Jayhawk’s license plate disaster warrants Alumni Association assistance

Posted on Jan 2, 2019 in Alumni News and News

KU alumnus' KSU license plate | Brooke Collison | license plate humor

The KU Alumni Association receives hundreds of letters from Jayhawks across the globe, but it was an ominous note from Brooke Collison, a Corvallis, Oregon, alumnus, titled “Insidious KSU Plot” that recently caught the attention of several staffers. Curious what Collison had uncovered about our pesky neighbors to the west, we read on.

Dear KU Alums,

I am an Oregon resident where automobile license plates have three numbers, a space and three big letters. I purchased a new car last month and my new license plates have arrived. Much to my chagrin, the three letters are “KSU.” I am aghast! How can I possible drive my car with those letters emblazoned on both the front and back of my ride?

I seriously suspect there may be an alum of that other Kansas university working in the Oregon license bureau who has a warped sense of humor and has decided to play a cruel joke on me. Imagine the agony I will go through when asked for auto identification on all kinds of forms—even when checking in to an [un-named] cheap motel! And what will I do when a driver passes me and waves with enthusiasm?

Please, does the Alumni Association have a department to help victims such as myself?

Sincerely,
Brooke Collison

Though the Alumni Association doesn’t have a department dedicated to helping wrongfully persecuted Jayhawks such as Collison, we certainly couldn’t sit by and watch a fellow alumnus suffer. Tegan Thornberry, d’05, g’09, the Association’s director of marketing, membership and business development, rushed a KU license plate frame to Collison, hoping to dispel any confusion about his loyalty to KU and ease the pain of the tragic tag.

“It was nice to receive the KU Alumni Association license plate frame so that I’d have something to partially cover or correct my embarrassment of having that huge ‘KSU’ stuck on the back of my car,” says Collison, d’56, g’62, a retired professor at Oregon State University. “I figured it was the best I could do because I knew the local law enforcement folk would frown on my putting masking tape over some of the letters.”

—Heather Biele

If you’re a Jayhawk in Kansas, Texas, or Maryland, you can show your KU pride with a distinctive license plate on your vehicle. You do not have to be a member of the KU Alumni Association or a graduate of KU to have a Jayhawk license plate. Visit www.kualumni.org/license to learn more!

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Video: WWI at KU

Posted on Nov 20, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Watch the video below to see how the students and faculty of KU went into action during World War I with a series of photos from the Spencer Research Library. Read additional coverage in issue No. 6, 2018, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

One hundred years ago, the entire campus community mobilized to fight a war on two fronts: in the trenches of France and the hospitals here at home.
 

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Over Here: Mount Oread Responds to the Great War’s Call to Duty

Posted on Nov 14, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Kansas Alumni magazine issue No. 6, 2018 | World War I

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice that ended World War I, we are proud to publish a history of the war at KU that has special significance for Kansas Alumni: Evie Masterson Rapport, d’70, g’78, based her 1978 journalism master’s thesis on the war coverage she found in our predecessor publication, The Graduate Magazine. Rapport, a journalism and communications veteran in Kansas City and at KU, next spring will again present an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute course about the University’s vigorous response to the U.S. government’s dire need to prepare an army for battle.

Read more of Rapport’s stories of KU during the Great War.

Watch the video below to see how the students and faculty of KU went into action during World War I with a series of photos from the Spencer Research Library. Read additional coverage in issue No. 6, 2018, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

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ROTC instructor documents military experience with ‘Story of the Jayhawk’

Posted on Nov 11, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Michael Hayes shoots a photo of his traveling ceramic JayhawkDuring his deployment to Africa in 2011, Maj. Michael Hayes was tasked with distributing care packages from the National Guard’s family program director to his fellow soldiers. He was surprised, after about seven months, to receive a gift of his own: a grim-faced ceramic Jayhawk, which resembled the KU mascot introduced in 1941.

“I didn’t want to just set it on my desk,” recalls Hayes, c’08, an ROTC instructor and assistant professor of military science at KU. “I wanted to take pictures and send them back to her to say, ‘Look! I got it. Thank you!’ That’s how the pictures started.”

Inspired by Travelocity’s roaming gnome, Hayes took Jay on all of his deployments and work-related travel, capturing his crimson and blue companion riding in Chinooks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and overseeing troops at bases throughout the country and overseas.
Michael Hayes

As his collection of photos grew, Hayes started a Facebook page, “The Story of the Jayhawk,” to document their experiences.

Although the small figurine has been broken and repaired twice and now travels in the safety of a Styrofoam cooler, Jay shows no signs of retiring to a space on a shelf. Hayes even sends the mini mascot on journeys with other Army cadets and friends.

“Jay’s traveled more than I have,” Hayes says, “and I’ve jumped all over the place.”

—Heather Biele

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Hard Stories: Sarah Smarsh on ‘Heartland’

Posted on Oct 8, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Sarah Smarsh | Photo credit: Paul Andrews

Sarah Smarsh is out to demolish your stereotypes and assumptions. About Kansas. About the white working class. About so-called red state politics in general and the Trump Train in particular. About life in the vast American middle that she believes is too readily derided as flyover country.

In searing personal essays, pointed newspaper reportage and her first book, published Sept. 18, Smarsh challenges the flawed idea at the heart of our national identity: that America is a classless society, a meritocracy where anyone who works hard will be rewarded with a giant leap on the socio-economic ladder. By drawing on her own life growing up “below the poverty line” in southeastern Kansas, surrounded by family and friends who worked their bodies from first light to late night and still struggled to pay the bills, she has established herself as a champion of those on the losing side of the cultural divide that is economic inequality. Sarah Smarsh is, to put it plainly, calling bullshit on the American Dream.

