At this time of year we joyously celebrate our newest assembly of graduates and wish them well in their personal and professional journeys. And then something powerful happens. Our new alumni apply what they’ve learned here, add more knowledge along the way, and, given a little more time and some hard work, emerge as leaders.
Our alumni give so much of their time, treasure, and talent to the University of Kansas that it is truly uplifting. One intangible gift they offer, specifically for KU students, is inspiration. These Jayhawks combined their knowledge, experiences, and KU connections and then fashioned them into remarkable success.
Throughout the year, the schools and the College make a point to recognize a handful of alumni who are shaping their workplace, their fields, their communities, and society. On Friday night, the School of Pharmacy recognized alumnus Joe Courtright, CEO of USA Drug, now part of Walgreens.
This weekend the School of Law presented its top alumni honor to three graduates, Judge Karen Arnold-Burger chief judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals; John Bowman, partner with King & Spalding LLP; and William “Brad” Bradley Jr., founder of NIC Inc. In September, the College feted diplomat and executive Delano Lewis, and the School of Architecture and Design announced three recipients of its inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards.
In February, the School of Music delivered its first Outstanding Music Educator Award to Kelli Baker during a statewide music educators workshop. In the coming days, the School of Business and the School of Engineering will announce honors for some of their luminaries; the School of Education will honor alumna and Superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas, School District Cynthia Lane with KU’s Friend of Education Award; and the School of Social Welfare will recognize excellent field instructors, many of whom are program alumni, with the annual Margo Award.
Delano Lewis. Photo by Brian Goodman Photography.
The recognition of our Jayhawks isn’t limited to academic units. Achievements come from near and far. Music alumnus and organist Brian Mathias was recently selected to join one of the nation’s biggest gigs, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Over the past year, two of our alumni, Diane Yetter and Terry Putney, were named among Accounting Today’s 2017 “100 Most Influential People in Accounting.”
Closer to home, the KU Alumni Association presented its 2017 Fred Ellsworth Medallion to College alumnus John Mize and B-School alumnus John B. Dicus, who, incidentally, is now the first third-generation recipient of the award. In October the Black Alumni Network of the KU Alumni Association celebrated nine alumni — including Associate Dean of Engineering Andrew Williams and Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs Reggie Robinson — with the Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award.
Our institution-wide pinnacle, KU’s Honorary Degree, is regularly bestowed upon influencers, change leaders, and innovators, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos.
Students, the abundant success of our alumni tells us something valuable: It’s important to take calculated risks and seize the opportunities as they appear to us. Be bold as you embark on your careers. As faculty and staff, we’ve seen your potential firsthand. We know you’re destined to succeed. Promise me you’ll maintain connections to KU — social media can’t do it all. Make a point to really stay in touch with each other and this great institution. What you know matters. Who you know matters, too.
One day in the future, and sooner than you might think, you too will be an inspiration for a fresh generation of KU graduates. You have it in you to be a leader. We know because you’re already a Jayhawk.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Keil Hileman believes that the best way to teach students history is to bring the history to them.
NBC’s Left Field, a studio that creates documentaries for social media, recently visited Hileman, d’93, g’96, at Monticello Trails Middle School in Shawnee, Kansas. The segment featured his “Classroom Museum,” a room full of artifacts that began as a personal collection and continues to grow due to community support.
As the video racks up views and shares, we reached out the KU alumnus to hear more about NBC’s visit, his time at KU, and his goals for his students.
What was it like having NBC visit your classroom?
It was a great adventure for my students and I. We had a great time meeting two amazing videographers. They have traveled the world doing stories and chose to come see what we do in our “Classroom Museum” each day. Very cool honor for all of us and our community.
What have people been saying as the video gains in popularity?
There have been lots of new artifact donations and people offering to help financially. The museum budget is currently ¼ of what it used to be so any artifacts or support is appreciated. My emotion and compassion for my students has really struck a chord with people across the country. They see how much a teacher can care about their students…. and why. My favorite connection so far has been with teachers who want to know how to start their own museums and artifact collections. It’s very exciting to see a cool idea spread.
