Meet the staff: Ryan Camenzind

Posted on Aug 2, 2017 in News

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After walking down the Hill in May, Ryan Camenzind, j’17, promptly earned his first job and joined the KU Alumni Association staff in a new role as digital media coordinator. His first day on the job was July 10. As a member of the digital media team, Ryan will help increase the Association’s digital footprint by writing stories and contributing digital content for a wide range of alumni communications.

Ryan graduated from the J-School with a degree in strategic communications and a minor in business. As a KU student, he worked as an account executive with The Agency, assisted KU Media Productions on projects such as ‘Good Morning KU’ and served as a marketing specialist for the UDK. Most recently, he has worked as a communications assistant for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, writing stories for their blog, email and social media channels.

Originally from Wichita (East High School), Ryan’s interests include spending time with his family of four Jayhawk boys and two Husker parents, eating cereal, cheering on the Jayhawks in all sports (Ryan has been to basketball, football, volleyball, soccer and baseball games), habitually checking Twitter, and outdoorsy activities such as hiking and camping. We are thrilled to have Ryan join our team at the KU Alumni Association.

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Alumni Profile: Caleb Bobo

Posted on Apr 24, 2017 in News

Caleb Bobo, c’16, is a native of St. Louis who earned a degree in political science with a minor in African and African-American Studies. He is currently a first-year graduate student and diversity fellow at Saint Louis University. Caleb is a member of the KU Alumni Association and served on the Student Alumni Leadership Board as an undergraduate.

Caleb BoboI became a Jayhawk because…

Simply put, there was no competition. I applied to and visited several universities, but none gave me the same feeling that the University of Kansas did. It was the perfect size and distance from home. I found it to be the perfect balance between the social scene of a major, state university and the academic rigor of an elite research institution. Everything one could want out of their college experience, they can get at KU.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

Graduate school is difficult for many reasons. Professors expect a lot out of their students and most of us balance professional opportunities with classes. Luckily, KU’s academic programs prepared me extremely well for my graduate studies, and the emphasis my professors and advisers put on internships during my undergraduate career allowed me to find employment in my new city.

What’s your favorite spot on campus? and/or What spot do you return to whenever you’re back on the Hill?

The Nunemaker Center is the home of the KU Honors Program. Not only is it an awesome place to study on The Hill, but the staff who works there always made me feel so welcomed when I walked through the doors. I’ve remained very close with several of the faculty and staff I met through KU Honors, and I always try to visit when I come back to Lawrence.

My best advice for college students:

Be flexible with your academic program! A lot of students, myself included, think we have our lives figured out at 17 or 18 years old but that’s often not the case. Allow yourself to be challenged through classes, projects and extracurricular activities outside of your chosen discipline. You never know when you’ll discover an interest or passion that you didn’t know existed.

Describe a moment, during or after your time as a KU student, when you felt the greatest sense of Jayhawk pride.

I was really fortunate to make a great group of friends at the University of Kansas and after we all graduated, it’s been amazing to watch each of them begin their lives post-undergrad. Several are working for major corporations in New York, Chicago and Kansas City. A few moved to Washington D.C. to work for members of Congress or other governmental organizations. A handful ended up in elite graduate, legal or medical programs across the country, and I know a few who became officers in the United States Military. Each and every time I’m able to touch base with them over the phone or via social media, I always feel so much pride knowing that although we have a wide variety of interest and goals, we all walked the streets of Lawrence together.

Check out more profiles of outstanding Jayhawks to find out where a degree from the University of Kansas can take you.

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Alumni Profile: Jonathan Ng

Posted on Apr 20, 2017 in News

Jonathan Ng, c’03, j’03, earned degrees in Spanish and strategic communications and currently works as an attorney advisor for the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, D.C. Originally from Leawood, Kansas, he now resides in Arlington, Virginia. He is a Life Member of the KU Alumni Association.

Jonathan NgI became a Jayhawk because…

As a native Kansan, it’s the flagship institution of our state, and I wanted to go to the best place possible while still maintaining close ties to my home. But no matter where you go, the quality of your experience depends on what you’re willing to put into it. KU provides all the opportunities that you could ever hope for in a full college experience — to be challenged academically at a nationally-recognized research institution, to cheer on elite athletic programs and to spend four years on a beautiful campus in a quintessential college town.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

KU represents a true microcosm of our larger global society by reflecting the diversity you will encounter in your personal and professional lives. It’s large enough to find other students and groups who share your common interests, but it’s also diverse enough to bring you in touch with, and to teach you to be open and empathetic to other views, opinions and worldviews that are different from yours. It’s ultimately those “soft” skills of empathy, adaptability and compromise that help you excel in your career that you learn by immersing yourself in a rich and full college experience that a place like KU offers.