Read more on Sarah Smarsh’s story.

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Video: Sarah Smarsh at Liberty Hall

Posted on Oct 2, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Watch the video below to hear alumna Sarah Smarsh at her book reading and talk at Lawrence’s Liberty Hall. Read additional coverage in issue No. 5, 2018, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

Hard Stories

Journalist Sarah Smarsh, c’03, j’03, brought her 12-city book tour for Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth to Lawrence’s Liberty Hall Sept. 25. The southeastern Kansas native discussed the role education—including her time at KU—played in her drive to escape poverty while remaining true to the place she calls home.

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Hip-hop artist delivers ‘school is cool’ message

Posted on Aug 18, 2018 in Alumni News and News

MaQuishia "Cue" Wright | photo by Steve Puppe for Kansas Alumni magazine | Cue Wright
Cue Wright hopes to one day retire from a successful music career and return to KU as a hip-hop professor. “Helping people,” she says, “is what I really like to do.” The following profile originally appeared in issue No. 3, 2018, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

On Feb. 4, 2017, a new Cue Wright was born. Already having earned two KU degrees and in the early days of a promising career in higher education, Wright shed her naturally shy self and stepped onto the outdoor stage at Mass Street’s Replay Lounge as the hip-hop artist Cuee.

And slayed.

“I knew I could write raps,” says Wright, j’15, g’17, “but I didn’t know I could perform as well as I did.”

A Chicago native, Wright was coaxed into a campus visit by her mother’s longtime employer, “Uncle” Gale Sayers, d’75, g’77. Front-row seats to a basketball game didn’t hurt, but it was Mount Oread that stole Wright’s heart.

Memories of that day are valuable tools in her current part-time job as senior coordinator of student ambassadors. When she meets with prospective students, Wright uses her story to help others write their own.

“I always channel that with my out-of-state students,” she says. “They’re thinking, ‘Why am I at Kansas?’ Well, go out on this campus and let it fill you.”

Finding her way

Wright arrived as a civil engineering major, but felt lost. Her mother asked what she was doing outside of class, to which Wright responded, “Nothin’.”

Wright switched her major to journalism, found her way to KJHK and eventually became director of hip-hop programming. Shortly before winter break of her senior year, her J-School adviser noted her “people-person” personality and suggested she consider a student affairs role in higher education. That required a master’s degree, yet another unknown for Wright, but she dove in. Soon her advanced studies were wearing her thin.

“I need an outlet. I need an other. I need something else. And so I started writing rap. Everything I’m doing is self-taught, but luckily I love to learn.”

Encouraged by family and friends, Wright in 2017 released “Master’s Cap,” in which six songs each explore a year of her college experience.

“My thing is,” she says, “school is cool. I love school. I’m a nerd.”

Wright’s current mixtape, “Shameless,” which she’s dropping online throughout 2018, displays her growth as an artist, both in writing skills (My life is a tornado/The haters all around me, everything will be OK, though) and emotional maturity that “lets the world know who I am.” Her success led to a busy summer schedule in Lawrence and Kansas City, including a prominent gig at the Middle of the Map Fest at Crown Center.

“Pursuing hip-hop in Lawrence has been different. They put me on a lot of alternative shows, and the audience sees this hip-hop opener and it’s totally different than what they’ve signed up for. The rewarding part is when they say, ‘Now I’m a hip-hop fan.’

“I take the blank stares as a challenge, and I love challenges.”

—Chris Lazzarino

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VIDEO: Front and Center

Posted on Jul 20, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Kansas Alumni magazine, issue No. 4, 2018 | Central District

A finger-snap ago, Central District was nothing more robust than an artist’s rendering, a wish list, part of a master plan for what our beloved campus could one day be, how it should live and breathe and teach and embrace, for the next half-century or more.

Less than two years later—“We tried to build it as fast as we could,” said one project architect—and this thing is done.

Or, if not done, close to it, at least for now, and all those fears we might have silently nursed about too much, too soon? Park them. The newly christened Central District—40-plus acres of mostly empty or under-utilized space bordered by Allen Field House, Oliver Hall, 19th Street, Daisy Hill and Irving Hill Road—is suddenly a vibrant center of student life, faculty research and science education.

Read more in the cover feature of issue No. 4, 2018, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

WATCH:

University architect Jim Modig, a,’73, and former University architect, Warren Corman, e’50, guide a tour of KU’s Central District. The Integrated Science Building is the focal point, but it’s joined by new student housing, parking, a new Burge Union, and a utility plant.

 

TIMELAPSE:

Watch a two-minute timelapse video of the Central District under construction.

 

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VIDEO: Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Hutchinson

Posted on Jul 20, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Watch the videos below to learn more about the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center (KLETC). Read additional coverage in issue No. 3, 2018, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

Training approach

The Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Hutchinson, a division of KU Professional & Continuing Education, trains the majority of municipal, county and state law enforcement officers—more than 400 in basic training or related programs and nearly 10,000 in continuing education annually. Watch as Gary Warner, a 28-year law enforcement veteran and KLETC instructor, explains the weeklong firearms training course and how the center takes a building-blocks approach to ensure all officers learn proper gun handling and safety skills.

 

Ed Pavey retires

Plus, hear from longtime director Ed Pavey, who retired in June after leading the center for nearly 25 years, and Darin Beck, who succeeds Pavey as KLETC’s new executive director.

 

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Voices spur change | Kansas Alumni magazine

Posted on Mar 23, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Kansas Alumni magazine, issue No. 2, 2018 | KU's Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center SAPEC

Responding to crisis, KU’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center (SAPEC) has forged an innovative sexual assault prevention and awareness program that draws heavily on student input.

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.

Game-changer

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.

READ:

 

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