This is the first year of an effort to reach Jayhawks throughout Kansas by bringing the best of KU to their hometowns. The tour has visited Leavenworth, McPherson, Hays, Manhattan, Garden City and Pittsburg and has featured several KU guests, including athletic directors and coaches, campus administrators and Alumni Association staff.
“More than 150,000 KU graduates and former students live in Kansas,” says Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, Alumni Association president. “It’s a priority for us to connect with these Jayhawks in their communities to show our appreciation for their dedication and support.”
Speakers at the events shared sentiments of a positive trajectory for the University. Peterson reminded the crowd that total enrollment has grown for the fifth straight year. Matt Baty, d’07, senior associate athletics director, praised the relationship between Kansas Athletics and the Alumni Association, calling it “one of the best in the entire country.”
Future stops include the annual KU Alumni Invitational at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, along with a Salina event Monday, June 25. Chancellor Doug Girod and Head Basketball Coach Bill Self will headline an impressive group of Jayhawk leaders.
It’s easy to follow along with Hawks & Highways! Follow us on Instagram for stories from the events, or follow us on Twitter for updates. The Williams Education Fund Twitter account also provides information about Hawks & Highways.
On Friday, September 22, Kansas Athletics and the Williams Education Fund launched Raise The Chant, a $350-million fundraising campaign, focused primarily on a major renovation of Memorial Stadium.
University of Kansas Chancellor Doug Girod and Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger presented renderings of the multi-million dollar project, lead by a $50 million pledge from Kansas alumnus and benefactor David Booth, c’68, g’69.
The Booth gift will launch facility improvements with the construction of an indoor football practice facility immediately following the 2017 season. Improvements to the south end zone and the west side of the stadium will follow after the completion of the 2018 season, with enhancements to the north end zone and the stadium’s east side to begin later.
“In listening to Sheahon’s vision of many years,” Booth said, “and believing in where Coach Self’s program is and where Coach Beaty’s program is headed, I am proud to support my alma mater’s athletic program. I believe Sheahon’s plan for football and basketball is essential not only to the future of Kansas Athletics, but also to the university as a whole.”
“The Raise The Chant campaign, with its primary focus on football, addresses an institutional priority for the University of Kansas,” Chancellor Girod said. “A competitive football program benefits the entire university and is important for KU to continue being a strong member of the Big 12 Conference. In recent years, we have transformed the university with nearly $1 billion in new and renovated facilities, and this is the next step in that transformation. I have the utmost confidence in Sheahon and believe we have the right people at the right time for this campaign.”
The campaign continues a trend of rapid growth in athletic facilities, including soccer, track and field, softball and tennis at Rock Chalk Park, and the construction of the DeBruce Center, home of the original rules of basketball, and McCarthy Hall, where the men’s basketball team and other students reside.
Also announced as part of the campaign was a $10 million pledge from volleyball benefactor Stewart Horejsi, b’59, and his family, to build a new, 3,000 arena for the defending Big 12 volleyball champions. Baseball’s long-time home, Hoglund Ballpark, is also in line for renovations and improvements during the “Raise the Chant” campaign.
“We want to extend a heartfelt thanks to our generous donors,” Zenger continued, “in particular David Booth, and Stewart Horejsi and his family. They, once again, have not only bought in to our vision of what Kansas Athletics can be, but also have actively participated in that vision. We appreciate very much the leadership they have shown, and we are confident that others will follow their lead and help make that vision a reality. I’d also like to express our appreciation to Dale Seuferling and the KU Endowment Association for its leadership as we embark on this important campaign.”
When Bill French ran for president during his junior year at KU, he pledged that the Class of 1977 would bestow a gift upon the University. “At that time, I had no idea what the gift was going to be or what kind of money we had,” he says with a laugh. “It was one of those platform promises you make and then you hope you’ll have some money to give a gift the size of a bouquet of flowers.”
Turns out, the Class of 1977 had more in its budget than expected. With the help of the other class officers and Jeff Millikan, gift chairman, French identified $1,000 that could be used toward a University gift. “We knew that the KU Athletics Hall of Fame was just getting started,” he says. “I suggested we look at a major assist for it.”
French, j’77, and Millikan, c’77, g’80, met with KU’s Athletic Director Clyde Walker to discuss a gift that would help the newly established hall of fame. “At that time, they just had some posters up,” French recalls. “I said, ‘We’ve only got $1,000, but I’ll get the right media involved with this. We’ll have a picture, we’ll run a story, we’ll have a big check made.’”
French put out the word, and several area newspapers picked up the story, including the Kansas City Star, the Lawrence Journal-World and the Wichita Eagle.
“Clyde Walker later told me that the Class of 1977’s gift and associated news stories really helped the KU Athletic Hall of Fame with their fundraising efforts,” says French.
