for improvement. She approved 22 of them. One of the recommendations was the creation of a sexual assault prevention and education center.
Jennifer Brockman arrived on Mount Oread in Jaunary 2016 as the first director of SAPEC, and she embraced the significant task ahead of her. She has spent her career providing support for those affected by sexual and domestic violence. Today, she leads a staff that includes two full-time prevention educators.
This spring, SAPEC moved into a stunning new space in a coveted location—the recently completed Burge Union in the booming Central District.
Librarians Beth Whittaker and Becky Schulte lead KU Alumni Association videographer Dan Storey on a tour of Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s renovated North Gallery. As also featured in Kansas Alumni magazine’s “View to a Thrill,” the new North Gallery now includes an array of interactive displays that introduce visitors to the research library’s fascinating collections, as well as a newly framed Campanile vista that is perhaps unrivaled on Mount Oread.
Whittaker and her colleagues encourage alumni to drop by on their next campus visit and see for themselves.
“We love books,” Whittaker says, “but it’s not just books.”
The KU Alumni Association and KU Endowment welcomed more than 100 veterans, alumni, students and military family members March 13 for a donor appreciation event at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City.
Jayhawks gathered on the Paul Sunderland Glass Bridge, a stunning structure suspended over a field of 9,000 poppies, symbolic of the 9 million who perished in the war, before touring the museum and the Wylie Gallery, which currently features John Singer Sargent’s powerful masterpiece, “Gassed,” as part of a limited centennial exhibition.
University leaders attend
Several University leaders participated in the event, including Chancellor Douglas Girod, a former Naval surgeon; Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Reggie Robinson, c’80, l’87, who served in the Army; and retired Marine Corps. Col. Mike Denning, c’83, director of KU’s graduate military program and president of the Veterans Alumni Network.
Before delivering opening remarks, Denning playfully teased the crowd. “I have to admit,” he joked. “I think the Marines are probably outnumbering everybody else about five to one.”
Though Marines may have dominated the event in attendance, representatives from each branch of service turned out, including retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mike Flowers, c’77, an Alumni Association board member, and Col. Bob Ulin, g’79. Both men serve on the advisory board for the Veterans Alumni Network.
This year, KU was named the No. 5 school for veterans by the Military Times, up five spots from its top-10 ranking in 2016 and 2017. The Veterans Alumni Network has been instrumental in strengthening several resources for military students and veterans, including the Wounded Warriors Scholarship Fund, which since 2012 has provided $200,000 to military service members, veterans, primary caregivers and surviving spouses or children who want to attend KU.
“The scholarship offered me a chance to actually be a student for the first time,” said Leach, a first-generation student. “It gave me access to advisers, mentors and the opportunity to network with other veterans who had the same experiences I did while I was in the military. I’m very thankful for that.”
“As soon as you walk in there, it’s like you’re back in the service,” said JR Cadwallader, b’18, a Marine Corps veteran and past president of KU’s Student Veterans of America. “It’s like you’re at home with some of your greatest friends again.”
Chancellor Girod applauded Jayhawks for their generosity and commitment to funding programs like the Wounded Warrior Scholarship and the military-affiliated student center, emphasizing how critical these services are to military students and their families.
“You heard the students talk about how [the center] has become a core site and a home for our students—a very comforting home,” he said. “But more important, a lot of services take place in that center.”
Jeff Larkin, c’06, a Lawrence dentist who served in the Air Force, attended the event with his wife and daughter. He was pleased to learn his alma mater had established itself nationally as a top-ranking institution for military students and veterans.
Your support and dedication are helping us gain momentum in several vital areas as we work to build a more relevant, effective Alumni Association that increases the value of the KU degree.
I believe our long-term success depends on our ability to prepare current students to become the next generation of Jayhawk alumni leaders. Our investments in the Student Alumni Network, in partnership with KU Endowment, more than doubled student membership last fall. With more than 3,000 members, we are well on our way to building the country’s biggest student network—a large, captive audience!
More important, we are in the early stages of providing students meaningful ways to tap into the powerful Jayhawk network around the globe, with technology that connects them to mentors, internships and discussions with industry leaders. We are building a stronger network for all students who are willing to invest time in these opportunities, and we are teaching them about the many way sin which alumni volunteer leadership and philanthropy helped create this world-class university.
Our goal is simple. When students walk down the Hill at Commencement and official join the alumni network, we want them to feel the Alumni Association added real value to their lives through alumni and career connections. We also want them to deeply appreciate and understand their responsibility as Jayhawks to ensure that KU remains a premier university. Our message to them: Join the Alumni Association, be a mentor, hire a Jayhawk, volunteer, give back and help strengthen your alma mater.
Cheers to 2018, and Rock Chalk!
—Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, president of the KU Alumni Association
This message also appeared in issue no. 1, 2018, of Kansas Alumni magazine, a bi-monthly publication mailed to members of the KU Alumni Association. Members can also log in to read the full version online. For more information about membership, visit www.kualumni.org/join.
Rod Ernst, third-generation owner of the iconic downtown Lawrence hardware store Ernst & Son, died Jan. 23, the store announced today on its Facebook page. Ernst is the subject of a feature story in the current issue of Kansas Alumni. He was 84.
Ernst began working summers at 12 and became a full partner in 1961. For many years the three generations worked side by side in the Mass Street store, which Philip Ernst Sr. opened in 1905.
“The store was what he did, and he did it to the very end,” said Gregg Anderson, ’81, who began working for Rod Ernst as a KU student and returned to work part-time at the store after a long career in the hardware industry. “He could have retired and sold out, but he chose to keep doing his family’s work.”
