The Kenneth Spencer Research Library on KU’s campus features seasonal exhibits curated by the library’s archivists. From Jan. 30 to Apr. 30, the library showcased the athletic achievements of KU women through their exhibit “Women’s Athletics at KU: From Physical Education to Recognized Athletic Program.” The display celebrated the strides the University has made in giving women the opportunity to exceed outside of the classroom.
Formation of the Women’s Athletic Association
Women’s Athletic Director Marian Washington
Before the creation of university-sponsored teams, women at KU could only participate in club sports. The first documented sport for KU women was the Tennis Club in 1892. A few years later, women’s basketball was added in 1897.
In 1912, the students and faculty of the Women’s Department of Physical Education established the Women’s Athletic Association, or WAA. The first three sports under the WAA were hockey, tennis and basketball.
While women could now compete in intercollegiate competitions, funding was very limited. Students were expected to supply their own equipment and transportation, so individual sports held fundraisers to cover the cost, such as the gymnastics team who held an annual carnival so they could afford traveling to competitions.
Earning a letter sweater
Throughout this ever-changing landscape of women athletics, the letter sweater served as a literal badge of honor. The WAA awards these letter sweaters to athletes based on criteria outlined in the 1925 Jayhawker yearbook. Each woman had to accumulate 75 points to earn their sweater.
Women could earn points from excelling in their sport, as well as from more obscure ideas of success such as good posture and maintaining grades.
Impact of Title IX
By the 1960s, club teams received funding from the Student Senate, yet not enough to cover all of the costs. Although Title IX was passed in 1972, changes were not immediate.
According to KU’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, Title IX’s purpose is “to end discrimination on the basis of sex in education and applies to all programs and activities that receive federal funding.” However, Title IX’s passage in 1972 had no immediate effects on the WAA.
The WAA won a victory in 1974 when the state and the Student Senate allocated a combined $122,435 for women student-athletes. Women’s Athletic Director Marian Washington was able to completely fund all nine sports, covering the costs of coaching staff, equipment, transportation and lodging. It was not until 1979 that the men’s and women’s athletic departments merged to meet the federal funding requirements.
Today Title IX plays an active role in providing equity for male and female student-athletes. Under Title IX, three key principles apply to men’s and women’s athletics: equitable opportunity to participate; equal proportion of scholarships; and equal treatment and benefits.
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.
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.”
As the 2017-2018 Kansas basketball season enters conference play, the “Commemorate the Gr8s” tour continues to provide fans a behind-the-scenes look at the history of KU Basketball.
The exhibit celebrates the anniversaries of the 1988 and 2008 title teams with memorabilia from KU’s national championship seasons. Thanks to a partnership between the University of Kansas Libraries and the KU Alumni Association, the exhibit is making its way across America on a 28-city tour, visiting watch parties and other Jayhawk alumni network events.
LeAnn Meyer, assistant director of advancement at KU Libraries, has seen firsthand how the Jayhawk connection brings people together on the tour stops.
“Connecting with alumni, both near and far, has been incredibly rewarding,” Meyer said. “Jayhawk pride can be found coast to coast, and these events provide an opportunity for friends and alums to mingle with one another while perusing iconic photographs and memorabilia from the University Archives. The exhibit items often spark fond memories, and the stories shared create bonds between local Jayhawks.”
The exhibit includes the newspapers and magazines chronicling Danny and the Miracles’ amazing run and Mario Chalmers’ tying shot against Memphis, pictures from before, during and after the games that made the titles possible, and other artifacts from the championship teams.
“I have had the opportunity to see the last three KU Library exhibits that have been here in Colorado Springs and each of them have been fun and interesting,” Merriman said. “The library staff has a track record of putting together amazing presentations of artifacts and memorabilia. Those of us living out of state truly appreciate the chance to view and relive those moments.”
The stops on the tour also provide a chance for local Jayhawks to get to know fellow KU alumni who live in their area. Visit our networks page to find a Facebook group with nearby Jayhawks, and visit kualumni.org/commemorate to learn more about the tour and see when it comes to a city near you.
For one loyal alumna, a recent trip to Mount Oread turned into an unexpectedly delightful trip down memory lane. While attending the Presidents Club tailgate Oct. 22 at the Adams Alumni Center, just hours before the KU-OSU Homecoming football game, Barbara Schmidt Keating, d’63, and her husband, Con, c’63, were stunned to see a photo of Barbara, the University’s Homecoming queen in 1962, on display in a campus yearbook.
“They had a table set up with a display of previous Homecomings by decade,” Barbara explains. “We just walked past the table and there in the 1960s was the yearbook and my picture. We were both just shocked.”
The display was courtesy of KU Libraries, which partnered this year with the Alumni Association to showcase historical photos and memorabilia of campus life for alumni and friends to enjoy during Presidents Club tailgates.
Upon spotting the Keatings’ surprise—and overhearing Con exclaim, “Well, here she is, right here!”—KU Libraries staff snapped photos of the former Homecoming queen with the yearbook, capturing yet another campus keepsake for Jayhawks to enjoy.
“It was a huge honor, it really was,” Barbara says, recalling the moment she was crowned more than 50 years ago. “They made the announcement outside of Strong Hall; everybody was out there. It was such a surprise, because there were so many wonderful girls who were candidates. It was just really a nice occasion.”
Last fall, Presidents Club members enjoyed an extra treat at three football tailgates at the Adams Alumni Center: special exhibits about the sport’s history at KU presented by the University of Kansas Libraries.
