Jessie Blakeborough, a freelance reporter, college adviser and University alumna, created a Facebook page in January to plan a march to speak out in support of scientific research and science-based policy. Blakeborough, j’13, is one of four administrators for the march. Read full article.
“E 1200,” a new short crime drama written and directed by University alumnus Kalee Forsythe, will premiere at Liberty Hall. After going back and forth between getting her degree in film studies or architecture while at the University, Forsythe eventually decided to take a break from classes. Read full article.
Lisa C. Billman has joined SouthLaw PC as an associate attorney for the bankruptcy department located in the firm’s corporate office in Overland Park, Kan. She earned her law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law in 2011. Read full article.
Grant Babbit, c’12, jumped straight out of the film and media studies program and into Los Angeles as a successful freelance cinematographer after graduating in 2011. He plans to come to the University next fall to talk to the current film students about his experiences. Read full article.
Scott Gootee, b’03, l’05, a corporate finance partner in the Kansas City office of Stinson Leonard Street LLP, was named to the 2017 40 Under Forty list by Ingram’s Magazine, the leading business publication covering Missouri and Kansas. Read full article.
Governor Pete Ricketts announced his appointment of Julie D. Smith to the First Judicial District Court of Nebraska. Smith earned her law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. Read full article.
The keynote speaker will be Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall, appointed to the court in 2014. Stegall is a graduate of Geneva College, Pennsylvania, and the University of Kansas School of Law. Read full article.
Katie Barnett runs an animal law practice out of her home outside of Lawrence. The lifelong animal lover was inspired to attend law school after an incident with the police and a pit bull ban in Shawnee. She graduated from the KU School of Law in 2011. Read full article.
New York native and KU alumnus Joe Kieltyka, d’69, is bringing New York style pizza to Lawrence. His restaurant, Stonewall Restaurant and Pizzeria, will feature pizza, fried chicken, and other sandwiches and salads. Read full article.
Without the help of Topeka West High School teacher Corey Wilson, Brian Hanni might not be “The Voice of the Kansas Jayhawks.” Back in the mid-1990s when Hanni was a student at Topeka West, he wanted to explore sports broadcasting, but the school’s TV program didn’t offer the option. Wilson “moved mountains” to help Hanni learn how to call plays. Read full article.
The Prairie Band, LLC Board of Directors are proud to announce Jacob “Tug” Wamego will serve as the company’s President and CEO, a position he has held in the interim since May. Wamego, l’14, is a licensed attorney in the state of Kansas and Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. Read full article.
A tradition is building at the University of Kansas. A group of student veterans — many of whom are VFW members — are using their smarts, logistical know-how and passion for running to help their fellow vets. The run in November 2016 was the “biggest one so far,” according to the event’s co-director Randy Masten, g’03, assistant director of KU’s Office of Graduate Military Programs. Read full article.
Max Falkenstien started his radio broadcasting career in 1946. The first game he ever called was Kansas versus Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) in the NCAA tournament that year. His career spanned 60 years, and he retired in 2006. Read full article.
With a diverse background of academic and professional work in interiors, architecture, and planning, Christina Hoxie, g’08, g’09, looks for opportunities to develop richly interdisciplinary teams and collaborate with the people of each community to design places, strategize programs and create policies that will help to fulfill their shared vision. Read full article.
Kip Reiserer has no ties to World War II, but the 28-year-old Lakeview resident is obsessed with the topic. Reiserer, j’10, is the creator of wildly popular Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages devoted to World War II history, facts and photos. Read full article.
Brian McClendon, e’86, is leaving Uber after two years to return to his home state of Kansas. McClendon previously worked for Google for more than a decade and was instrumental in creating Google Earth. He indicated that he wants to explore politics. Read full article.
One of the University of Kansas’ more well-known — and most tech savvy — alumni is moving back to Lawrence from the Silicon Valley area, and it appears he may be eyeing a political run. Here’s another article about Brian McClendon’s pending return to Kansas. Read full article.