How did KU push you to try harder or to try something new?

As a freshman, I got involved in Student Government because I had an interest in shaping public policy and loved the democratic process of governance. By my junior year, I ended up running for and being elected student body president. Winning the election was obviously a great experience, but just putting myself in the arena regardless of victory or defeat was one of the most formative experiences of my life.

My best advice for college students…

Practice being present. College is not simply a stepping stone to your career. It is a rewarding and formative experience in itself. There’s a reason why many people form their best friendships and memories during their college years. Once you start working, society has a way to differentiate and separate us with arbitrary labels. In college, everyone is essentially on the same playing field, which enables you to get to know people for who they are, not what they do. Enjoy it for what it is. Don’t be in such a hurry to graduate.

What’s your favorite spot on campus? and/or What spot do you return to whenever you’re back on the Hill?

I always love returning to the Campanile and the view that overlooks Potter Lake, Memorial Stadium and the Kansas Union.

What’s the best KU tradition?

By far, the best KU tradition is the Rock Chalk Chant during the final moments of KU basketball games. It’s distinctly and uniquely KU. It’s a tradition you grow up watching on TV, participating in as a student at games in Allen Fieldhouse, and continue chanting as alumni long after you have graduated.

Reveal a “best kept” secret about the KU campus or Lawrence.

I’ll tell you after you graduate.

Check out more profiles of outstanding Jayhawks to find out where a degree from the University of Kansas can take you.

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Alumni Profile: Alex Ross

Posted on Apr 12, 2017 in News

Alex Ross, c’12, is a Life Member of the KU Alumni Association who earned a degree in communication studies. He lives in his hometown of Chicago where he is the CEO of New Coast Foundation, which helps accelerate the impact of innovative, emerging organizations working to alleviate poverty in the city. He is also the co-founder of New Coast Ventures.

Alex RossI became a Jayhawk because…

I came here for my campus visit and I knew right away. I didn’t even apply to any other schools to my mom’s dismay. There’s something special about walking down Jayhawk Boulevard—I can’t explain it any other way than just to say it’s unlike anything else.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

Going to KU and having the opportunity to start several successful student organizations gave me the confidence that I could do anything. In addition, it gave me the opportunity to travel all around the world and meet amazing people.

My favorite KU memory is…

100% going to the last KU & Mizzou basketball game. I bought seats on a whim for me and a buddy and the whole game two Mizzou fans were behind us talking trash. We came back and won the game, I turned around to give them a taste of their own medicine and they had already left. I screamed so much I lost my voice, it was the most adrenaline I’ve ever had pumping and I wasn’t even playing.

Describe a moment, during or after your time as a KU student, when you felt the greatest sense of Jayhawk pride.

Whenever I travel I always, always, have something KU on and without fail I always get a “Rock Chalk”. Nothing better.

Where is the most unexpected place you’ve ever heard someone yell, “Rock Chalk”?

I was in the middle of nowhere Australia (legit at a gas station in the middle of nowhere) and someone just screams out “ROCK CHALK BABY!!!!” He was a grad from 10 years before and saw my shirt. My sister thought we were nuts.

Check out more profiles of outstanding Jayhawks to find out where a degree from the University of Kansas can take you.

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Alumni Profile: Jocilyn Hansen

Posted on Apr 7, 2017 in News

Jocilyn Hansen, e’15, earned a degree in architectural engineering and currently works as an assistant project manager for Burns & McDonnell. Originally from Dell Rapids, South Dakota, she now resides in Overland Park. Jocilyn is a Life Member of the KU Alumni Association.

Jocilyn HansenI became a Jayhawk because…

I got chills doing the Rock Chalk Chant during my first visit to KU. Being a Jayhawk is just as magical and mystical a feeling as the mascot itself. I have felt that magic from that first visit and I still feel it today.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

I got my first internship offer from a former Jayhawk who had been an adviser during my first years at KU. Today, he and I continue to work for the same company; our network of Jayhawks has only grown. The Jayhawk network can take you anywhere, from Lawrence to St. Petersburg, to Sydney and back!

