It looks like a normal garage from the outside. Maybe it’s to keep the neighbors happy.
Inside, though, Rory Ramsdell’s two-year project of the ultimate KU garage is complete. His daughters now park in the middle of Allen Fieldhouse.
The big build
“I’ve envisioned this for a long time,” said Ramsdell, e’93. “I wanted to build a multipurpose garage with a gym atmosphere.”
The Shawnee resident built the entire building himself. Ramsdell drew on his experience as a mechanical engineer to design the structure, and he tried his hand at amateur photography for the Fieldhouse photos. He printed large sizes of the photos to cover the walls.
Highlights of the project include a programmable scoreboard, lockers for each family member, a TV for watch parties, and a ceiling covered in hand-sewn banners.
The Ramsdells loves hosting friends and family in the garage to watch games and entertain. Pickup games are also known to break out; there’s a hoop, plenty of balls in the lockers, and court lines painted on the concrete floor.
Allen Fieldhouse is special to plenty of Jayhawks, but Ramsdell put in time there as a student behind the scenes.
“I played baseball at KU, and my student work-study program was to do the baseball team laundry, which at the time was in the Fieldhouse. So I was there late at night doing laundry and homework, and sometimes the basketball players would ask me to rebound, maybe play 3 on 3 with them.”
Rory’s love for KU is matched by his family, especially with his daughter Raegan starting at KU in the fall.
“I’m really excited for her future, and hope she has as good of a time as I did as a student.”
The KU Alumni Association’s summer on the road continues! The alumni networks team has visited Jayhawks in San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and most recently, Omaha.
Omaha is home to 1,700 alumni, including network leader Holly Currie. Currie, c’09, g’10, organizes watch parties for KU games at the Good Life Bar and Grill. “The watch parties and the network have grown exponentially with Holly,” said Grace Knott, h’78. “She chose a great location.”
The happy hour brought together Omaha residents of all ages and levels of knowledge about their city. Knott has lived in Omaha for 40 years, while Ashlee Duffy, c’01, just moved to the city from Alabama this month.
The trips are part of a summer-long effort to encourage Jayhawks to volunteer in their local networks. “The best kind of event you can organize is one you are passionate about,” said Danny Woods, assistant director of legacy and alumni programs.
More trips are in store, with Woods visiting Oklahoma City and Tulsa next week.
Check out the KU Alumni Association calendar for more upcoming events. For more on how to volunteer in your network and the types of events you can help coordinate, visit the network volunteer page.
Pulley, c’77, moved to Sacramento in 1997 and has organized watch parties and other alumni events for Jayhawks since 1999.
Nick Kallail, assistant vice president of alumni and network programs, is impressed with Pulley’s efforts.
“Sacramento checks in with just under 600 alumni within 25 miles, but always compares favorably in event attendance and network Facebook activity with much larger groups,” said Kallail.
“The great connections within this network and love for KU was shared with Jayhawk Nation at the KU/Stanford Basketball game played in Sacramento this past December and is a testimony to the great volunteer work Joyce has done for the KU Alumni Association.”
Kallail will present the award to Pulley at a summer happy hour July 11.
About the award
The award is named for Dick Wintermote, c’51, who served as the executive director of the Association from 1963 to 1983. His legacy represents the importance of building a strong volunteer network, the need for a dues-paying membership program and establishing the KU Alumni Association as one of the premier associations of graduates in the country.
The Hawks and Highways tour stopped in Hutchinson for a Jayhawk tradition unlike any other. The ninth annual KU Alumni Invitational took place June 25 at Prairie Dunes Country Club.
The annual event brought members of the Presidents Club together to enjoy a round of golf with KU special guests. Chancellor Doug Girod, Bill Self, head men’s basketball coach, and Heath Peterson, president of the KU Alumni Association, all attended.
The foursome of Zach Dyer, Will Moore, Cameron Wilste and Kyle Tucker won the championship flight.
“The alumni invitational at Prairie Dunes is a fantastic event,” said Moore, l’06. “Having the opportunity to play one of the best golf courses in the world with fellow Jayhawks is an unbelievable opportunity. The event is well organized and always a great time. I look forward to playing every year.”
“First, it’s a great venue, a first class golf course,” said John Miles. “My group and I played last year and knew we had to come back. The Alumni Association and the Williams Fund do a great job setting up the event and making everyone who participates feel important.”
