Thousands of Jayhawks made the trip to Corinth Square to celebrate a new school year and football season at the 14th annual KU Kickoff, presented by the KU Alumni Association and Kansas Athletics.
Brian Hanni, the voice of the Jayhawks, hosted the event. KU Alumni Association president Heath Peterson, Chancellor Doug Girod, athletics director Jeff Long and head football coach Les Miles all spoke to the Kansas City crowd, thanking them for their continued support of the University and inviting them to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium for the 2019 football season, beginning with Indiana State on Aug. 31.
Nearly 550 Jayhawks gathered April 27 to celebrate the University of Kansas at the 24th-annual Rock Chalk Ball, which is hosted by the Alumni Association and the Greater Kansas City Network.
Local news anchor John Holt, j’81, l’84, and digital reporter Crystle Lampitt, c’10, served as emcees. KU head football coach Les Miles and his wife, Kathy, were honorary chairs of the event.
The Bartle Hall red carpet was filled with KU friends, fans and alumni posing for pictures before moving into the Grand Ballroom for dinner. The evening festivities also included live music and silent and live auctions, which raised nearly $110,000 and featured a wooden Jayhawk carving from Kansaw Carvings artist Dan Besco, a trip to Greece, a ride in Crown Toyota’s Jayhawk car and a KU T-shirt quilt.
Thank you to the event’s title sponsor, Intrust Bank, and the presenting sponsors— Charlie Hustle, KJO Media and Gohagan and Company— for their contributions to this year’s ball.
Official photos from the event, courtesy of Steve Puppe, are available here and may be downloaded for personal use. If you attended this year’s Rock Chalk Ball, we’d love to have your feedback—please complete our survey.
Every year, Jayhawks show Kansas City how to put on a party. This year was no different.
The 24th annual Rock Chalk Ball, “Always a Jayhawk,” featured John Holt, j’81, l’84, and Crystle Lampitt, c’10, as hosts. Head football coach Les Miles and his wife, Kathy Miles, served as honorary chairs. Funds raised at this year’s event will support the Jayhawk Career Network, which has already created incredible lifelong connections among students and alumni.
Check out some of our favorite posts from a special night in Kansas City.
Thank you to @INTRUSTBank, the Title Sponsor of this year’s event.
“We are excited to expand our partnership to support the great tradition of #RockChalkBall in Kansas City.” – Beth Easter, KU alumna and INTRUST Bank commercial relationship manager pic.twitter.com/6H5iwBhcCK
The Jayhawk Bookstore closed for good in 2016, leaving a prominent corner in Lawrence unoccupied. (Jayhawks everywhere surely remember the bookstore’s jingle: “At the top of the Hill.) With renovations complete, the building just west of the Chi Omega fountain and across the street from the EEEC is now open for business.
Textbooks, paper, and Jayhawk sweatshirts have given way to coffee, pastries, salads, sandwiches, and beers at McLain’s Market. The Kansas City-based small business also has a store in Overland Park, and the original McLain’s Bakery has operated in Kansas City since 1945.
The market opened April 9 and already is a popular hangout for KU students as they prepare for finals. A variety of seating options in different nooks and crannies of the two floors gives a welcoming coffee shop vibe. Plenty of outdoor seating offers views down Naismith Drive. Construction isn’t done yet, with a side room under renovation for Kansas City-based clothing company Charlie Hustle to move in.
Fans braved the cold weather Thursday morning in Kansas City as the KU men’s basketball team prepared to take on Oklahoma State in their first game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship.
The Alumni Association, Kansas Athletics, and the Williams Education Fund hosted a pregame party at No Other Pub. The festivities included giveaways, KU merchandise, and a pep rally featuring the Marching Jayhawks and the Spirit Squad.
Brian Hanni, the Voice of the Jayhawks, hosted a pep rally on the main stage of the KC Live! block. A video celebrating 14 straight Big 12 Conference titles played on the big screen, and Sheahon Zenger, director of athletics, and Chancellor Doug Girod also gave remarks before handing the spotlight back to Hanni.
The Jayhawks knocked off Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals—a victory that was especially sweet after losing to the Cowboys twice during the regular season.
The team takes on the Kansas State Wildcats at 6 p.m. Friday, Mach 9, in a third reprisal of the Sunflower Showdown. The Alumni Association will again co-host a pregame party at No Other Pub starting at 3 p.m.
The streets of Kansas City’s most popular shopping district, the Country Club Plaza, are buzzing with holiday cheer.
The city commissioned local artist and University of Kansas alumnus John Keeling, f’83, to create artwork depicting a winter night at the Plaza. Keeling’s watercolor banners now line the streets in front of the storefronts. His work also appeared on a billboard to promote the KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony, a Kansas City tradition with 88 years of history that seems to grow in spectacle each year.
