ROTC instructor documents military experience with ‘Story of the Jayhawk’

Posted on Nov 11, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Michael Hayes shoots a photo of his traveling ceramic JayhawkDuring his deployment to Africa in 2011, Maj. Michael Hayes was tasked with distributing care packages from the National Guard’s family program director to his fellow soldiers. He was surprised, after about seven months, to receive a gift of his own: a grim-faced ceramic Jayhawk, which resembled the KU mascot introduced in 1941.

“I didn’t want to just set it on my desk,” recalls Hayes, c’08, an ROTC instructor and assistant professor of military science at KU. “I wanted to take pictures and send them back to her to say, ‘Look! I got it. Thank you!’ That’s how the pictures started.”

Inspired by Travelocity’s roaming gnome, Hayes took Jay on all of his deployments and work-related travel, capturing his crimson and blue companion riding in Chinooks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and overseeing troops at bases throughout the country and overseas.
Michael Hayes

As his collection of photos grew, Hayes started a Facebook page, “The Story of the Jayhawk,” to document their experiences.

Although the small figurine has been broken and repaired twice and now travels in the safety of a Styrofoam cooler, Jay shows no signs of retiring to a space on a shelf. Hayes even sends the mini mascot on journeys with other Army cadets and friends.

“Jay’s traveled more than I have,” Hayes says, “and I’ve jumped all over the place.”

—Heather Biele

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Throwback Thursday: Homecoming 1993

Posted on Apr 3, 2014 in Alumni News and News

KU’s 102nd Homecoming celebration will take place Sept. 21-27 of this year, and we thought it would be fun to share photos and stories from past Homecomings to help get alumni, students and fans excited. So, we’re participating in the internet meme Throwback Thursday, a popular trend on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram where users post old pictures of themselves.

Despite the rainy weather, more than 500 people showed up for the 1993 Homecoming Parade. The ROTC contributed the mini fighter plane pictured below.

Homecoming.1993

The rain helped douse the Iowa State Cyclones as the Jayhawks came out the victors in the Homecoming football game, 35-20.

Check back next week for another look at KU’s rich tradition of Homecoming! We’d love to see your Homecoming pictures and hear your stories. Submit them to us at share@kualumni.org, or tag your pictures with #kuhomecoming on Twitter or Instagram.

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