Alumni Profile: Kelly Cure

Posted on Mar 29, 2017 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and 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 Alumni News, Career/Life, and 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 Alumni News, Career/Life, and 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 Alumni News, Career/Life, and 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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Far Above campaign spurs alumni into action

Posted on Dec 6, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Wichita attorney Jeff Kennedy is all too familiar with the difficulties that result from inadequate estate planning—“I have been the administrator, the executor, of some people’s estates, and I don’t want to force that on anyone”—yet he has a confession to offer: In part because he and his wife, Patti Gorham, have no children, they had, until recently, never completed their own estate plans.

Patti Gorham and Jeff KennedySpurred into action by KU Endowment’s Far Above campaign, which ended in June, they created an unrestricted, $250,000 estate gift to the KU Alumni Association, which Kennedy, j’81, has served as national chair and member of the Board of Directors and many years as an enthusiastic volunteer and leader of the Association’s Wichita network.

They left similar gifts to Washburn University’s law school, which they both attended, and Gorham’s undergraduate alma mater, the University of Montana.

Their gifts recognize the importance they place on higher education, and Kennedy’s longtime volunteer service reflects the concern he has for its future in Kansas.

As a stalwart volunteer for Jayhawks for Higher Education, the Alumni Association’s statewide legislative advocacy network, Kennedy has spent countless hours over the past decade reaching out to lawmakers in Topeka and encouraging others to do the same.

“I think it’s just that we were in the right place at the right time,” Kennedy says of JHE’s increased efforts amid threats to higher education funding. “We have been fairly vocal, and I think that will continue.”

Though he dreamed of becoming a lawyer since his boyhood in Pratt, where he was “one of those weird kids” who trekked to the local courthouse to watch trials, Kennedy’s education took a sudden detour late in his undergraduate years. With just 16 credit hours to be completed before he could walk down the Hill, Kennedy in 1972 decamped for Colorado, where he worked in Waterpik’s Fort Collins factory and spent two winters as a self-described ski bum. When he hurt his back during his “back-to-nature period” in Barber County, Kennedy in 1980 saw that it was time to return to Mount Oread and finish what he had started.

“I left KU after four years because I had decided that continuing to go to school, for me, was a really bad idea. I just needed to be crazy for a while,” Kennedy says from his office at Martin Pringle, where he spent 13 years as managing partner. “When I hurt my back I decided it was time to get serious about my life, so I came back and finish my degree at KU.”

His unconventional route through higher education served Kennedy well, and he suggests that others might do well to pay heed when they feel they might need to take a break before completing their education and moving toward lifelong careers.

“I think that in a lot of cases they check the next box, because they’ve been ingrained to be a student,” Kennedy says of high-achieving students who begin law school before being truly ready to commit themselves to the profession. “When I came back to school, I was a terrific student. I was a great student.”

Once reignited, his enthusiasm has yet to dim.

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

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Proud Member: David O’Brien

Posted on Jul 25, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

David O’Brien, j’86, has been the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Braves beat writer since 2002—but he’s been a Jayhawk since his arrival on the Hill in 1982. David joined the KU Alumni Association as an annual member immediately following his 1986 graduation, and after faithfully renewing for nearly 30 consecutive years, he recently demonstrated his unwavering loyalty by becoming a Proud Life Member. He always enjoys talking baseball, music, motorcycles, cool new restaurants he finds on his travels and, most especially, all things crimson and blue.

 

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Meet Heath: Part 6

Posted on Feb 19, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Eulich Jayhawk Adams Alumni Center | www.kualumni.org
KU Alumni Association President Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, was unanimously elected by the national board of directors in November 2015. Get to know President Peterson through this six-part series titled Meet Heath.

What was your favorite class, instructor or professor as a KU student?

I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Bob Frederick’s courses in the Health, Sport, and Exercise Science Department. I had the opportunity to take multiple courses from him. He was many, many things—he genuinely cared for his students, possessed a tremendous amount of industry experience and wisdom that he applied to course content, he had the best stories from his time as KU’s Athletics Director. Most of all, he was a true gentleman and one of the finest Jayhawks to ever live.

What advice do you have for today’s KU students?

1. Start building your network now – as we say through the Student Alumni Association, one Jayhawk connection can change your world.
2. Understand the experience you are having today was built on the backs of generations of alumni.
3. When you leave the Hill, join the Alumni Association, get involved in your local alumni network, advocate for the university, and when you have the ability, give back to an area of KU that you are passionate about to ensure future generations continue to receive the same quality education and experience you are receiving now.

That’s a wrap! We hope you enjoyed this six-part series about our new president. Still have questions? Email us at share@kualumni.org.

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Jayhawk bond continues after college

Posted on Feb 17, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Scot Pollard originally didn’t want to attend college anywhere east of California.

He took a few recruiting trips, and he verbally committed to Arizona. Then, he made a trip to Kansas.

“Late Night,” he says. “Come on, you just cannot touch walking in that building, there’s nothing like it in the whole world.”

And if you’ve ever been in Allen Fieldhouse, you know what he means. Fortunately, the atmosphere at the University of Kansas convinced him that this was the place to be, and Jayhawk fans for years have embraced the colorful character that is Scot Pollard, black fingernail polish and all.

That bond continues beyond college.

“The unique family atmosphere that you have when you go to the University of Kansas…it’s really grown even more, because everywhere I go in the whole world, and I’ve been around the world, I’ve stayed in a lot of different places, I’ve had some very unique experiences, it’s just different being a Jayhawk,” Pollard, d’97, explains.

He describes attending a Pacers game last year when Ben McLemore played. “I don’t know if I’ve ever shaken Ben McLemore’s hand, but he knows who I am, and I know who he is, and we know we have that common bond,” he says. “We’re in a family of Jayhawks.”

Jayhawk fans will have another opportunity to watch Scot Pollard—he’s a contestant on season 32 of the popular reality show “Survivor,” which premieres Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. CT.

Watch our latest video below:

 

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KU alumni careers: Matt Gowen, j’95

Posted on Feb 13, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Roses are red,
crimson, not blue.
Matt Gowen loves his job,
and he went to KU.

Okay, let’s face it. Not all of us are gifted in poetry, romance or humor, myself included. But Lawrence native Matt Gowen used his KU journalism degree to land a pretty good gig writing for greeting card giant Hallmark Cards in Kansas City.

A former opinion editor for the University Daily Kansan and reporter for the Lawrence Journal-World and Kansas City Business Journal, Gowen, j’95, started to burn out on the grind of news journalism. In 2000, his career took a turn, thanks to the help of his Jayhawk connections and some thoughtful siblings who steered him toward Hallmark, where writing became fun again. And funny too.

We went behind the scenes at one of Kansas City’s most famous companies to learn how this Jayhawk journalist went from writing headlines to humor.

 
So if you care enough to send your valentine a card from Hallmark, don’t be surprised– it might have been penned by a Jayhawk.

Now wouldn’t that be poetic?

–David Johnston

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Meet Heath: Part 5

Posted on Feb 12, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

KU Alumni Association President Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, was unanimously elected by the national board of directors in November 2015. Get to know President Peterson through this six-part series titled Meet Heath. Enjoy!

What is your most memorable KU sporting event?

I have two.  I will never forget when we unleashed years of frustration on the gridiron against Nebraska at home in 2007.   We won 76-39.  After winning on the road at KSU, at CU, and at Texas AM, we knew we had something special in the making.  The other event was easily the 2008 Final Four.  Beating Carolina, winning the title in dramatic fashion, and then taking over Rita’s on the River Walk is about as good as it gets.  The only thing better would have been to be able to walk out of the arena onto Mass Street!

Last week, we found out Heath’s hidden talent. Next week, find out who Heath’s favorite professor at KU was, and read the advice he has for today’s students.  Email us at share@kualumni.org.

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