What’s the best KU tradition?

The KU tradition I love the most is being somewhere and making connections with someone based on our Jayhawk. I’ve made Jayhawk connections in the middle of nowhere Montana just because of my Jayhawk pin, worn every game day with pride! Or just shouting ‘Rock Chalk’ across an airport terminal, it’s really the best feeling!

What spot do you return to whenever you’re back on the Hill?

I love to grab Sylas and Maddy’s and head up to the Campanile. It’s especially great when a carillonneur is playing an evening concert. The lights of Lawrence beyond the Hill, “I’m a Jayhawk” playing on the bells, it can really be a sureal experience.

Describe a moment, during or after your time as a KU student, when you felt the greatest sense of Jayhawk pride.

I can remember walking home from the engineering school, down Jayhawk Boulevard on a particularly sunny day and thinking to myself, “Wow. I am weeks from graduating from THE University of Kansas. I made it as a Jayhawk.” This was my paradigm moment. I was proud of myself, proud of my school, proud of everything around me.

Reveal a “best kept” secret about the KU campus or Lawrence.

Allen Fieldhouse. Sure, during basketball games it’s the greatest place on Earth, but there are two other times you should go. During the weekday when no one is around–the lights are out and it’s beautiful. And after a game, after all the rushing to get out of the bleachers stops, it’s just you and the newspaper and the scoreboard. Try them both, you won’t be disappointed!

Check out more profiles of outstanding Jayhawks to find out where a degree from the University of Kansas can take you.

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Alumni Profile: John Holt

Posted on Apr 3, 2017 in News

John Holt, j’81, l’84, is originally from Great Bend, Kansas. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the KU School of Journalism and a juris doctor from the KU School of Law and works as an anchor and special projects reporter for Fox4 News in Kansas City. He currently resides in Leawood, Kansas, and is a Life Member of the KU Alumni Association.

John Holt I became a Jayhawk because…

I was raised a Jayhawk! The five Holt kids are third generation Jayhawks and all of us found our way to Mount Oread.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

In addition to my William Allen White School of Journalism degree, I remained at KU to obtain my law degree. Both helped pave the way to my current broadcast journalism career and prepared me for the challenges of a constantly evolving and challenging business.

How did KU push you to try harder or to try something new?

My professors constantly challenged me to push the envelope, whether in my broadcast classes, political science, or law school. They taught me the value of hard work and critical thinking that has stood the test of time in the “real world.”

My best advice for college students is…

Study hard, but find the fun too. Get involved in campus activities, your housing experience, and yes, the social life that is Lawrence, one of the best college towns in America (yes, I’m biased).

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

While most Jayhawks take great pride in our nationally ranked basketball program (as do I), my favorite spot on campus is Memorial Stadium. There’s nothing like “game day on the Hill,” and I return to take in football games as often as I can!

What’s the best KU tradition?

No matter where you are in the world, if you see someone in Jayhawk gear, even a complete stranger, there is an immediate connection when you smile and say “Rock Chalk!”

My favorite KU memory is…

I have so many, but I have to say perhaps the most vivid is the day I arrived on campus. I was a fresh-faced, small-town Kansas lad with much to learn not only in college, but about life in general. I had few friends in Lawrence and was starting fresh. But like so many, KU embraced me and it became not just a college, but a home.

Describe a moment, during or after your time as a KU student, when you felt the greatest sense of Jayhawk pride.

I couldn’t have been prouder to be a Jayhawk when in 2008, our football team won an Orange Bowl, followed a few months later by the basketball team winning a national championship. I was there for both, and in San Antonio, I provided basketball coverage for Fox 4 in Kansas City. It was the thrill of a lifetime to be a part of that joy!

What was the greatest gift you took with you after graduation?

The great network of fellow Jayhawk alumni all over the world!

Check out more profiles of outstanding Jayhawks to find out where a degree from the University of Kansas can take you.

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Alumni Profile: Kelly Cure

Posted on Mar 29, 2017 in News

Kelly Cure, b’09, earned a degree in marketing with a minor in Germanic language and literature. She currently works as head of strategic initiatives for Montigny Investments and resides in Swaziland. Kelly is a Life Member of the KU Alumni Association.