At the Sept. 3 event, guests explored the history of KU football before the team defeated Rhode Island 55-6 in Memorial Stadium.
The following week the Jayhawks fell to Ohio 21-37, but tailgate attendees reminisced about the glory days while taking in the exhibit “60 Years of Bowl Game History.”
And during the annual Homecoming celebration, “Memories of Homecomings Past” became a delightful trip down memory lane for members—and for one former Homecoming queen, who spotted her photo on display.
Stay tuned during basketball season for “The Kansas Basketball Legacy featuring Phog Allen” exhibit, which will make an appearance at watch parties around the country. Thank you to our friends and partners at KU Libraries for enhancing our events with a little bit of history.
Click through the slideshows above to see photos from the tailgates. Photos may be downloaded for personal use. Visit our calendar to find upcoming exhibit dates at future events.
Thanks to a partnership with KU Libraries, members can access more than 50,000 magazines, journals and index records—invaluable library resources for alumni and friends who want to continue their professional and personal development.
One alumnus let us know just how valuable this benefit is to him:
My wife and I recently renewed our membership in the KU Alumni Association. As she read the reminder letter, Joanna called my attention to a new membership benefit: access to KU Libraries databases of academic and business journals and periodicals. I am writing to express my profound thanks for this access, since it is absolutely crucial to work I am doing. Let me explain.
I began my career in academe, and taught at the Wharton School and elsewhere. Some years later I joined the business world, where I helped senior executives understand and apply quantitative methods to improve their business decisions. A persistent goal of my work was bridging the gap between what is known in principle (e.g., somewhere in academe) and what is applied in practice (e.g., in business firms). In pursuing that goal I published some twenty-five technical articles (six of which won awards for excellence) addressed to academics and quantitative professionals (e.g., actuaries, investment quants). I also published some fifty more in which I attempted to explain technical issues and their implications to a predominantly nontechnical audience of senior executives.
Throughout my career an indispensable resource has been access to relevant business and scholarly journals, typically at the New York Public Library. Now that I’m retired and no longer work in New York, that resource is no longer available to me. I continue to write and publish work intended to bridge the gap between what is known and what is applied. But without access to essential library resources that has become considerably more difficult.
So imagine my absolute delight in learning of this new KU Alumni Association benefit, and subsequently discovering that KU’s libraries have resources that match or exceed those of the New York Public Library! I am incredibly grateful for this new benefit, and wanted to both thank you and explain that it has made a huge difference in my ability to continue pursuing the overarching goal of my life’s work.
William H. Panning, c’65
Association members can access three databases within KU Libraries. These resources include the latest scholarly information in many areas of academic study, full-text business magazines and journals, and comprehensive, yet concise summaries of the best business books available.
Click here to learn more about the resources available for members and to register or log in to access them. We welcome your feedback on this new benefit, or any other membership benefits!
More than 30 Jayhawks gathered June 18 at the Little Apple Brewing Company in Manhattan to view artifacts from James Naismith’s life in a popular exhibit presented by the KU Libraries.
The glimpse into the life of Dr. Naismith included photographs, handwritten notes and even an example of the athletic sock worn by athletes during Naismith’s KU coaching days.
Fun fact: the reservation for the event was held under James Naismith’s name.
KU Libraries will continue exhibiting the Naismith artifacts throughout the Alumni Association’s ‘Hawk Days of Summer tour, including an upcoming presentation at the East Kansas Wine Festival and at events on the east coast. Check the events calendar for upcoming tour dates and cities.
Looking for a way to connect with fellow Jayhawks, expand your professional and social networks and learn a little KU history at the same time?
Don’t miss the latest program from KU Libraries and the KU Alumni Association: Evolution of the Jayhawk.
At this one-of-a-kind event, you’ll have the opportunity to see and hold rare KU archival materials that showcase the fascinating origins and the evolution of our beloved Jayhawk. View some of the most exclusive and intriguing iterations of our distinctive mascot, while making connections with fellow Jayhawks.
Events are currently scheduled for the following locations:
If the past week is any indication, the ’Hawk Days of Summer are still going strong.
Alumni Association staff members hosted a boat cruise with all-you-can-eat crabs in Washington, D.C.; a behind-the-scenes tour of Madison Square Garden in New York City; a harbor cruise Charleston, South Carolina; a wine tasting in Springdale, Arkansas; and a day at the Topeka Zoo. We also co-hosted three events with KU Libraries and their popular Naismith artifacts exhibit in Huntersville and Raleigh, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia.
Our socially-savvy staff and volunteers posted updates and pictures online during each of the events, so we put them together in one place for easy consumption. Check it out below!
A few highlights: the most spirited KU fan ever, a yet-to-be-explained food fight involving baked beans, and the appearance of Caitlin Wise, our former coordinator of student programs who now lives in the Washingon, D.C. area. Enjoy!
@kualumni#hawkdays thru Sunday: Huntersville NC, Denver, Raleigh, Atlanta, Washington DC, Charleston, Springdale AR, Topeka, New York.
This event is part of the ‘Hawk Days of Summer, the KU Alumni Association’s annual summer sojourn across the country and around the world. The 90-day series of events resulted from a determination to make the most of the summer months. The 2014 tour kicked off on Saturday, May 17, and includes picnics, receptions, baseball games and more. Visit our online calendar to find upcoming events near you.