Ten months after learning about the sly and sweet story of a set of twins being named in his honor, Kansas senior Landen Lucas got the chance to meet them Saturday in the lobby of the team hotel before the Jayhawks’ practice. The twins’ parents are Ian, d’11, and Meredith Sadler, who live in Tulsa. Read full article.
The law firm of Hampton & Royce announced its elevation of Lee Legleiter from associate attorney to a member of the firm. Legleiter received his juris doctorate from the KU School of Law in 2011 and has practiced with the firm since 2011. Read full article.
Audiences all over the world saw the Kansas City skyline last year in “American Honey.” The film, which received six nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards — including Best Feature and Female Lead — stars actor Shia LaBeouf. Kansas City Film Commissioner Stephane Scupham, a 1999 graduate and University alumna, worked with the crew of “American Honey” for the duration of its stay in Kansas City. Read full article.
A documentary came out last year celebrating the life of that coach. “Fast Break: The Legend of John McLendon” was directed by University of Kansas film Professor Kevin Willmott who says McLendon is an American hero. In 1936, McLendon was the first black man to graduate from KU with a Physical Education degree. Read more and listen to podcast.
Plenty of people go back to school at a nontraditional age. But most of them don’t take classes for a doctorate at a school in which they are also a professor. Or while they are practicing law full-time. Or at the age of 72. But that’s exactly what Bruce Hopkins did when he decided to get an SJD at the University of Kansas School of Law, where he also serves as a professor from practice. Read full article.
The Center for Undergraduate Research highlights alumni accomplishments on their website. Rebecca Linwood, c’05, is featured this month. Linwood earned a degree in cell biology and is a senior scientist at Merck Animal Health. Read full article.
Nathan Muyskens, former Co-Chair of the White Collar Criminal Defense and Investigations Practice at Loeb & Loeb, joined the Washington, D.C. office of Greenberg Traurig. Muyskens earned a degree from the KU School of Law in 1995. Read full article.
Kayla Smalley sat down with Catina Taylor, co-founder of the V Form Alliance and founder of Dreams KC, to hear about her entrepreneurial journey in building a new tiny school in Kansas City. Taylor is a 1999 graduate of the KU School of Law. Read full article.
The New Orleans Pelicans have signed current D-League player and former Kansas star Wayne Selden Jr. The 6-5, 230-pound guard has averaged of 18.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assists this season with the Iowa Energy. Read full article.
William “Bill” Hougland, former Kansas men’s basketball player and the first player in Olympic basketball history to win two gold medals, died March 6 in Lawrence. He was 86. Hougland, b’52, was a former member of the KU Alumni Association’s national board of directors. Read full article.
KU’s new School of Business building opened its doors last May—and it’s already received several awards and national recognition. David Broz, a’97, an architect for Gensler says while conceptualizing the building back in 2009, the country was in a recession—and staff wanted to bring nobility back to business. Read full article.
After graduating from KU with a degree in design and visual communications, Claire Pedersen threw her energy into finding a job. She reached out to professional designers whose work she admired and asked if they could spare a few minutes for coffee or a phone call. She struck gold when a designer at Dropbox, the software developer, was impressed by Pedersen’s portfolio and arranged an interview.
“It started out as an internship for two months,” says Pedersen, a’14, who won several awards at KU and was honored as Outstanding Graduate in Visual Communication Design at Commencement. “They liked my work and they hired me full time.”
Now, just two years out of school, Pedersen can add another accolade to her already impressive résumé: She helped lead the redesign of Dropbox’s headquarters in the heart of San Francisco’s bustling South Beach area.
Pedersen explains that Dropbox’s offices were originally housed in two separate buildings, a layout that wasn’t conducive to the pace at which the company was growing. “When I started, I think we were about 500 people, and we got all the way up to 1,300,” she says. “We were expanding into different floors and we outgrew it.” In addition, the open-office floorplan, a trend embraced by many companies in the tech industry, led to unfortunate distractions among employees.