Kelly CureI became a Jayhawk because…

On my first visit to KU I was immediately drawn to the infectious energy present on the campus and around Lawrence. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to study, but I saw limitless potential to pursue my passions for dance and travel, while determining a major in one of KU’s fantastic colleges. I hadn’t found a University with this vibrant feeling that also offered a myriad of prestigious schools and areas of study.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

It’s not an exaggeration to say that KU changed my life and set me on this phenomenal journey that I’m still enjoying today! Thanks to the KU School of Business Career Center, I started with Deloitte Consulting in Kansas City after graduation and began traveling the world through my work. When Deloitte sent me to London for several years, I had the chance to work and explore throughout Europe, the Middle East and was introduced to the continent that I now call home – Africa. After 6 years with Deloitte I was recruited to join an NGO in Swaziland where my eyes were opened to a new way of life in a country still developing with endless potential.

I now reside in Swaziland where I’m responsible for several projects and the Head of Strategic Initiatives for a local private company. The projects include developing renewable energy and managing community conservation projects. In the past year my work has taken me to London, Morocco, Israel, Italy and Johannesburg…There’s absolutely no way I would be in this brilliant journey if it weren’t for my education, connections and experiences in the Jayhawk family!

How did KU push you to try harder or to try something new?

KU introduced me to an incredibly diverse mix of friends, mentors and acquaintances, who inspired me through their work-ethic and constant commitment to growth in and out of the classroom. With such a vast array of clubs, activities and opportunities at KU, I found it the perfect place to experiment with new interests and see what I could learn. Specifically, joining the Rock Chalk Dancers dance team, attending the School of Business and studying abroad in Berlin were all instrumental experiences in my person growth while at KU that I’m forever grateful for.

My best advice for college students…

Take time to listen to yourself and not get swept up in the fast moving pace of college life – which I found difficult! This is your time to expand your knowledge in an area that ignites your curiosity…You know what these areas are better than anyone. Enjoy that.

What was the greatest gift you took with you after graduation?

This is the easiest question The greatest gift is the Jayhawk family that we all leave our time at KU with. My Jayhawk family never ceases to amaze me with their loyalty, love and unique but powerful approaches to life, work and friendship. It’s one of the greatest gifts I could ask for.

Check out more profiles of outstanding Jayhawks to find out where a degree from the University of Kansas can take you.

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Alumni Profile: Eileen Remley

Posted on Mar 21, 2017 in News

Eileen Remley, c’12, earned degrees in English and global and international studies and currently is a Masters student at Vanderbilt University. Originally from Concordia, Kansas, she now resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

Eileen RemleyI became a Jayhawk because…

I became a Jayhawk because I felt it was a good fit for my interests and would provide me with the opportunities I was looking for in my future.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

KU Study Abroad was a catalyst for my current career.

While at KU, I did a six-month immersion program in San Jose, Costa Rica. This led me to take my first job in Madrid, Spain, teaching English to high school students. I then accepted a Fulbright award in Turkey for the next two years to teach English at Bulent Ecevit University. I returned to the United States to begin my Masters in International Education Policy and Management at Vanderbilt University. I will graduate this upcoming May!

My best advice for college students…

Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable and try something new. Take a hard class, study abroad, join a club, do whatever you can to extend your experience while at KU. The possibilities for growth and experience are endless, put yourself out there!

Describe a moment, during or after your time as a KU student, when you felt the greatest sense of Jayhawk pride.

I’ve lived abroad in three countries and in every single one I’ve been walking down a street and someone has yelled “Rock Chalk!” The network really is worldwide and I always fill with pride when I get to connect over KU.

What was the greatest gift you took with you after graduation?

The people. Honestly, KU is full of amazing individuals from professors, to staff and fellow students. Some of the strongest friendships and best mentors have been from my time at KU.

Check out more profiles of outstanding Jayhawks to find out where a degree from the University of Kansas can take you.

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Alumni Profile: Ryan Colaianni

Posted on Mar 8, 2017 in News

Ryan Colaianni, j’07, c’07, is vice president of Edelman in Washington, D.C. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, where he leads the Washington, D.C. Alumni Network and has hosted numerous student recruitment and alumni events. In 2011, he received the Dick Wintermote Award, which honors network volunteers who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership to their network and the alumni association. Ryan is a Life Member and Presidents Club member and is also a member of the KU Alumni Association’s national board of directors.