Kent Deutsch, Kent Richardson, Tommy Castor, and Chris Ugolini made up the first flight leaders.
The event was presented by Tickets for Less, a partner of the KU Alumni Association. Campus partners includingKansas Athletics the Williams Education Fund, KU Admissions, the School of Social Welfare, and the KU Medical School also attended.
Hawks & Highways is a multi-year effort coordinated by the KU Alumni Association and Kansas Athletics. Tour events feature appearances by KU coaches as well as university administrators and other special guests.
When the Charlotte Hornets announced a meet-and-greet for their newly drafted player Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte Jayhawks were there to welcome him to their city.
“I’m a native Charlottean and was six when the Hornets started. I’ve been waiting a long time for my hometown team to pick one of our guys,” said Rebecca Ferry, d’05. Ferry leads the local alumni network.
The meet-and-greet was extra special for Kelly Hunter and her son Luke. When the Hornets heard Luke was celebrating his 11th birthday, they pulled a few strings and sold him the store’s first Devonte’ Graham jersey.
The story gets even better: This wasn’t the first time Luke had met Devonte’. Luke and his mother ran into Graham two years ago while they were on campus.
On Luke’s 9th birthday.
“Devonte’ said he remembered meeting him,” said Kelly. “Luke thinks the Hornets drafting Devonte’ is the best birthday present ever.”
Read more about the 2018 NBA Draft, which saw former KU basketball players Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk drafted in the second round.
Alumni in Nashville, Tampa and Omaha also got together at their local watch sites to see where the Jayhawks would begin their NBA careers.
Going home again
The Big 12 Player of the Year didn’t have to wait long into the second round to know his destination, as the Charlotte Hornets traded two future second round picks to secure the first-team All-American at pick #34. Graham continues to be linked to his former backcourt teammate Frank Mason III, who was drafted with the same pick last year by the Sacramento Kings.
While Malik Newman and Billy Preston were not selected, their professional basketball careers are just beginning. Former Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr., who went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft and now plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, shared his advice:
Not hearing your name called tonight doesn’t mean a damn thing, its all about what you do now. Yeah be mad, but use that frustration as fuel to the fire to prove you belong. Take it day by day & work your ass off because the cream will always rise to the top. Thats just facts.
A crowd-sourced fundraiser to bring KU’s historically black Greek life organizations a space of their own recently reached its goal.
After more than $50,000 was raised, the Divine Nine Plaza will be created. The plaza will honor the history of the organizations and give its student members and alumni a place to come together.
The “Divine Nine” is a nickname for a group of nine historically black fraternities and sororities, led by the National Pan-Hellenic Council, or NPHC. The plaza will celebrate the organization’s history with a monument for each of the nine sororities and fraternities and a marker depicting the story of NPHC.
Darius Jones, coordinator for KU’s fraternity and sorority Life, oversaw the project, which was funded on LaunchKU. The crowdfunding initiative of KU Endowment helps raise funds for projects and passions that benefit the KU community.
“My students informed me this idea has been discussed in previous years, but it never lifted off the ground,” Jones said. “When it was brought to my attention, my NPHC president at the time, Tyler Allen, wanted to know how we could make this happen. Student Senate’s Diversity & Inclusion Chair, Abdoulie Njai, also liked the idea of supporting NPHC with this initiative.”
Plans call for the plaza to be located in KU’s new Central District, between the Burge Student Union and the Integrated Sciences building. Construction is expected to begin soon.
The plaza will also bring greater visibility to the NPHC organizations.
“When people think of Greek life, they often automatically associate it with a house or a facility,” Jones said. “Having a physical presence on campus with these monuments will bring more awareness of our historically black Greek-lettered organizations. With this increased visibility, it is my hope it will help our community grow.”
Jones credits a variety of groups for helping make the project possible. KU’s Office of Student Affairs, including Tammara Durham, vice provost for student affairs, and Jane Tuttle, associate vice provost, strongly supported the campaign. KU Endowment staff created the LaunchKU page and collaborated on the plaza.
“I’m extremely thankful for my NPHC students,” said Jones. “This was their vision they advocated for, and without that none of this would have happened. Lastly, I want to thank all of the donors and supporters of the campaign. We could not have surpassed our goal without the tremendous amount of support.”
For more on the Divine Nine Plaza fundraising project, check out the campaign’s page on launchku.org.
Wescoe Beach has been a central hub for KU students for decades, where students study, chat and chill between classes.
