The clock hit zero in Miami and red, yellow and white confetti rained down, some featuring tweets from Kansas City Chiefs fans and players. While every Chiefs fan would love to get their hands on a piece as a souvenir, a KU connection landed a full bag in the hands of a local artist with big plans.
Allison Smith, d’05, n’07, g’08, had a previous connection with Ryan Toma, a groundskeeper for the Chiefs and was keeping up with his experience in Miami through Instagram. She saw him post about the tweet confetti and loved it.
Fast forward to the next day, and Kansas City-based artist Megh Knappenberger, f’04, above, asked on Instagram how she could get her hands on some confetti for a project.
“I was on my way to the KU hoops game and happened to see Megh’s Instagram story asking if anyone had a ‘hookup’ or ‘connection’ for the confetti,” Smith says. “So, I messaged Ryan to see if he could spare some. They messaged each other and met up in person on Tuesday afternoon!”
As for the end result … we’ll see! That’s a lot of confetti to clean and dry.
Here’s hoping that this isn’t the last celebration for local teams this year. “Fingers crossed for another championship for KU in April 2020,” Smith says. “I’ve got a good feeling!”
A spring semester gift to the University of Kansas is already paying dividends.
On Feb. 7, Silicon Valley financial technology company Ripple awarded a $2 million grant to KU as part of the University Blockchain Research Initiative. The program focuses on accelerating academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments at top universities.
Ripple is led by Brad Garlinghouse, c’94, who serves as CEO of the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency and digital-payment processing firm.
One of the programs benefiting from the grant is the KU Blockchain Institute, a student-led organization that focuses on advancing KU’s standing in the fast- developing field of blockchain. The group is open to students from all disciplines, including engineering, business, economics, mathematics, science, health care and technology.
Daniel Jones, a senior from Owasso, Oklahoma, is president and co-founder of the KU Blockchain Institute. His interest in blockchain was sparked by attending industry conferences and studying abroad.
“I was able to network with seasoned professionals who seemed adamant that blockchain technology would be a huge disruption for their industry,” Jones says. “I remember thinking, ‘If these executives are so worried about this technology, maybe I should check it out.’ Incumbent firms may see blockchain as a major disruption, but the KU Blockchain Institute sees blockchain as a serious opportunity for student entrepreneurs to challenge the status quo.”
Daniel Jones, Brad Garlinghouse and Jack Schraad, co-founder and vice president of the KU Blockchain Institute
Since its launch in August 2018, the KU Blockchain Institute has hosted three large conferences, including an October 2019 conference on cybersecurity. Speakers from FedEx, Lockheed Martin, the University of Arkansas and IBM attended, as well as Garlinghouse.
So what exactly is blockchain?
“Blockchain uses applied mathematics and cryptography to create trust in any transaction,” Jones explains. “Blockchain is a verifiable data structure that creates trust or traceability through a transfer of value. The transfer of value takes place through a transaction around a digital asset. A digital asset can represent any piece of physical property or store of value.”
“Using distributed ledger technology, blockchain creates a direct peer-to-peer exchange system for the transfer of value. Blockchain is to value what the internet is to information.”
When Matt Lindberg reached out to us about a special 10-year anniversary surprise for his wife Sarah, we couldn’t pass up the chance to give the Life Members a tour of campus to see their alma mater, old and new.
Ten years since they last visited campus has been 10 years too long for this Jayhawk couple. Matt, j’08, and Sarah Strathman Lindberg, c’09, returned to Lawrence October 11 to find a campus filled with change, but still familiar.
Their day began with a trip to the Oread Hotel, a far cry from the pile of rubble that was once the Crossing. On the 9th-floor rooftop terrace, familiar sights mixed with the new: A giant apartment complex across the street from the nearly 100-year-old Memorial Stadium, and renovated Jayhawk Boulevard and Memorial Drive connecting historic campus buildings.
Next, a walk down Jayhawk Boulevard past Fraser Hall where the couple met in French class, and Watson Library, home to studying among the stacks.
“It still feels comfortable walking around. I recognize everything,” Matt said. “It still feels like campus to me.”
