More than 40 alumni and 15 current students met July 18 on Michigan Avenue to learn from some of the best and brightest Jayhawk alumni based in the Windy City.
The event, Chicago Innovation and Entrepreneurship Panel, featured a panel of business leaders who shared the stories of their journey with Chicago area alumni. A select number of KU Student-Alumni Network members also attended.
Bryce McMichael, d’08, Chicago Network leader, said “One of the main goals we have in Chicago is diversifying our event offering beyond watch parties for KU games and expand into the careers and lifelong learning space. This event definitely fit the bill in that regard.”
David Hoese, e’86, vice president at Goldman Sachs served as panel moderator, with Todd Holmes c’89, CEO at Liquidus Marketing and co-founder of Goose Island Beer Co., Sherry Scott j’91, president at Gagen MacDonald, and David Grossman j’89, president at Freshii comprising the panel.
“The panelists stemmed from a Presidents Club reception we had last year in which Todd Holmes suggested an event like this,” McMichael said. “David Grossman and Sherry Scott were also added due to their specific entrepreneurial experience, local ties, and fascinating life stories.”
The event was the first of a series highlighting business leaders and entrepreneurs in Chicago. The panel offered advice to students and young alumni on topics such as how to start a business and risk tolerance.
“With 15 current KU students who hail from the Chicago area in attendance, I believe they came away with inspiration and pointers on how to create your own destiny and do the work you truly love,” McMichael said. “I also hope that those who went also came away knowing that their Alumni Association can provide much, much more value than they had originally thought going into the event!”
Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, president of the KU Alumni Association, echoed McMichael’s sentiments for the Alumni Association as a whole.
“We want to do more to directly connect students to industry leaders and showcase the power and reach of the KU degree,” Peterson said. “We must leverage the story of successful alumni to ensure current students have direct and constant access to a powerful network.”
Peterson’s goals were realized for Rebecca Hans, j’18, a Student-Alumni Network member who made an unexpected connection.
“I didn’t expect to know anyone [at the event] but I saw a family friend,” Hans said. “He introduced me to someone who has a connection to the military at KU. My dream job is a military psychologist where I could work with soldiers or their families and help them with mental health issues.”
“This event helped me realize that I can be successful in Chicago. Knowing that I am graduating in the spring, it is comforting to see that KU stays with you forever.”
Kansas City-based luxury watchmaker Niall is a top-tier sponsor of the 2017 Rock Chalk Ball, the University of Kansas Alumni Association’s largest annual fundraising event, April 29 at the Overland Park Convention Center. Hosted by the Greater Kansas City Alumni Network, the event raises funds for Association programs to advocate for KU, communicate to alumni and friends in all media, recruit students and volunteers, serve alumni and KU, and unite all Jayhawks.
As a presenting sponsor of the event, Niall will donate two of its limited-edition Fieldhouse Blue watches to the Association, one of which will be auctioned at the Rock Chalk Ball. The exclusive watch is officially licensed by KU and features basketball founder James Naismith’s original 13 rules of basketball micro-inscribed on the dial of the timepiece. Only 126 pieces of this watch have been produced—emblematic of the number of years since the inception of the game in 1891. A portion of the watch’s ongoing sales will be donated to Kansas Athletics and the Williams Education Fund.
Niall’s partnership with the Alumni Association also includes other opportunities for alumni engagement.
“We are immensely grateful to Niall for its generous sponsorship of the Alumni Association’s Rock Chalk Ball and other events,” said Heath Peterson, Association president. “Kansas City is the nation’s largest community of Jayhawks, and our programs, especially in recruiting legacy students, are vital to strengthening KU.”
“Niall is thrilled to sponsor this year’s Rock Chalk Ball,” said Association Life Member and Presidents Club Member Michael Wilson, b’05, founder and CEO of Niall. “This is a great way for us to support the Alumni Association and its mission to connect Jayhawks to the University of Kansas.”
University National Bank of Lawrence will sponsor University of Kansas men’s basketball pregame activities Dec. 3 and Feb. 4, 2017, for Presidents Club members of the KU Alumni Association. The exclusive events include a complimentary buffet and drinks at the Adams Alumni Center two hours before tip-off.
The Association created the Presidents Club as an opportunity for KU alumni and friends to support critical endeavors the Association provides to KU. Members contribute annual gifts of $1,000 or more to boost the Association’s goal of building a larger, more powerful network of Jayhawks worldwide.
“We are immensely grateful to University National Bank for our vital activities for donors,” said Heath Peterson, Association president. “The Association’s outreach is especially important during basketball season, when countless alumni gather to cheer the Jayhawks at events hosted by our 129 alumni networks.”