Thousands of students have spent time soaking up the sun in front of Wescoe. But KU students from the late 1960s through the 1980s remember one particular man’s legacy of relaxing on the beach.
John Schneider, more commonly known as “Tan Man,” spent the better part of three decades as a campus icon, sharing his charm and kindness with Jayhawks.
Alumni track down legend
Celeste Gruhin, ’79, and her fiancé, Marc Jasperson, b’78, were reminiscing about their times at KU when their memories of Tan Man came up. After some digging, the pair got in contact with him and met in Rose Hill, where he now lives. Schneider showed them his scrapbook of photos from KU, and Gruhin and Jasperson knew they wanted to help more alumni celebrate his role in KU and Lawrence lore.
Gruhin organized a get-together to celebrate Schneider’s 75th birthday. She created a Facebook event to help get the word out.
“The response has been crazy,” Gruhin said. “We’re hoping to keep the momentum going and make it a memorable event.”
The birthday party is set for 4-7 p.m. June 23 at Johnny’s Tavern in North Lawrence. The event is open to the public. Those who attend are invited to contribute photos of “Tan Man” to be added to a scrapbook.
Can’t make it to the party? Email your pictures and memories of Tan Man to us at email@example.com, and we’ll be sure to pass them along so they can be included in the scrapbook! For more about Tan Man, check out the Lawrence Journal-World’s article from 2006. Watch for more coverage of the birthday celebration in the next issue of Kansas Alumni magazine.
This is the first year of an effort to reach Jayhawks throughout Kansas by bringing the best of KU to their hometowns. The tour has visited Leavenworth, McPherson, Hays, Manhattan, Garden City and Pittsburg and has featured several KU guests, including athletic directors and coaches, campus administrators and Alumni Association staff.
“More than 150,000 KU graduates and former students live in Kansas,” says Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, Alumni Association president. “It’s a priority for us to connect with these Jayhawks in their communities to show our appreciation for their dedication and support.”
Speakers at the events shared sentiments of a positive trajectory for the University. Peterson reminded the crowd that total enrollment has grown for the fifth straight year. Matt Baty, d’07, senior associate athletics director, praised the relationship between Kansas Athletics and the Alumni Association, calling it “one of the best in the entire country.”
Future stops include the annual KU Alumni Invitational at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, along with a Salina event Monday, June 25. Chancellor Doug Girod and Head Basketball Coach Bill Self will headline an impressive group of Jayhawk leaders.
It’s easy to follow along with Hawks & Highways! Follow us on Instagram for stories from the events, or follow us on Twitter for updates. The Williams Education Fund Twitter account also provides information about Hawks & Highways.
The Kansas Union is full of KU history, but one piece was missing from public view for months. The scaled campus model, featuring a tiny Strong Hall, small Allen Fieldhouse, and minuscule Potter Lake, was undergoing its first major renovation since 2002.
Students Sarah Irby and Will Shadwick, both School of Architecture graduate students, worked on the project. “I committed to it before I saw the model,” Shadwick said. “Once I saw how big it really is, I wasn’t sure what I’d gotten myself into.”
Despite the small size of the campus buildings, the construction process was far from simple. Irby, a’18, and Shadwick, a’8, used blueprints from building constructions to ensure they correctly matched the model’s 1/100 scale.
The technology used to construct the campus replica has certainly changed since the model was last updated. While wood is still used for some features, advancements in 3D printing allowed for plastic modeling of buildings to the 1/100th of an inch.
No amount of technology can replace the time commitment needed to paint windows, replace trees, adjust colors, and all the other details that come with the first renovation in 16 years. “Early on we had to decide what we were going to change, and what we would leave alone,” Shadwick said.
For example, Memorial Stadium still has a track surrounding the field. “With major stadium renovations coming soon, we thought we’d leave that to students later on,” said Shadwick with a smile.
“We’ve been meaning to do this for a long time,” said David Mucci, director of the KU Memorial Union. “These students did a great job.”
Past renovations to the model, a gift from the class of 1962, took pace in 1969, 1971, 1976, 1985, 1987, 1995, and 2002. “Usually it’s a renovation every five years, but with campus changing so rapidly we’d be repeating too often,” Mucci said.
The model is available to view on the third floor of the Kansas Union, near the staircase.
Read more about the KU Memorial Union’s changes in recent years, including its newest student space, Union Square.