The tour brought the pair to Matt’s old stomping grounds at the School of Journalism and the University Daily Kansan, where memories of 2008 came back.
Matt was on the paper’s staff as a student, including serving as special sections editor his senior year.
“After KU won the title, Mario Chalmers came into the Kansan offices asking for a paper, apologizing for not having his KU student ID,” he said. “I think we gave him a dozen copies.”
From there, the couple trekked across campus to the new football complex, which has seen massive changes since the Lindbergs’ graduation after the 2007-’08 Orange Bowl season.
They were able to poke their head into the football facilities, in part due to their fandom: They spent the night camping for front-row seats in the student section during the Jayhawks’ 12-1 season.
The last stop on the tour was the DeBruce Center, where the couple got to check out the “Original Rules of Basket Ball,” an exhibition that features a recording of James Naismith describing his invention.
After a full morning of tours, the Lindbergs were sent off to explore Mass Street and Lawrence, thanks to gift cards from KU Alumni restaurant partners Papa Keno’s Pizza, Jefferson’s and Merchants.
In between stops to see the newest additions to the campus, the Lindbergs were happy to reminisce about memories of the little things.
“For me, it’s been walking up and down the hills,” Sarah said. “I did that so many times, and now here I am doing it again, except now I’m not going to class.”
For Matt, it’s a return to what was once normal. “Going into the Kansan room, I haven’t been there since I graduated. I used to be in there every day.”
Despite everything that’s changed, the campus contains a spirit that continues to last.
“It feels very much the same, but current,” Matt said. “Some things just haven’t changed, and I like it.”
At Andale High School, in the small community of Andale in Sedgwick County, one senior pulls straight into Allen Fieldhouse by way of David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
A recent and growing tradition, some high schools let their seniors paint their own parking spots, a fun way to show off their interests and art skills. Nick Summers, a senior at Andale High, teamed up with his grandfather to paint a Jayhawk masterpiece.
“I have always been a huge Jayhawk fan,” Summers says. “I go to all the home football games and senior night basketball game every year. Since I love both football and basketball I decided to combine them to make a parking spot.
“It took a lot of work; we used stencils that my grandfather made to get the details so exact. It took a lot of paint and a long time, about two weeks to finish.”
The end result is a sight to see:
So, is the University of Kansas in his future? Perhaps an art degree is in order.
“I plan on going to college after high school,” Summers says. “I have my heart set on Kansas but am exploring other options as well. It’s always been my dream to attend Kansas.”
Until then, he’s enjoying his senior year in style.
“All the teachers and students think it’s awesome, even the K-State fans!”
We love sharing stories of KU fans showing their Jayhawk spirit in unique ways. Send your story with pictures to email@example.com.
The plaza in front of Wescoe Hall has been lovingly referred to as Wescoe Beach for decades. This year, a group of KU students are making a splash with a proposal to turn the classic building into a real beach party with a rooftop pool.
The concept of the #WescoeRooftopPool began as a humorous crusade on Twitter, which continues to grow with some big names jumping in on the fun, including Athletics Director Jeff Long and former NBA player Scot Pollard, d’97.
“@StudentsofKU had been tweeting about it for a while and made a Photoshop version of it,” says Jordan Yarnell, an architecture senior from Elgin, Illinois. “Someone commented ‘let the architecture students handle this’ so we did. The three of us started to joke about it and then we realized it would be fun and pretty easy to do.”
Yarnell teamed up with fellow architecture students Jordan Vonderbrink, of Eudora, and Aaron Michalicek, of St. Louis, to create the designs. The results are a sight to see:
As fun as it is to dream, it’s worth asking: Could this really happen?
“Short answer is no,” Yarnell says. “We don’t know the structural makeup of Wescoe for what really has to be done. To add 200 thousand gallons of water, another whole floor, a deck, a lot more people, and more concrete, that’s a lot of work.”
Don’t tell Jeff Long, as he appears to be all in. Long has certainly leaned into the joke, teasing the public with promises we don’t exactly expect to come true.
This weekend marks the anniversary of an event that many Jayhawks would rather forget. The Crossing, a campus icon, was demolished in 2008 to make way for the Oread Hotel.