I became a Jayhawk because…

Ryan Colaianni, j'07, c'07I knew that I wanted to study journalism at a university that allowed me to write for the student paper my freshman year. I started working for the Kansan before my first class and by my sophomore year, I was traveling the country covering the KU football team. By my junior year I was covering the men’s basketball team. I was writing professionally for the Lawrence Journal-World and the Topeka Capital Journal before I graduated.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

The hands-on experience I gained at KU through a variety of activities, including the University Daily Kansan, and spending a summer as an orientation assistant helped develop my writing skills and instilled an ability to meet any deadline.

Where is the most unexpected place you’ve ever heard someone yell, “Rock Chalk”?

I’ve heard it everywhere! From Copenhagen to Florence to Jamaica, there is not a place I have been while wearing a KU shirt that I haven’t heard “Rock Chalk.” That bird helps make real connections in the places you least expect it.

What made your degree program distinctly KU?

I visited a number of journalism schools while looking at colleges and most provided a bland presentation with dozens of other prospective students. When I visited KU, I toured with just one other potential student and got to meet real students and professors to hear firsthand how I could succeed at KU. That experience carried over throughout my four years.

How did KU push you to try harder or to try something new?

I didn’t know a soul when I arrived at KU from the east coast. The campus community was unbelievably accepting, and I quickly had a number of different niches and groups to be a part of. From Greek life, to my classes, to the campus activities I picked, I was always challenged to go further and try something new.

My best advice for college students is…

Go to class. It will save you hours of pain when you try to cram for that exam or write that paper.

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Alumnus establishes fund to facilitate career connections

Posted on Dec 13, 2016 in News

As the first member of his family to attend college, David Graves, b’73, calls his KU experience transformational. “It was a wonderful four years of my life, and a time for growth in many ways,” he says, “not just in academic terms, but we all grow up emotionally as well.”

Graves’ career as a commercial real estate investment analyst began in his home community of Kansas City, but in 1983, The Travelers insurance company transferred him to Hartford, Connecticut, beginning a journey that took him to several cities across the nation. As the first in his family to move away, Graves says he was thankful he had become a Life Member of the Alumni Association soon after graduation. “I truly did want to stay connected to the University, the state and my family, and my life membership was one way psychologically to do that,” he says. “My commitment to KU has always been strong. I owe a great deal to the University, because I’ve been blessed with a pretty interesting 40-year career.”

David GravesAfter 14 years with Travelers, Graves began a 17-year stint with State Farm Insurance companies in Bloomington, Illinois, where he became vice president of real estate and mortgages. When he retired from State Farm, he and his family settled in Dallas. Through the years, Graves had become a close friend of Dallas real estate developer and fellow Jayhawk John Eulich, b’51, who ultimately coaxed Graves out of retirement to become managing director of The Belmont Group, the Eulich family’s trust.

Eulich, who died Sept. 3, and his wife, Ginny Walsh Eulich, c’51, in the early 1980s provided a gift to the Alumni Association to fund the bronze “Eulich Jayhawk” sculpture outside the Adams Alumni Center. Graves has followed their example with his gift of $30,000 to create the David Graves Alumni Excellence Fund , which he hopes can help KU students and young alumni make valuable career connections with successful Jayhawks. He praises the Association’s Dallas Network for linking many young graduates who are beginning their careers.

As the second of three siblings, Graves began a KU tradition in his family, inspiring his younger brother, Dean, b’75, to follow him to the Hill, and his older sister, Donna Cooper Graves, PhD‘94, to choose KU for her doctoral degree. Naturally, their 93-year-old father, Don, is a converted Jayhawk, ardent basketball fan and, until recently, quite the hoops sensation in his own right. “He played basketball about a year ago,” Graves says. “You don’t want to take him on in a game of horse.”

Graves returns home several times each year to visit his dad. His January trip will include a visit to Allen Field House to watch his Jayhawks take on the Texas Longhorns as part of his annual birthday celebration with lifelong friend and pledge brother, John Ballard, b’73. “I always chide him into obtaining a ticket for me,” Graves says. “There’s a big piece of my heart that still resides in Kansas at KU.”

This donor profile originally appeared in the KU Alumni Association’s 2015-2016 Annual Report.

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