Driving with Jayhawks: Curtis Marsh

Posted on Mar 28, 2019 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Every Jayhawk seems to know, or know of, Curtis Marsh. He’s the quintessential “KU guy,” overflowing with knowledge about everything Jayhawk-related from his years of managing KU Info.

Marsh recently started a new job at KU Endowment as the associate development director for the KU School of Music and the Lied Center.

Marsh, j’92, is in the passenger seat for this edition of “Driving with Jayhawks.” He shares tales of his favorite KU traditions— including a piece of history we bet you didn’t know— and the story of one of the greatest characters born in Allen Field House.

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Thanks to our postseason partner, Crown Automotive, for allowing us to use the Jayhawk car for this series. Click here to watch more “Driving with Jayhawks” videos.

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Driving with Jayhawks: David Johanning

Posted on Mar 23, 2019 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

We hit the road again for our next installment of “Driving with Jayhawks” with David Johanning.

Johanning, f’94, played basketball for the University of Kansas from 1992-94. He is currently the managing partner of The Sandbar, a popular bar in downtown Lawrence.

Johanning talks about what it’s really like to own a bar and his path to KU. Find out more about the game he’ll never forget being a part of. And, he shares some memories about playing for basketball coach Roy Williams.

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Thanks to our postseason partner, Crown Automotive, for allowing us to use the Jayhawk car for this series. Click here to watch more “Driving with Jayhawks” videos.

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Driving with Jayhawks: Heidi Simon

Posted on Mar 21, 2019 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

KU Alumni is Driving with Jayhawks!

Our first guest is Heidi Simon, senior associate director for freshman and transfer recruitment for KU’s Office of Admissions.

Simon, g’00, takes a ride down Jayhawk Boulevard with our host, Ryan Camenzind, j’17. She talks about what incoming Jayhawks need to know about KU, her favorite place on campus, and some of her favorite KU basketball memories.

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Thanks to our postseason partner, Crown Automotive, for allowing us to use the Jayhawk car for this series. Click here to watch more “Driving with Jayhawks” videos.

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Cleared for Lunch: ‘Free Food at KU’ then and now

Posted on Mar 5, 2019 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Kristopher Velasco | Free Food Finder and @freefoodatku
For years, University of Kansas students have used a Twitter account to find a slice of pizza here or a hot dog there.

Kristopher Velasco’s idea for getting the word out about free food turned into a staple for student-campus synergy. Students got the free food they wanted, and campus organizations got students to their events—all thanks to the succinctly named @FreeFoodAtKU account.

“When I was at KU, I spent nearly all of my time in the Union, and I saw so many events offering free food,” Velasco, c’13, said. “Over time, I became convinced that you could probably get free food every single day on campus if you just knew where to look. And as a poor college student, I knew that there were a lot of students out there like myself who would love to have this information.”

Love at First Bite

Soon after the first tweet, Velasco realized it wouldn’t have to be a one-man show.

“At first, I thought the account would primarily be successful because everyone loves free food,” he said. “I knew students would be interested in knowing about giveaways, whether it be pizza from the Dole Institute of Politics, hot dogs from the Alumni Association, or tea and cookies from SUA.

“What I didn’t expect was the support the account got from those giving out free food. As the account grew, organizations or departments holding events with free food would tweet at the account, hoping it would be shared and increase attendance to whatever they were promoting. That really helped the account take off because I became aware of so many more opportunities for free food. Even random students would tweet at the account letting us know about opportunities. It quickly felt like this was a tool everyone could benefit from, with students wanting food and organizers wanting students.”

As the man behind the curtain, Velasco faced a choice about revealing his identity.

“It was generally a secret. People close to me knew who was behind the account, but not a lot of people knew at first,” he said. “As the account became more prominent, though, and I would run into people I never met before talking about it, I would start to divulge. So over time it became well known who was behind it.”

Today, Velasco is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin working on a PhD in sociology. (No word yet on the quality of free food at UT.)

Free Food today

@FreeFoodAtKU is still active on Twitter today, tipping off students to campus events with giveaways. With food insecurity a growing issue, more options are now available for the campus community. The Campus Cupboard, a grocery store-style resource organized by the Center for Community Outreach, is open to anyone in need.

This year, the Student Alumni Network introduced the Free Food Finder. The calendar feed sends a push notification to students’ phones when there’s a bite to eat available. The Free Food Finder is available to all students at kustudentalumni.org and in the KU Alumni app.