Anderson added that Ernst’s definition of “family” was expansive; it took in employees past and present, including the dozens of KU students he hired over the decades.
“It was a foot up for kids who wanted to go to school. If you had a big test, Rod had no problem with you sitting at the front desk looking at notes between customers, and he took an interest in what you were doing,” Anderson said. “A lot of them never lost contact; they’re still part of the hardware family.”
Visitation will be from 2 to 4 Sunday, Jan. 28, at Warren-McElwain funeral home in Lawrence, and the funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 29, at First United Methodist, 10th and Vermont.
Read Steven Hill’s feature about Ernst for Kansas Alumni magazine below.
Learn more about the award-winning Kansas Alumni magazine, mailed bi-monthly to members of the KU Alumni Association. Members can log in to read the full version of the magazine. Free preview articles are available here.
Driven by their love for the game, a group of dedicated sports club athletes is leading a hockey resurgence at KU.
Yo juego hockey.
When his Spanish teacher asked students to introduce themselves to a classmate, Andy McConnell turned to an unknown guy seated nearby and said, en español, “I play hockey.”
When he arrived at KU, McConnell immediately sought out the men’s ice hockey club team. What he found here was not good. There were no prospects for the sport’s return, until McConnell heard his classmate’s reply:
Yo juego hockey.
McConnell closed out his playing career two years ago and has since volunteered his time as the club’s head coach.
Find out how KU’s ice hockey club team was reborn in Chris Lazzarino’s cover story for issue no. 1, 2018, of Kansas Alumni magazine.
For more information about the award-winning Kansas Alumni magazine, click here.
A Tylosaurus proriger specimen, essentially a sea monster with giant teeth, was installed. It preyed on sea turtles, so staff members came up with the idea of using a fossil sea turtle that was also quarried from Kansas by a former KU student.
Visitors driving or walking past the building on Naismith Drive can see the Tylosaurus through the large glass window.
About the Earth, Energy & Environment Center
The Earth, Energy & Environment Center (EEEC) sits next to Lindley Hall and will open for classes in spring 2018. The two buildings of the EEEC—Ritchie Hall and Slawson Hall— will feature bridges to Lindley Hall and Learned Hall.
The multidisciplinary center is a collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering. It will bring together faculty, students and researchers from geology and engineering to tackle energy and environmental research.
Read more about the December installation and see pictures.
The KU Alumni Association recently mailed the latest issue of Kansas Alumni magazine to association members.
Issue six includes features about the grotesques of Dyche Hall; a hundred-year-old murder mystery solved by alumnus Bill James; and the popular sunflower fields of Grinter Farms.
Monsters of the Mind
A top-floor renovation of Dyche Hall reveals pressing needs for KU’s other mythical beasts: the grotesques that for a century have kept watch on Jayhawk Boulevard from their Natural History Museum perch.
Eroded to near-extinction, the iconic grotesques have found refuge in the Panorama as plans are pondered for their replacement.
Recognized for overall excellence by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the award-winning Kansas Alumni magazine is mailed bi-monthly to members of the KU Alumni Association. Members can log in to read the full issue online or through the KU Alumni app. Nonmembers can access a free preview article from each issue.
Can a professor’s invention turn the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria?
As a bioscience researcher at the University of Kansas, Joanna Slusky tackles one of public health’s most pressing problems: how to defeat drug-resistant bacteria and restore the healing power of antibiotics.
Slusky was awarded one of five Moore Inventor Fellowships, a three-year grant worth more than 800,000. In October, she was named the recipient of a $2.3 million New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Joanna Slusky, a KU assistant professor of computational biology and molecular biosciences who won a Moore Inventor Fellowship for her work designing a protein that could help stem antibiotic resistance, was named today as the recipient of a $2.3 million New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Slusky’s work in protein design, the subject of a cover story in the current issue of Kansas Alumni, led to her involvement in the University’s successful 2016 bid to land an $11 million, five-year NIH grant that established the KU Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE): Chemical Biology of Infectious Disease. Asked to contribute research on antibiotic resistance, Slusky turned to a protein she’d invented—dubbed S1245—and stored in a freezer in her lab. After initial tests proved encouraging, she expanded the research to focus on E. coli bacteria with funding from the $825,000 Moore Fellowship.
The New Innovator Award, part of the NIH’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, supports exceptionally creative early career investigators who propose innovative, high-impact projects. Slusky says the grant will allow her to expand her focus from E. coli to other bacterial infections which have similar methods of antibiotic resistance.
“The Moore project is really focused on, ‘Let’s make something,’” Slusky says. “The way that this New Innovator Award is structured, it gives me the ability to really explore the science that’s causing this to happen, so that we can use it potentially for other things as well. The science behind this kind of protein-protein interaction should be useful for other inventions that would be against antibiotic resistance, specifically other inventions that might be useful for other types of bacteria, for other types of antibiotic resistance that we could expand into.”
The increasing resistance of harmful bacteria to antibiotic drugs is a growing problem worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 2 million people in the United States become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and 23,000 die from these infections. Worldwide, the death toll from drug resistance in illnesses such as bacterial infections, malaria, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis is 700,000. A 2014 British study projected that by 2050 10 million people will die each year because of increasing resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs, surpassing the death rate from cancer.
The scientists behind that study also compiled a list of the 10 most dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and Slusky has theorized that six of the 10 should be susceptible to a protein like S1245. “So far, with the Moore work, we’ve only been playing with one of the six,” Slusky says. “Now we can say, let’s try to generalize this so that we could see if we can impact six of ten.”
Can a professor’s invention turn the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria? Read “The Protein in the Freezer,” a feature story on Joanna Slusky’s research from Kansas Alumni magazine, issue no. 5, 2017.