“University National Bank is thrilled to sponsor KU men’s basketball pregame events for Presidents Club members,” said Todd Sutherland, president of University National Bank. “This is a great way for us to support the Alumni Association, its generous donors and the Jayhawks during basketball season.”
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.
This is a guest post by Justin A. McNulty, a Life and Presidents Club member of the KU Alumni Association who travels close to 100,000 miles and spends more than 50 nights each year in hotels. He has visited 49 states in the United States and 33 countries on four continents. Justin created his blog, Justin Does…, to share his experiences, tips and tricks learned both at home and on the road.
Now that you’ve painstakingly selected your Flying Jayhawks trip, the hard work isn’t quite over yet. Whether you’ve selected that luxury cruise or two weeks around Southeast Asia, don’t let planning your dream vacation overwhelm you. Here are some tips to help make the final preparations for your Flying Jayhawks trip:
Research your destinations.
The Internet is filled with a plethora of information—some good and some bad. Make sure you compare notes of the various sources you research so you can weed out the good tips from the bad tips. Over time, the best options will jump out at you. When I visit new cities I turn to Frommer’s. Frommer’s has great summaries of all the landmarks, including self-guided walking tours, for how to see a city in three or less days.
Figure out your money plan.
Everyone that knows me knows that Justin Does…Not EVER have cash. When I travel, I rely on plastic and rarely use cash. Most credit cards don’t charge you foreign transactions fees, that is, a surcharge for them to convert the foreign currency transaction into US dollars, so you usually get the best exchange rate (be sure to check with your credit card issuer BEFORE you depart!) When I do need cash, though, I use my debit card at local ATMs; again, you get the best exchange rate. While I may get charged a non-network ATM fee from time to time, I’d rather get cash when needed, than carry around large sums of money. I never use traveler’s checks as they are always a pain to cash in AND you usually get a poor conversion rate.
Pack right, not necessarily light.
The type of trip you’ve booked will influence the wardrobe you pack. If cruising is your thing, you’ll probably need to include dressier clothing for all those fancy dinners. If you are partaking in an African safari, most likely you’ll need breathable clothing that you won’t mind getting a little dirty. Whichever destination you choose, put some thought into all the activities you want to do and make sure you pack the right items.
Members of the KU Alumni Association boarded the elegant Marina last month for a 16-night luxury cruise from Sydney, Australia, to Auckland, New Zealand. Pictured above are Kay, c’61, and Don Brada, c’61, m’65, who are joint Life and Presidents Club members. Don also serves on the Alumni Association’s national board of directors.
The travelers experienced geological wonders, cosmopolitan cities, exotic wildlife and rugged beauty in both countries. The ship sailed from Sydney to Melbourne, where the Dandenong Mountains provide a backdrop to exquisite architecture, to Geelong, where travelers explored the waterfront. After a day of cruising the Tasman Sea, the ship docked in the historic city of Hobart on Tasmania, known as the “Island of Inspiration.”
The ship sailed two more days across the Tasman Sea to cruise the fjords of Milford Sound, a legendary fjord with cascading waterfalls, rainforests and massive peaks.
The passengers also visited Dunedin, home of the world’s rarest penguin; the small fishing town of Akaroa; New Zealand’s political center, Wellington; and Napier, a city rebuilt after a devastating earthquake and fire in 1931.
A day of cruising the South Pacific led the travelers to three final destinations: Tauranga, Bay of Islands and finally, Auckland.
A familiar bird greeted our alumni travelers at their room: a Jayhawk door plaque. “It was a welcome sight at the end of a five-flight walk up, and we always knew which way to turn!” said Kay.
Travel the world with fellow Jayhawks! Visit www.kualumni.org/travel for more information about upcoming trips and to sign up for emails about the Flying Jayhawks program, and view more Flying Jayhawks photos on our Flickr page.
NCAA Champion magazine’s winter 2015 edition chronicles Clarkson’s long and prosperous career as a photographer. He made a name for himself by capturing unforgettable moments in just about any sport imaginable. But it seems that given a choice, Clarkson would take his camera skills to the court any day.
“Basketball is so unique in that, unlike football or some other sports, nobody is hidden behind shoulder pads or helmets,” he tells NCAA Champion magazine. “You get to see and experience the emotions of the game. You see it on people’s faces. You see it in their body language. You get all this in addition to the beauty of great athletic prowess and beautiful plays. You see the human element as well. To me, it makes basketball the most interesting of all the sports.”