Free Food Finder

Students, to find free food resources on campus, follow these steps:

  • Download the KU Alumni app.
  • Enable push notifications. We promise we won’t blast you with too many!
  • Register. Just tap “Register,”and enter your name and student ID number.
  • After you register, you’ll see a tile in the app called “Free Food,” which features a calendar that includes upcoming opportunities to find free food!

If your campus event offers free food and you want to include it on the app’s Free Food Finder, fill out our submission form. Events are added to the Student Alumni Network’s Free Food Finder calendar and promoted to KU Student Alumni Network members through email and push notifications. Only campus entities and KU Alumni partners are allowed to submit events for promotion. The KU Alumni Association reserves the right to decline submissions that don’t fit or align with our mission.

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Rock Chalk Revue celebrates 70 years

Posted on Feb 28, 2019 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

On the 70th anniversary of the University’s student-run variety show for a cause, the KU Alumni Association presents the past and present of Rock Chalk Revue.

Variety shows on KU’s campus trace back to “College Daze,” a revue sponsored by the student union introduced after World War II.

In 1949, Roy Wonder, b’50, wanted a campus variety show with higher student participation.

Check out our online feature to learn more about the storied history of Rock Chalk Revue, one of the nation’s largest student-run philanthropy events. The event has raised more than $1 million for community non-profit organizations throughout its history.

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KU Mentoring connects current, aspiring sports communicators

Posted on Jan 10, 2019 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Dayton Hammes, Jayhawk Career Network

The KU Mentoring program offers students the chance to get their burning career questions answered by those who know best: people in their career field.

Dayton Hammes, a sport management student and communications intern for Kansas Athletics, took advantage of the platform to connect with a pro in her dream field of college athletics communications.

Andrew Sherwood, j’08, has worked in collegiate athletics since graduation, including two years with the Williams Education Fund. We sat down with Dayton to hear more about her experience.

How did you and Andrew connect?

I was looking for a KU alumnus in college athletics to talk to, and a coworker recommended Andrew to me. I reached out to him on KU Mentoring and he was more than happy to talk!

What did you talk with him about?

As someone who wants to pursue a career in collegiate athletic communications, he shared a lot of his own personal experiences in the industry and what to do to continue finding new opportunities. We actually had the opportunity to meet in Dallas over fall break, and we are still in contact today!

Why would you recommend students use KU Mentoring?

The platform is a great resource for students that might not have many connections in their industry of interest. Personally, I already had several mentors in the industry, but the platform is great for students who aren’t sure how to make the first move to find that go-to person for advice. It’s great to immediately have a connection with alumni on the platform by being Jayhawks.

What advice do you have for students for using KU Mentoring?

Reach out to alumni and don’t be afraid to meet or set up a call with one! Alumni want to help students be the best they can be.

The Jayhawk Career Network provides a central hub to coordinate career connections and networking opportunities for students and alumni at every life stage. KU Mentoring is part of the Jayhawk Career Network and provides a mentor matching program for students and alumni to create connections as well as provide professional insight and opportunities. The Jayhawk Career Network is open to all KU alumni and students.

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Top 18 Stories of 2018

Posted on Dec 21, 2018 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Fraser | Top 18 Stories of 2018

As 2019 approaches, it’s time to take a look back at our year with our top 18 stories of 2018. These are the stories most liked and shared by the Jayhawk community. Thanks for a great year!

Top 18 Stories of 201818. KU Mentoring connects neuroscience student with surgeon

Thomas Angel took the long road to the University of Kansas, but he’s making sure his time here counts. Thanks to the power of the KU Mentoring platform, Angel connected with a practicing surgeon who he will shadow over winter break.

17. Remembering Chancellor Shankel

The University family lost an extraordinary Jayhawk and truly dedicated leader in Chancellor Emeritus Del Shankel. Shankel twice led KU through pivotal transitions as interim chancellor, from 1980 to ’81 and 1994 to ’95. The Kansas Board of Regents officially designated him KU’s 15th chancellor in 1995.

16. Giving Thanks to KU Mentors

In honor of the season, the KU Alumni Association thanks the thousands of Jayhawk students and alumni who have joined KU Mentoring. More than 3,500 users have registered on the platform, and we’re excited to help the next 3,500 make a connection with the Jayhawk Career Network.

15. He’s got it if he can find it

Rod Ernst, third-generation owner of the iconic downtown Lawrence hardware store Ernst & Son, died Jan. 23, the store announced on its Facebook page. Ernst is the subject of a feature story in issue No. 1, 2018, of Kansas Alumni.