“(I wanted to invoke) the feelings of joy and wonder that the Plaza Lights experience gives Kansas City and its visitors each year,” Keeling said. “As a watercolorist, I wanted to bring something more emotional to the banner artwork. Of course it has to be about the lights first, but my depiction of them in watercolor hopefully captures the feeling more than a graphic design would.”
After a 25-year career with Hallmark, Keeling is now self-employed and offers commissioned works from his website. Transitioning to being his own boss has allowed Keeling to learn more about the Kansas City art culture— and himself.
“I’ve been reinventing myself as a painter for the past four years,” Keeling said. “As an art director and creative director at Hallmark, I wasn’t painting for work. I also didn’t get to know the art community outside of the workplace. There are multiple arts organizations, including ArtsKC and the InterUrban ArtHouse, that I’m now involved with and meeting more and more of the community.”
As Kansas City shoppers hurry to buy their last-minute gifts, the lights will shine on the Plaza and Keeling’s artwork until January 14.
Kansas City-area alumni and current KU students gathered Oct. 18 at the WeWork shared-office space in downtown Kansas City for a networking event and panel discussion with three of the city’s top entrepreneurs.
The panelists included Chase McAnulty, assoc., founder and CEO of vintage T-shirt company Charlie Hustle; Paul Francis, a’80, founder and CEO of OYO Fitness; and Hillary Philgreen, g’97, chief operating officer of Hantover Inc. and ARY Brands Inc and founder and creator of StinkBOSS. The discussion was moderated by Tyler Enders, b’11, owner of Made in KC and partner in five other retail concepts in the Kansas City area.
“These sorts of panel discussions and industry connections are a big focus for the Alumni Association right now,” Peterson said, explaining that the Association plans to launch a new career initiative, the Jayhawk Career Network, in 2018. “Programs like this in major metro markets across the country are part of that plan.”
What worked and what didn’t
Throughout the evening, the panelists answered a series of questions from Enders, as well as from several participants in the crowd, about their processes for product development and marketing, including how they secured funding, who they enlisted for help, how their prototypes were built and, ultimately, what worked for them and what didn’t.
Philgreen, a mother of two teenage boys who inspired the creation of StinkBOSS, a machine designed to dry, sanitize and deodorize shoes and athletic gear, relied on her extensive business background and made connections with other industry professionals, which proved invaluable to launching her product. She reminded participants that Kansas City offers a wealth of resources and networking opportunities for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
“You need help, there are people in this city that will help you,” she said. “You just need the concept and you just need to step forward and try.”
“Reverse engineer” what’s already been done
Francis and McAnulty used the popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to help fund their concepts, and they stressed the importance of having a captivating, informative video for product campaigns. Both entrepreneurs recruited local business-savvy professionals to help create their videos.
“You don’t have to do anything new,” said Francis, who patented SpiraFlex, the exercise technology that powered strength-training equipment for NASA, and also developed the Bowflex Revolution. He watched several other campaign videos before creating one for his latest product, the DoubleFlex portable gym. “You just have to reverse engineer what’s already been done, then just improve upon it.”
McAnulty, whose passion for vintage tees and textile design inspired him to launch Charlie Hustle in 2012, reminded participants that the most important lesson in starting a new business or launching a new product is to keep trying. His brand’s most popular tee and signature piece, the KC Heart design, wasn’t even on the initial roster of T-shirts when Charlie Hustle first launched.
“You learn from everything,” he said. “You learn from your mistakes, you learn from your little successes. Try to expand and grow on those. We failed on a lot of different products. Just keep going, do it.”
Watch our video below to hear from the panelists. Pictures from the event are available on our Flickr page and may be downloaded for personal use.
The award honors emerging leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business; contribute time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community; and serve as role models for young women personally and professionally.
“Jessica has set the bar high for young professionals in Kansas City,” said Kelsey Hill, assistant director of Kansas City alumni programs. “She is engaged in a way that inspires alumni to be present and proud of their University. We could not be more proud of Jessica and are honored that she is serving as president of the Kansas City board.”
As managing director of the Kansas City Area Development Council, Palm manages the organization’s talent recruitment initiative, TeamKC: Life+Talent. The nationally-recognized program strengthens the region’s competitive advantages through programs such as InternKC by engaging interns to encourage setting in the KC region. She’s also publisher of KC Options magazine, which answers the question “Why KC?” to candidates, new hires and interns from around the world.
“Supporting young professional women in the Kansas City business community is a great way to engage and leave a lasting legacy no matter what your age,” Palm said. “The camaraderie of women leaders in Kansas City is powerful, and as a young professional in our community having access to these individuals for collaboration and mentorship has propelled my personal and professional aspirations greatly. It is truly an honor to be recognized among such successful and incredible women in our region as an ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award honoree.”