To read more about Clarkson’s journey as a photojournalist and hear him describe his own favorite moments in NCAA basketball history, click here.
Watch a video of Clarkson recounting how he took one of the most recognizable photographs of his career:
For our ongoing Proud Member Monday series, we are highlighting alumni volunteers who serve the University of Kansas across Kansas and around the world. Today we feature Scott Rehorn, c’86, a Life and Presidents Club Member who resides in Arizona. We asked Scott how his experience at KU has served him since leaving the Hill.
Tell us about your career path.
I interviewed at a KU career fair and was hired by a Kansas City real estate developer. I moved to Phoenix in 1988 because my wife and I wanted a change, and I got a job working as a leasing agent for a local real estate company. In 1994, I teamed up with my partner and started a new company, which also then evolved into partnering with Dan Lowe in Kansas City to create Red Development.
How did your KU experience help prepare you for your career?
When I attended KU, I had no money. I worked three jobs a day to put myself through school. I know that sounds like I walked barefoot in the snow, but I actually did! I worked at Saffee’s women’s clothing store, at the Chi Omega sorority as a waiter and as a bartender and bouncer at Bottoms Up and Gammon’s. I learned how to balance school, work and fun.
What is one fun fact about your company?
Though based in Phoenix, our company is led by Jayhawks and Cornhuskers.
What advice do you have for recent graduates in your industry?
Go back to school and get a law degree. Then, don’t become a lawyer. But a law degree is a great way to be prepared in whatever you decide to pursue.
Why should a prospective student consider becoming a Jayhawk?
There is no place like KU; it is just a special place. I can’t really define it, but if you’ve been there you know exactly what I’m saying.
Why are you a proud member of the KU Alumni Association?
KU is a great institution that I got to enjoy because someone else paid it forward. It’s our opportunity to do the same for the next generation. I’m also involved with the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, and it is equally impressive.
How do you stay connected to KU?
Through my friends and my connections with the medical center, and I try to stay updated through the newsletters that come to us.
As Larry Hickey Jr. recalls his student years on the Hill, he says he’s 92 going on 18. “It was the opening of my whole life. I just revel every time I think about the University, the beauty of the campus and the thrill of being there.”
Hickey, b’43, has remained close to the University, serving for decades as an alumni ambassador in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri from his home base in Joplin, Missouri, and contributing financial support for alumni programs. This year he provided $100,000 to support the Alumni Association. “I don’t feel that I ever really left KU,” he says.
He became a Jayhawk with help from a banker in his hometown of Coffeyville. After he finished his studies at the community college, he wanted to continue his education at KU, but money was tight. Thanks to the banker’s $250 loan, Hickey made his way to Lawrence. To earn living expenses, he waited tables at his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, and worked in the basement of Hoch Auditorium, firing cement cinder blocks in a kiln for 10 cents each. The following summer, he paid off the loan by delivering ice in Coffeyville, working for 30 cents an hour. When the banker asked how much he needed for his senior year, Hickey thought $250 would suffice, but the banker insisted he buy a new suit.
After graduation, Hickey paid off the second loan and attended the U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipman School at Northwestern University. He served in the Navy until 1946. He began his career with the Phillips Petroleum Co., where a fellow KU graduate hired him to work in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Through the years, he and his wife, Virginia, ’40, hosted numerous events for area Jayhawks and campus leaders. He served on the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors from 1976 to 1981. In 1996, the Hickeys received the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award for their longtime service to KU in their community.
Hickey describes Virginia, who died in 2003, as “absolutely flawless.” As a leader in her KU sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, she was chosen to start a new chapter at the University of Southern California, where she graduated summa cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. But she remained a Jayhawk at heart.
The Hickeys traveled 16 times with the Flying Jayhawks. “Our alumni were always peppier than any other school on the trip,” Larry recalls, “and travel with the Flying Jayhawks was a great education. We didn’t know the language, but we could get anywhere with a handshake, a smile and a ‘Thank you.’”
Like her husband, Virginia became a devoted community volunteer in Joplin. They are the only couple to each earn distinction as Joplin’s Outstanding Citizen.
Hickey credits fellow Jayhawks for helping him succeed in business ventures throughout his career, and he hopes his involvement and support of the Association will extend the tradition of friendship and generosity: “Life has been a road map of miracles for me,” he says, “and I’m truly grateful.”
This profile was originally published in the KU Alumni Association’s 2013-14 Annual Report, a supplement to Kansas Alumni magazine. Click here to view the full report and learn more about membership and alumni records, Presidents Club, the Association’s year-end financial report and highlights from the year.