14. Simply the Best

2018 Debate championship team | Top 18 Stories of 2018

At the beginning of the fall semester, University of Kansas debater Quaram Robinson refused to set her sights on winning the National Debate Tournament, the annual four-day showdown of the best competitors in college debate. She feared she would only set herself up to fail. But here she was, eight months later, in the championship round of the NDT in Wichita. Robinson and her teammmate, Will Katz, had just delivered their final rebuttals late in the evening of March 26, the last day of the tournament.

13. KU to honor Rob Riggle with Distinguished Alumni award

Rob Riggle, one of the most recognizable Jayhawk alumni, was honored this year with the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Kansas. He visited Lawrence in November to accept the award.

12. KU Alumni Conversation: 120 Years of KU Basketball

KU alumni Curtis Marsh, j’92, and Creighton Coover, b’98, g’01, sat down to talk KU hoops and recall their all-time favorite Jayhawk players and memorable moments on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of basketball at the University of Kansas.

11. Les Miles announced as Head Football Coach

Les Miles, a national championship-winning former coach at Louisiana State and Oklahoma State, has been named the new head football coach at the University of Kansas, Kansas Athletics Director Jeff Long announced Sunday.

10. University of Kansas names Jeff Long director of athletics

University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod today named Jeff Long as the university’s new director of athletics. Long brings more than two decades of experience in athletic administration at the Division I level, most recently at the University of Arkansas. During that time, he transformed Arkansas’ athletics department into one of the most successful in the country and established himself as a national leader within intercollegiate athletics.

9. Bawk Chalk: Alumni construct creative hen house for their brood

Top 18 Stories of 2018

What started as a means to pass time between NCAA tournament games turned into much more for Jarrod, f’95, g’03, and Kate Neely Williams, ’97, who this spring masterminded the construction of Alhen Field House, a wildly creative chicken coop built in the likeness of KU’s legendary basketball arena.

8. Holiday Vespers

At a university brimming with history, the story of a monthly concert in the early 1920s turning into one of KU’s longest-running traditions is filled with twists and turns. For 94 years, Jayhawks have celebrated the holiday season with Vespers. Our annual holiday greeting for alumni featured a look back at this storied tradition.

7. Pay Heed: ‘Beware of the Phog’ banner turns 30

In 1988, a couple of KU students hatched an idea, created a banner and left a legacy that has come to define KU’s storied Allen Fieldhouse, known to many simply as “the Phog.” Thirty years later, the friends and KU alumni reunited to reminisce about the banner and how it all came to be.

Top 18 Stories of 2018

6. Front and Center

A finger-snap ago, Central District was nothing more robust than an artist’s rendering, a wish list, part of a master plan for what our beloved campus could one day be, how it should live and breathe and teach and embrace, for the next half-century or more. Less than two years later—“We tried to build it as fast as we could,” said one project architect—and this thing is done.

5. Traditions Night

At the start of every fall semester, anxious KU freshmen fill the stadium for Traditions Night, a rite of passage where they learn about the cherished traditions of old KU. Year after year, KU puts on a show. And there’s always a showstopper.

4. Sign of the times: KU student goes viral at College GameDay

Whenever ESPN’s College GameDay comes to Lawrence, students know to bring their A-game when it comes to signs. In between the signs cheering the Jayhawks and jeering the West Virginia Mountaineers, one student took a jab at the channel broadcasting the whole event.

3. Hard Stories

Drawing on her background as a daughter of rural Kansas, one writer is challenging America to face up to its class divide. Sarah Smarsh, c’03, j’03, published her first book, Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, and took aim at stereotypes and assumptions. Smarsh was featured on the cover of issue No. 5, 2018, of Kansas Alumni magazine.

2. Campus icon ‘Tan Man’ to celebrate 75th birthday, and you’re all invited

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.

1. The Walk

Commencement | Top 18 Stories of 2018

Students gather on Memorial Drive on a Sunday morning, grouped up by their schools. Friends, siblings, parents and grandparents line the sidewalks on the way to Memorial Stadium. As they cross through the World War II Memorial Campanile and begin their descent down the Hill, graduates take their final steps as students into their future as KU alumni. Our Commencement feature reviews the history of this beloved Jayhawk tradition.

And there you have it — our most popular articles and features of 2018! Perhaps not surprisingly, stories that feature KU traditions or nostalgic memories of time on campus resonate strongly with Jayhawks, and we hope to bring you more of these pieces in 2019. Rock Chalk! 