Find out what fellow Jayhawks are up to in our biweekly edition of “In the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes.If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grey Group promoted Michael Houston to Worldwide Chief Executive Officer. A 10-year veteran of Grey, Houston, c’15, has served since 2016 as Global President and becomes only the fifth person to hold the CEO position since Grey’s founding in 1917. Read full article.
If you attended the University of Kansas or lived in Lawrence during the early 2000s, you might remember the radical politics of Solidarity. The ECM has housed the Solidarity Library for about 10 years now, according to Ailecia Ruscin, a local photographer who helped found Solidarity as a KU graduate student around the dawn of the millennium. Read full article.
Former Kansas point guard Aaron Miles, who got a crack at the NBA and spent eight years playing overseas and later coaching on KU coach Bill Self’s staff, officially was named the head coach of the NBA G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors on Wednesday. Read full article.
Clay Barker, the executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, on Monday joined the staff of Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer in anticipation of Gov. Sam Brownback’s resignation. Barker graduated from the KU School of Law in 1997. Read full article.
Jessica Nelson has been selected for the KC Chamber’s ATHENA Young Professionals Leadership Award. Nelson, j’11, is the current president of the Greater Kansas City Network of the KU Alumni Association and is the managing director for TeamKC:Life+Talent with the Kansas City Area Development Council. Read full article.
Holly Teeter, l’06, has been nominated by President Trump to be a federal judge in Kansas. Teeter currently works in Kansas City, Missouri, and her background includes work at the Shook, Hardy & Bacon law firm’s Kansas City office. Read full article.
The University of Kansas will soon have a new interim vice chancellor for public affairs. Reggie Robinson, director of KU’s School of Public Affairs and Administration, will assume his new role effective Aug. 14, KU announced earlier this week. Robinson, a KU alumnus, has led the School of Public Affairs and Administration since 2014. Read full article.
In her new position at the AAG office, Emily Fekete will lend her expertise in communications and media geographies to the communications team through new content curation, social media and program development. Fekete holds a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Kansas. Read full article.
Jenifer Ashford, a Prairie Village resident who current serves as prosecutor for the cities of Shawnee and Lake Quivira, has been named to fill a 10th judicial district magistrate judge opening. Ashford, who graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law, will be sworn in later this month. Read full article.
Russ and Linda Sims, e’79, have sort of made it their signature move to take a bright blue flag that reads “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” to all of the historic and scenic places they’ve traveled to both capture the moment and represent the Jayhawks. Read full article.
The Institute for Energy Law is honoring Houston partner John Bowman, l’80, with its Lifetime Achievement in Energy Litigation Award, which is given to one energy litigator each year whose achievements “have won the admiration of his or her peers,” according to the organization. Read full article.
Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at email@example.com, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.
Ashlyn Driskill, a current graduate student in the KU School of Business’ MBA program and a member of KU Volleyball’s 2015 Final Four team, made her television debut Saturday night when House Hunters documented her and her husband’s search for a Kansas City home. She sat down with us in February for a Q&A about the experience, but after the episode premiered we asked a couple more questions about the show and got an update on the house (pictures included!).
Did they let you see the final version before it premiered?
No, they did not let us see even a scene from the episode before it aired! That’s why we were so nervous to announce the air date, we had no clue what it was going to look like.
What did you think of the final cut of the episode?
I think the final cut was great! They did a really good job of making everything look smooth and natural because it definitely did not feel like that during the filming process. They did cut clips that I was hoping would make the episode. We filmed for six full days and it’s crazy to think they were able to cut it down to 30 minutes. We would retry a scene four to five times because the crew thought it would be great, but we never got to see it!
What did your friends and family say?
All our friends and family loved the episode! Our realtor had a watch party the night it was aired and invited many of his clients. Everyone thought we were going to pick house #3, which was actually our least favorite, so I guess you could say our acting skills aren’t too bad!
How is the MBA going?
My MBA is going great. I decided to choose a focus in Management and will be graduating in December.
How did the remodeling turn out?
The remodel turned out great! It took a little longer than we initially planned and still have plenty of more things to do. Right when we closed on the house we did a whole kitchen remodel and had a full remodel of the downstairs bathroom. We did the exterior work all ourselves! It was a blast to do it, but took a lot of manual labor. We painted, made shutters, put up the privacy fence and did all new landscaping.
Knowing all that you do now, would you do it again? Is a career in TV in your future?
I think it would be fun to do it again since I know how the process goes, but I definitely don’t have a future career in TV. I’m not a fan of a camera being six inches from my face all day and I do not have the personality for it. My realtor, Brett Budke, who is also a KU alumnus, would be perfect in a career in TV!
In case you missed it, search for “Young Couple Seeks Kansas City Starter Home” on your cable provider or on demand.