The Hall of Fame has expanded over the years, and in 2006, the Booth Family Hall of Athletics opened on the east side of Allen Field House, thanks to more than $5 million in gifts from the children and grandchildren of the late Gilbert and Betty Booth. Following an expansion in 2009, the sprawling, 19,335-square-foot sports shrine now features interactive exhibits and a basketball championship trophy case—not to mention a plaque that recognizes the Class of 1977 for its generous gift 40 years ago.
“It’s really grown into a big deal,” says French. “I’m very glad that our class was able to be a part of kicking it off.”
Image courtesy Bill French. Pictured from left to right: Stephan Van Kepple, Dorothy Schloerb, Chancellor Archie Dykes, Clyde Walker, Randy Brown, Bill French, Jeff Millikan, Marianne Maurin, Carol Smith and Fred Knuth
Sunny skies and soaring temps made for a near-perfect day as about 300 graduating students dropped by the Adams Alumni Center May 5 for Grad Grill. The annual event was presented by the Alumni Association and HERE Kansas, a new apartment community on the Lawrence campus.
Students mingled with friends throughout the evening and enjoyed free food and fresh brews, courtesy of Hy-Vee and Free State Brewing Company. The KU Bookstore and Kansas Athletics were also on hand with coupons, gift-card giveaways, and free posters, koozies, license-plate frames and sunglasses. Local DJ Scott Simpson kept things lively with the latest pop tunes and students took turns capturing not-so-candid moments in the photo booth.
Scott Bagley, a senior from Overland Park, stopped by to grab some food and socialize before diving into finals preparation. “A few good friends from high school are going to be here,” he said. “I’m hoping to see them.”
Yee Ming Khaw and Puteri Ahmad, seniors from Malaysia, and Katie Morales, a senior from Emporia, hit Grad Grill before going out for more Stop Day celebrations. “It’s Friday night,” said Ahmad. “It’s one of the last Friday nights before Commencement.”
The KU School of Business, the Langston Hughes Center and KU Athletics hosted “The Power of Sport: A Conversation on Business, Race and Sports” last week at the University of Kansas.
The event featured a panel discussion with former KU student-athletes, including former KU women’s basketball and WNBA player Tamecka Dixon, and former KU track athlete and Olympic gold medalist, Billy Mills. Shawn Alexander, associate professor and graduate director of African & African-American studies and director of the Langston Hughes Center moderated the discussion.
Following the panel discussion, sports sociologist and professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, Harry Edwards delivered the keynote address to a crowded ballroom in the Kansas Union. Edwards has consulted on diversity issues for the MLB, NBA and NFL. He is the author of numerous articles and four books focusing on issues of race and sports.
The event’s organizer, Shawn Alexander, anticipated the conversation would attract strong interest from the KU community.
“Sport is a microcosm of society that allows us to talk about many issues, including corporate power, race, gender, homophobia, urban planning, health and labor,” Alexander said. “For the past two years, KU has been at the forefront of this discussion with its annual symposium.”
Last year’s event, featuring The Nation’s sports editor and author Dave Zirin, was live streamed by the KU Alumni Association, and the video can be watched here or on the Association’s YouTube channel. New York Times sports columnist and author William Rhoden delivered the inaugural keynote address in 2015.
This year’s event was co-sponsored by the KU Alumni Association, the Office of the Provost, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the K Club and the KU departments of African & African-American Studies; Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences; Sociology; and Political Science.
The event was free but registrations filled up quickly. A full rebroadcast of the event is available below and at kualumni.org/powerofsport. It can also be viewed on the Association’s YouTube channel. Alumni can follow the discussion on Twitter by searching the hashtag #KUracesports.
Sarah Deer, a graduate of the KU School of Law, represented over 100 women’s organizations as interested parties in the Dollar General v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw INdians U.S. Supreme Court case. Deer, c’96, l’99, co-authored an amicus brief on the proceedings. Read full article
Greg Krentzman, who was visiting Nice with his wife and daughter, was injured in the terrorist attack on Bastille Day. Krentzman, c’87, shared his story from the hospital where he is recovering. He currently lives in California. Read full article
Judge Patricia Macke Dick, l’81, was elected president of the Kansas District Judges’ Association, an organization open to all state district court judges. She is the chief judge of the 27th judicial district, a one-county district made up of Reno County where she has served as judge since 1989. Read full article
Sasha Kaun, e’08, is one of only two KU basketball players to win an NCAA title (2008), NBA title (2016) and medal in the Olympic games (2012). He recently decided to retire from professional basketball at the age of 31. Read full article
Tommy Bobo, f’06, is an artist, non-profit IT consultant and adjunct professor. He graduated from KU with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Expanded Media. In this post, Bobo shares about his research and creative experience at KU and the most important thing he learned in school. Read full article
Matt Baty was named Associate Athletics Director for Williams Education Fund, Marketing & Sales on Thursday. Baty, d’07, was an All-Big 12 Conference centerfielder, and he returns to the Hill after serving as the general manager of the Wichita Sports Forum. Read full article
On Feb. 18, the KU Alumni Association co-sponsored “The Power of Sport: A Conversation on Business, Race and Sports,” presented by the KU School of Business, the Langston Hughes Center and Kansas Athletics. The second annual event featured a panel discussion with former KU student-athletes Ernie Shelby, f’59, Lisa Braddy, ’92, and Wayne Simien, c’05, moderated by Shawn Leigh Alexander of the Langston Hughes Center. Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation magazine, provided the keynote address.
Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and alumni attended the event held in the Kansas Union ballroom, and alumni all across the country watched the conversation streamed live online at kualumni.org/powerofsport. Several current Jayhawk student-athletes were spotted in the audience, including the entire KU men’s basketball team. The evening’s conversation spilled over onto social media, as #KUracesports became a trending topic in the area on Twitter.
The entire event is available to watch below or on YouTube. The KU Alumni Association was proud to partner with the KU departments of African & African-American Studies; Health, Sport & Exercise Sciences and K Club in supporting this important KU event.
The event begins at the 13:05 mark with a welcome from Dr. Sheahon Zenger, KU director of athletics. –David Johnston
Whether it was in the midst of Budig 320 or over a crunchy chicken cheddar wrap at the Market, hanging out on Wescoe Beach or at a network watch party years later, countless Jayhawks owe their marriage to their time on the Hill. We’re sharing some of our favorite stories this week in anticipation of Valentine’s Day on Saturday, Feb. 14.
Ashley (Schlotzhauer) Thornton, d’07, and Justin (JT) Thornton, c’10.
Ashley, advertising manager for Kansas Athletics and a former KU cheerleader, shared the story of how walking down the Hill led to walking down the aisle.
How did we meet? Well it’s true…we met at a bar, Johnny’s Tavern North. We even held our wedding rehearsal dinner upstairs!
When we first met, Justin (JT) was a red-shirt freshman on the Kansas football team. I was in my senior year and was a KU cheerleader—yes, everyone teases us about the football player/cheerleader combo! We dated for what seemed like forever since I was four years older and all my friends were either getting engaged or married. After five years of dating, JT proposed to me at his graduation party, shortly after walking down Campanile Hill. Both of our families were there and I was 100% shocked!
We were married on March 4, 2011, which is the late Dr. Bob Frederick’s birthday. He was a dear friend and my professor at KU while I studied Health and Sport Management. Dr. Frederick was a former athletic director at KU.
We’ve been married four years in March and have two little Future Jayhawks: Isaiah, who just turned 3, and Ellis, who is 16 months old. Justin is the general manager for Centerplate, a food and beverage service that is currently the concessionaire for Kansas Athletics, and I work for Kansas Athletics in the marketing department.
It’s time to fuel the the frenzy of football season! The KU Alumni Association has partnered with KU Athletics to bring ‘Football in February’. Kansas football head coach, David Beaty and his coaching staff are flocking to Jayhawk fans across Kansas with fantastic festivities throughout February.
The 2015 Kansas ‘Football in February’ events will include a KU Signing Day Party and a Football Fan Fest in Lawrence along with stops in Hays, Hutchinson, Topeka, Kansas City and Wichita.
‘Football in February’ begins Wednesday, Feb. 4, with a Signing Day Party at Abe and Jake’s Landing in Lawrence from 5-8 p.m. Beaty and his KU coaching staff will be in attendance to meet and greet fans, as well as speak to the crowd about the newly-signed Jayhawk class. The Signing Day event is free and will include appearances by Big and Baby Jay, a photo booth and other KU promotional items.
The next stop on the ‘Football in February’ schedule is the KU Football Fan Fest Saturday, Feb. 7, in Anschutz Pavilion from 4-6:30 p.m. KU Alumni Association #ProudMembers, Williams Fund members and football season ticket holders will be admitted at 4 p.m. (with proof of membership* or ticket purchase). The doors will open at 5 p.m. for the general public.
Beaty, the coaching staff, and past and present KU football players will be in attendance at the Football Fan Fest and will be available for autographs. The event will feature a fun zone, face painter, balloon artists, the KU Band and Spirit Squads, Big and Baby Jay and much more.
Football Fan Fest will wrap up just in time for fans to move next door to Allen Fieldhouse for Kansas women’s basketball’s ‘Jayhawks for a Cure’ game against Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. The Jayhawks will don brand-new white uniforms with pink trim in honor of the event, which benefits Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the KU Cancer Center. Tickets for the ‘Jayhawks for a Cure’ game start at $5 and for every fan in attendance, a $1 will be donated to the ‘Jayhawks for a Cure’ beneficiaries. Upon entrance to Allen Fieldhouse, fans will receive pink t-shirts while supplies last.
Following the opening two events, ‘Football in February’ will tour the state of Kansas primarily for happy hour events, in addition to one luncheon in Hays. All Jayhawk alumni, fans and friends are invited to events along the tour. Beaty, members of his coaching staff and special guests from the athletics department and Alumni Association will be at every stop. Fans can pick up 2015 commemorative football items and have a chance to win autographed merchandise and tickets.
A full listing of the 2015 Kansas ‘Football in February’ event details are as follows: