In the summer of 1966, 25 high-school graduates who attended KU’s Science Camp were selected as research apprentices from a pool of 100 participants. Fifty years later, nine of those former apprentices returned to the Hill for a reunion at the Adams Alumni Center.
“Everybody was thrilled to see all the different people,” says Jim Bredfeldt, c’70, m’74, a reunion attendee. “Of course we told the usual war stories. But we also talked about what we’ve done and where we are now.”
Chancellor Emeritus Del Shankel, who directed the camp from 1965 to ’68, hosted the attendees and gave them a tour of campus during the two-day event.
“It was really very nice,” says Shankel, assoc. “It was especially nice to see that a bunch of smart, nice kids had turned into a bunch of successful, nice adults. I really enjoyed seeing them.”
The camp, which promoted and enhanced science education for high-school students, was part of the Midwest Music and Arts Camp and was partially funded by the National Science Foundation, which in 1965 provided $5,065 for the apprenticeship program and $21,525 for the general camp.
As participants in the apprenticeship program, students enjoyed the privilege of returning to campus the following summer to test their science skills and assist University faculty members in their laboratories. Of those chosen in 1966, seven went on to attend KU, and the majority pursued advanced education, obtaining doctorates and master’s of science degrees.
Photo courtesy Jim Bredfeldt
Back Row: Bonner Bowden, c’70, Bullard, Texas; Ben Withers, Houston; Phil Coop, Memphis, Tennessee; Tanai Starrs, Aspen, Colorado; Edith Lord, c’70, Rochester, New York.
Front Row: David Paden, d’70, Lawrence; James Bredfeldt, c’70, m’74, Bellevue, Washington; Michael Terrin, Baltimore; William Wehrbein, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Twelve alumni are the 2015 recipients of the KU Black Alumni Network’s African-American Leaders and Innovators award. The network, sponsored by the KU Alumni Association, will honor them Saturday, Sept. 26, during its biennial reunion. Ten recipients will attend the event, and two will be honored posthumously.
The KU Black Alumni Network also will posthumously honor Michael E. Shinn, e’66, who helped found the network and the Leaders and Innovators Project in 2006. The award will be renamed for Shinn, who died in March, and his wife, Joyce, of Highland Heights, Ohio, who will attend the event.
Biographies of this year’s honorees are available here.
When the Alumni Association’s Gold Medal Club gathered April 11 at the Adams Alumni Center for the annual reunion of alumni who have passed their 50-year class anniversaries, participants witnessed a most unexpected site: Warren Corman at a loss for words.
Corman, e’50, was asked by Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, the Association’s vice president for alumni programs, to step forward and be recognized—not for his work as a Gold Medal Club counselor, but to accept a Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award, which recognizes Jayhawks who have demonstrated years of dedicated service as KU ambassadors in their local communities.
Though the “Millies”—which honor the memory of the late Association stalwart Millie Clodfelter, b’41, whose service to KU spanned 47 years—had been announced last fall, Corman did not know he would receive his recognition at the Gold Medal Club reunion.
“It was kind of a surprise,” Corman says. “I didn’t know what to say, but it was fun.”
Fun, it turns out, is a key element to Corman’s legendary good humor and easy-going manner. He served as University architect from 1996 to 2010, and before being hired at KU by Chancellor Robert E. Hemenway, Corman spent 31 years as staff architect and director of facilities for the Kansas Board of Regents.
He was a combat veteran as a U.S. Navy Seabee at the Battle of Okinawa, and shortly after enrolling at KU Corman used the engineering experience he gained in the Navy to land part-time work with the state architect, Charles Marshall, who had been a friend of Corman’s late father, architect Emmett Corman, a’25.
“In 1947, on the first day on the job, Charlie called me in,” Corman recalls. “We were drafting on something, I forget what it was, but he said, ‘Warren, are you having fun?’ I wasn’t sure how to answer that. Should I be having fun or not having fun? If you’re having too much fun, maybe you’re not taking your job seriously. I didn’t know what to say.
“I said, ‘Well, Charlie, I’ve only been here a few hours.’ He said, ‘Well, Warren, I want you to remember this: If you’re not having fun in your job every day, you’re probably in the wrong job.’ I’ve never forgotten that. Every day I think about that. That’s why I’m 88 and I’m still working and having fun.”
A 2011 Kansas Alumni magazine cover story about Corman’s retirement as University architect speculated the Corman would never fully embrace a life of leisure in his retirement. Indeed, in May 2012, Stuart Bell, then dean of the School of Engineering, hired Corman as a part-time consultant to help the school navigate its ongoing construction and engineering projects. Michael Branicky, who replaced the departed Bell in 2013, retained Corman’s services.
“I’m adviser to the dean for all the engineering projects,” Corman says. “And it’s been fun.”
Alpha Kappa Alpha, KU’s first historically black sorority, held its centennial celebration earlier this month. The Delta Chapter was originally chartered Feb. 15, 1915. Audrey Lee, j’76, g’78, reflected on the festivities, which included events for current and alumnae members of the sorority as well as for the general public.
“We came to KU. Saw a Sorority. It was the AKAs. And they looked good to me.”
Those words, sung by the sorority sisters who pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha in the 1970s, brought back memories and a lot of bonding during our sorority’s reunion Feb. 13-15 in Lawrence. Not everybody knew each other when we arrived on campus for the Centennial Celebration, but it was like Six Degrees of Alpha Kappa Alpha. We were all connected through one another. It was great.
I stepped out of my car and immediately called out someone’s name who pledged four years after me. As I walked in the door, a young sorority sister asked if I knew her mother. Of course, her mother had pledged with me. It was a time of renewing friendships and making new friends. While posting on Facebook, I got a message from a sister in Kentucky who let me know that one of the women in my picture was one of her best friends. That was amazing.
Katherine Idelburg, who pledged in 1949, was the most golden of the sisters there. It was impressive to see the women in pledged in the 1950s who came back and all still have a strong bond with one another. They told us the stories of living in the sorority house. When I pledged in 1974, we no longer had a house. Each generation had their stories to tell, and each generation had their own strolls and chants to perform.
During the weekend, we reviewed the history with the representatives from University Archives. We raised funds for the Willow Domestic Violence Center and dedicated a bench on campus. We were greeted at a gala by KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. Our featured speaker was the AKA Mid-Western Regional Director Jan M. Carpenter-Baker.
It was exciting. I had a friend drive me around campus and stop so I could take pictures of Strong Hall and the Campanile. The campus has grown so much and is so beautiful—just as beautiful as my ladies of the pink and green.
Pictured above: Members of the Delta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Golden Sorors and Madam Regional Director making service donations to Willow Domestic Violence Center.
Four winners attended the event, including Homer Floyd, d’61; La Vert Murray, c’71; Julie Robinson, j’78, l’81; and Lynette Woodard, c’81. Illness prevented Leslie Meacham Saunders, c’73, of Roswell, Ga., from attending.
Four alumni were honored posthumously: Wilbur Goodseal, d’52, g’62; Chester I. Lewis Jr., c’51, l’53; Marie Ross, c’44; and Cheryl Warren Mattox, f’72.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little attended the banquet and congratulated the award-winners for breaking down barriers not only on campus but also in Lawrence. “Even after our own practices caught up with our ideals, those students still had to cope in the surrounding community,” she said, adding that she is concerned that “new barriers of income and class are reoccurring in a way that would take us backward. Who knew that some students now do not have the opportunities we did in the 1960s and ’70s?”
Floyd, of Harrisburg, Pa., retired after 41 years as director of Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission. He was the first African-American co-captain of the KU football team. “Coming to KU as a student-athlete helped me to understand what was important and why I should advance equal opportunity programs in the country,” he said. “A lot of things could be done legally it we just did it right. I found the job of a lifetime in Pennsylvania.”
Murray, who has helped revitalize Kansas City, Kan., as one of the developers of the Village West/Legends shopping district and the Kansas Speedway, recalled that as a student he was inspired by the inscription on Spooner Hall: Whosoever Findeth Wisdom Findeth Life. “I don’t know if I found wisdom,” he said, “but the University of Kansas set me on a glorious path in pursuit thereof.”
As he returned to his table, his young granddaughter said, “Great job, Papa,” to the delight of the crowd.
Nancy Dawson, now a college professor who began working at the Kansas City Call at age 14, accepted for the late Marie Ross, who was a regional leader among journalists, defying those who told her African-Americans could not succeed in the profession. “I’m a flower from the seeds she planted,” Dawson said.
Robinson, who since 2002 has served as a federal judge in Topeka, was the first African-American woman to serve on the federal bench in Kansas. “Other than my home and my mother and father, this is the place that inspired and motivated me,” she told her fellow alumni.