Dropbox purchased a new five-story, 300,000-square-foot building just a few blocks away—a blank canvas, according to Pedersen. “The whole exterior of the office was finished, but the interior was completely empty,” she says. “We basically had an empty box and we filled it with whatever we wanted.”
It was a designer’s dream.
After defining the challenges Dropbox employees faced in their current workspaces and figuring out which features would improve their productivity, Pedersen and a team of more than 30 designers, builders and project managers enlisted architecture firms AvroKO and Rapt Studio to help create a floorplan that would foster a culture of community.
“There are so many different types of people at Dropbox, and there are so many different teams,” she explains. “There’s finance, engineering, design, user-experience; it just goes on and on. We wanted to create a home where we could all come together.”
Pedersen is confident they accomplished that mission. At the heart of the building is Dropbox’s “tuck shop,” a full-service cafeteria that creates chef-inspired cuisine for employees to enjoy at no charge. Other amenities, including a workout center, a library, a music room and a deep-focus space, are distributed throughout the building so employees can easily visit at least one of those spaces from their workstations.
Pedersen’s favorite space is the library, which features pink carpet, cozy lounge chairs and warm natural light, in addition to architecturally stunning archways, built-in bookshelves and a sleek, rounded wood table that runs the length of the room. A small outdoor terrace with lush greenery completes the sense of calm in the room. “We wanted to design a space that, naturally, when you walked in you will be quiet,” she says. “It’s a really inspiring space to work; people are always in there.”
Response to the revamped headquarters has been overwhelmingly positive, and employees are still raving about its perks. “We went for something a little different in this office,” Pedersen says. “There’s a lot of color and personality. If we would’ve gone toward the whole minimal, modern look, I think people would have forgotten about it. But we really tried to infuse Dropbox’s unique, quirky culture into the space. I really don’t think the excitement has worn off.”
The Sensory Garden at KU’s Baehr Audio-Reader Center is a feast of stunning sights, sounds, smells and textures. Now visitors to the richly landscaped grounds can experience the new Sensory Pavilion, a structure designed and built last semester by 20 architecture students in the Dirt Works Studio of the School of Architecture, Design & Planning.
More than 100 people attended the pavilion’s May 13 dedication ceremony, including Randy Austin, c’63, l’67, and his sister, Colinda Austin Stailey, c’61. The siblings helped fund the project, which was built in memory of their uncle, Dr. Johnny P. Austin, who’s also depicted in a bronze bust in the garden.
Austin, a 30-year Audio-Reader volunteer and chair of its development committee, didn’t hesitate to help when he heard the garden’s old gazebo needed a replacement. “I thought we’d go over to Lowe’s and maybe pick out the 10-footer,” he joked, prompting laughter from the crowd.
The garden got something much better. Chad Kraus, associate professor of architecture who teaches the Dirt Works Studio, enlisted his third-year students to craft a distinctive pavilion made of rammed earth, steel and charred timber. Rammed earth is a signature component of all the studio’s structures and is created by combining locally harvested clay, cement and water and compacting the mixture using pneumatic ramming tools.
Kraus recognized his students and thanked everyone involved in the project. “If it weren’t for all of these generous and courageous people,” he said, “something like this could never have happened.”
Randy’s son, Ed Austin, e’94, also attended the event and passed out engraved bricks, which will be installed in the garden’s paths, to each student. “It’s just a really cool thing you all have done here,” he said. Also receiving bricks were Kraus, School of Architecture Dean Mahesh Daas and Frank Male Sr., a longtime Audio-Reader volunteer who maintains the garden.
Dan Skinner, ’79, director of Kansas Public Radio and Audio-Reader, explained that in addition to the bricks, a stone plaque commemorating Randy and Colinda’s generous gift will be added.
“This pavilion will be a signature part of this garden for many, many years to come,” he said. “It not only is the students’ good work, but it would not have been possible without the financial support of Randy and Colinda.”