The building opened in 1923 as Rock Chalk Café. It served as a lunch haven for students and catered to soldiers during World War II. Through the years, it became a go-to spot for students to spend an afternoon relaxing on the porch or playing darts inside. And if a student was hungry, Yello Sub and the Glass Onion were right next door.
Andrea Graham and her college boyfriend, Brandon, were big fans of the bar during their time at KU in the early 2000s. “My boyfriend at the time, now my husband, threw me a surprise 22nd birthday party at the Crossing,” says Andrea, j’02. “We loved that place!”
After a new owner took over in 2006, the bar stayed open until the teardown date arrived. The nine-story hotel complex opened in 2010.
In total, the bar was open for 85 years at 12th Street and Oread Avenue. The bar’s name fluctuated as owners changed in the 70s and 80s. Monikers for the dive bar included New Haven, Catfish Bar ‘N Grill, and Rock Chalk Bar. It became known only as The Crossing in 1988.
When a group of KU students needed help connecting with alumni in New York City, the Jayhawk Career Network was there to help.
The KU Ad Club is a student organization that hosts professionals in advertising and marketing to discuss their career journeys. In April, the group took its biennial trip to New York City, home to one of the largest networks of advertising agencies. With an assist from the Jayhawk Career Network, 11 students were able to meet with KU alumni at multiple agencies in the area.
“It was a lot of work planning the trip,” says Wilcox, a senior in journalism and president of the Ad Club. “We had some connections from when we visited two years ago, and the Alumni Association helped us find more businesses with alumni. KU grads in New York are outnumbered by east coast schools, so when Jayhawks come by they really want to help you succeed.”
One of the highlights of the trip was a panel discussion at NBC, featuring five employees who got their start at KU. Jamie Cuthburth, b’95, senior vice president of integrated marketing at NBC, organized and moderated the panel.
“Some of the panelists didn’t even know their co-workers went to KU,” Wilcox says. “It was cool seeing them all working at such a prestigious company, and to know they were in our shoes at one point.”
The trip to New York also meant a chance to make a KU Mentoring connection in person. Wilcox had previously connected with Carol Journey Adler, b’09, an enterprise account executive at Apple.
“I spoke with her over the phone earlier in the semester, and she gave me good advice and recommended a couple of sales books to read,” Wilcox says. “We met at a KU alumni happy hour in New York, where I got a chance to meet her in person and continue the conversation.”
If you want to make connections with alumni like Stephanie did, the Jayhawk Career Network give students and alumni access to career resources, jobs, events, programming and connections at every stage of their career. Services include KU Mentoring, a job board, informational articles and more. For more information about the Jayhawk Career Network, contact Kristi Laclé, assistant vice president for the Jayhawk Career Network, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium approaches its 100th year, one researcher has set out to find untold stories of the historic building.
Howard Graham, g’09, spends his days in the Office of First Year Experience as associate director of academic programs. He’s also a doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
Graham’s dissertation has him deep diving into the history of David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. More than just memories from football games, Graham is looking for the experiences students, alumni, and fans have all shared in the building.
“I want to make sure we have living memories,” said Graham. “I want living stories for future researchers, for students, faculty and staff to be able to go into the archives and read your stories, and to best understand how Memorial Stadium has been a part of this community.”
Conversation with Howard Graham
David Johnston, vice president for strategic communications and digital media at the KU Alumni Association, sat down with Howard Graham to discuss the history of the nearly 100-year-old center of campus.
Part one includes discussions on the commonality of Memorial Stadium experiences, and Johnston, j’94, g’06, shared his own Memorial Stadium memories from attending the Kansas Relays as a boy, which led to him competing for the KU track and field team.
(If listening on a mobile device, click “Listen in browser.” If you already have the SoundCloud app installed, or want to install it, click “Play on SoundCloud.”
Part two’s topics include the first walk down the Hill for Commencement, the annual Traditions Night to welcome freshmen, and how the game of football has changed from its violent beginnings.
Alumni are invited to share their memories of Memorial Stadium, whether they include football games, track meets, traditions night, commencement, or any kind of gathering in the historic stadium set at the foot of the Hill.
If you have a Memorial Stadium experience you’d like to share, email your stories to Howard at email@example.com.