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Jayhawks give back during second annual KU Cares Month of Service

Posted on Dec 3, 2018 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

The second annual KU Cares Month of Service gave Jayhawks the chance to meet each other and support their communities at the same time. Alumni in 23 cities across the country organized 27 different events.

The KU Alumni Association set out to have participants share the spirit of the holidays by giving back to people in need.

Here’s a sample of the many awesome events that alumni network volunteers organized. Thanks again to all who participated!

Phoenix Jayhawks: Lunches for the homeless

KU alumni in Phoenix packed meals for people in need at St. Vincent De Paul’s “Hearts and Hands” event.

Phoenix volunteers | second annual KU Cares month of service

Twin Cities Jayhawks: Halloween Supply Drive

Minneapolis Jayhawks started the month of service a day early: a night early, to be exact. They partnered with the St. Louis Park Emergency Program to spend their Halloween forgoing candy and collecting supplies for a local homeless shelter instead.

Twin Cities Jayhawks | second annual KU Cares month of service

Portland Jayhawks: Oregon Food Bank

A small group made a big difference in Portland. Six Jayhawks showed their love for their city with two and a half hours of work leading to 455 packaged meals.

Portland Jayhawks |second annual KU Cares month of servicePortland Jayhawks | second annual KU Cares month of service

Milwaukee Jayhawks: Breakfast for military families

Area Jayhawks got to work to thank area veterans and their families by cooking breakfast at the the Fisher House, a temporary housing option for military families. Families stay at the house while their loved one receives care at the Medical Center.

Milwaukee Jayhawks | second annual KU Cares month of service

Denver Jayhawks: Watch party with a purpose

Local alumni started their watch party season with a purpose. The group collected more than 500 items for the St. Francis Center, a local homeless refuge.
Denver Jayhawks | second annual KU Cares month of service

KU Cares Month of Service may be over, but Jayhawks can get together to support their communities anytime! Visit the KU Cares page for more information, and reach out to your local network leaders to organize an event in your area.

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Jayhawk Career Network Profiles: Carlos P. Beltran

Posted on Oct 17, 2018 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Carlos P. BeltranThe KU School of Journalism and Mass Communications invited alumni back to its Home on the Hill for J-School Generations, a two-day homecoming event.

One of the highlights was J-Talk, a TED-talk style event featuring alumni sharing stories of lessons they’ve learned through their careers.

Carlos P. Beltran, c’09, j’09, discussed his experiences as a digital content producer, both as a freelancer and for NBC Left Field, a documentary unit that profiles human-interest stories such as a KU alumnus’ classroom museum.

We sat down with Beltran to ask him more about his time at KU and his advice on choosing what to do after graduation.

When did you know what you wanted to do your career?

Ever since I was a child running around with a camera I knew I wanted to do something with video. It wasn’t until my second year at KU that I switched to journalism and decided to do it for a living.

As for what kind of video, it wasn’t until 2013, when I finished a fiction project that took two years of my life and it didn’t pan out the way I wanted. I decided I didn’t need fancy equipment and huge crews. I knew that with a camera, a microphone, a great subject, and my editing skills, I could make good work, and I dedicated myself to documentary filmmaking.

How did you get involved with such a cool production like NBC Left Field?

The unit opened a year and a half ago in Brooklyn, and after freelancing in Venezuela for a couple years I was looking for somewhere to settle down. My good friend Mariana Keller, who works at NBC News Digital told me about the opening, and after sitting down with the leader of the unit they liked my work enough to bring me on.

How did your time at KU help you get to where you are now?

I learned everything from ethics, to how to approach networks with my work, the basics of narrative and storytelling, and of course editing over at Dole, spending days editing on Final Cut Pro 7 in the media labs. Here you’ll learn how to be a great journalist, out there, you practice being one. Once you leave, don’t think you’ll get the perfect job right off the bat. You’ll go through times where you’ll discover what you don’t like to do. It might take years, it took me from graduation in 2009 to 2013 when I realized what I really wanted to do.

What advice do you have for those starting out in their careers?

When I graduated from school, I thought I wanted to work at an ad agency, or work in video, and I wasn’t getting what I wanted. I immediately thought I maybe should go get my masters, but I never did. Someone told me “if you want to be a documentary filmmaker, go make documentaries.” Go make one, and then you’ll have a business card. If you want to work in this industry, don’t wait until someone commissions you. If you find an amazing character, then shoot the story. That two minute video that you produced independently shows your skills and that you’re passionate about your work. Go shoot something, make yourself a portfolio.

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