Woodard returned to campus from her home in Houston, where she is a financial adviser. A member of the KU women’s basketball team, she became an Academic All-American, Olympic gold medalist, the first woman to play for the Harlem Globetrotters and a member of 10 basketball halls of fame. She holds the KU scoring record of 3,649 points during her career, and she was the first woman to have her jersey hung in Allen Field House. “It’s an honor to be here among so many friends,” she said, adding special thanks to KU professor Bill Tuttle, who introduced her during the ceremony. “He has been my friend since 1977, before he even knew I could play basketball.”
After returning to her table, Woodard glanced into the hallway to find that another old friend and classmate had arrived to surprise her: Darnell Valentine, c’81, who played for KU from 1977 to 1981. Valentine, a former Olympian and NBA player, now a representative of the NBA Players’ Association, happened to be traveling through town on a business trip from Portland, Ore., and had stopped to watch the men’s team practice. He greeted the crowd and congratulated Woodard and the other Leaders and Innovators.
The chapter also honored Dorthy Pennington, g’70, PhD‘74, as a distinguished faculty member; alumnus Bill Fleming, c’67, for his distinguished service; and KU senior Fatoumata Bayo for her leadership of the Black Student Union and other campus organizations.
The chapter’s business meeting on Saturday morning launched the Black Alumni Chapter Scholarship Campaign. During the weekend, alumni contributed more than $50,000 to support incoming and current outstanding African-American students. Following the meeting, the group took a campus bus tour with Blane Harding, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs Director. On Saturday evening, Phi Beta Sigma fraternity members presented a step show to enthusiastic applause from alumni.
The weekend concluded on Sunday morning with friends old and new gathering at different locations around Lawrence for worship services and continued reminiscing. The weekend was a great success, and we hope to see everyone back in two years!
Watch the slideshow below to see pictures from the reunion events, or click here to view the photos on Flickr.
As you’re planning travel in the months ahead, remember to reserve a few days in early October for a return to the Hill. Homecoming 2013 will celebrate “Jayhawks Around the World” with daily campus activities beginning Sunday, Sept. 29, leading up to the KU-Texas Tech football game Saturday, Oct. 5, in Memorial Stadium.
The Alumni Association and the student-led Homecoming Steering Committee selected the theme and accompanying logo to celebrate the University’s global reach in terms of international students and faculty, research discoveries that change the world, and the achievements of KU alumni, who live in 150 countries around the globe.
The student director of KU’s 101st Homecoming is Erica Witty, a senior from Kingman majoring in business management. She will work closely with Alumni Association staff members and advisers Nikki Epley, director of reunions, and Jacey Krehbiel, alumni programs coordinator.
Other Steering Committee members and their duties include:
Awards: Natalie Scott, a senior from Topeka majoring in psychology
Campus Outreach: Abigail Buchanan, a junior from Chaska, Minn., majoring in business management and marketing; Rylie Durham, a senior from McKinney, Texas, majoring in journalism; and Danny Sanchez, a senior from Lenexa majoring in Spanish and global and international studies
Community Outreach: Chloe Fischgrund, a junior from Leawood majoring in marketing; and Esteban Marquez, a senior from San Juan, Puerto Rico, majoring in human biology
Publicity: Annie Drape, a junior from Leawood majoring in English and film
Parade: Holly Lafferty, a senior from Fairway majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, and Elle Rose, a senior from Hutchinson majoring in pharmacy
Each year, alumni gather to celebrate their 50-year anniversary of graduation from the university.
Members of the Class of 1963 flocked to the Hill this weekend for reunion events including golf at the Lawrence Country Club, a tour of the Spencer Museum of Art, presentations and bus tours of campus. The reunion’s kickoff lunch featured a panel of KU students, including the 2012-13 student body president, Hannah Bolton, and leaders from the Student Alumni Leadership Board.
Class members were presented with their gold pin commemorating 50 years as a graduate during a ceremony in the ballroom on Friday night.
On Saturday, members of the Gold Medal Club met for their annual luncheon. The Gold Medal Club was founded in 1949, and each year in April the club hosts a Gold Medal Club pinning luncheon to elect the slate of new officers and recognize class members who have not yet received their gold pin.
Reunion attendees also enjoyed a presentation of “There’s No Place Like Home,” the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about the purchase of Naismith’s rules.
Click here to see photos from the Class of 1963 reunion, and click here for photos from the Gold Medal Club reunion. Or, watch the slideshow below.