What influences your teaching style?
I have worked hard to simply teach my students in the most effective ways for 25 years. If what I was doing did not work, I threw it away and found a better way to connect my students to the history of the world around them. I continue to use unanswered questions as a way to guide my student’s problem solving and analysis skills. This was a valuable lesson taught to me by Dr. Joe O’Brien, an amazing and awarding-winning teacher in the KU School of Education. He changed my life and allowed me to go on and change the lives of my students by opening their minds, touching their hearts and defining their dreams.
What do you hope students take away from your class?
I want my students to become lifelong learners. I want them to find a passion for something and hold on to it. I want their passion to fuel their life experiences. We have a museum credo… or belief statement:
Explore… Empower… Excel… Explore your World Empower yourself and others Excel in everything you do
Keil E. Hileman is one of 50 teachers profiled and celebrated in the book, “American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom,” by Katrina Fried. The publisher notes three intentions: “To bring everyone interested in America’s future into 50 classrooms to experience public education first hand; to inspire other teachers through sharing ideas, innovations and successes; and to inspire administrators, parents and policy makers to listen deeply to the thoughts expressed by these teachers about education. Hileman was the Kansas Teacher of the Year in 2004. He was also featured in the Winter 2004 and Fall 2012 issues of the The Jayhawk Educator, a publication of the KU School of Education.
It’s time for our sometimes-annual roundup of holiday cards from departments across the University of Kansas campus.
KU School of Music
The KU School of Music’s video greeting includes original music and animation by Leslee Wood, a graduate student working on a doctorate in musicology. The music is performed by the Bellissimo bell choir, directed by KU alumnus Jackson Thomas.
KU School of Law
Dean Stephen Mazza and the entire KU School of Law family are wishing Jayhawks an easy, breezy holiday season filled with peace & good cheer. Their greeting gives a playful nod to Dean Mazza’s area of expertise, tax policy and procedure.
KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
As the fall semester drew to a close, the College took the time to thank those who makes the KU experience special for everyone involved with a snowy picture of the bronze “Academic Jay” outside their office in Strong Hall.
Thank you, Jayhawks, for another fantastic semester. It’s you, our creative, compassionate and curious faculty, students, staff and alumni, that make the College the #HeartofKU. We appreciate all you do and hope you enjoy the winter break! pic.twitter.com/jhV3m7hWox
Mike Plank of Rock Chalk Talk sat down with Todd Reesing, starting quarterback of the 2007 Orange Bowl champion football team, to reminisce about that season and share what he’s been up to in Austin. Read full article.
Shala Mills was awarded the Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement, which was established in 2014 to honor exemplary faculty leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students. Mills, l’88, is chair and professor of political science at Fort Hays State University. Read full article.
The Office of Administration announced that Governor Greitens has appointed Guy Krause as Director of the Office of Administration’s Division of Personnel. Krause, l’90, has worked for the Office of Administration in various human resource and personnel positions since 1995. Read full article.
Michelle Larrabee-Martin and Greg Martin, owners of Kolo Collection in Atlanta, are featured in this article. The couple offers materials and design services in their business. Greg is a Kansas native who holds a law degree from KU. Read full article.
Kristi Rivera, d’08, g’10, always knew she wanted to be a teacher, and she has taught at Delaware Ridge Elementary in the Bonner Springs School District since 2009. Her brother nominated her to be recognized as the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan. Read full article.
Three new Ethics Commissioners were selected and sworn in August 3 in Wyandotte County, including John J. Bukaty, Jr., who holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. Read full article.
Nearly 10 years after the 2007 Kansas football team became the winningest in program history, members of the squad will see their names become permanent fixtures at the university. The entire team will be inducted into the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame, and Aqib Talib, ’09, Anthony Collins, ’09, and coach Mark Mangino will be inducted as individuals. Read full article.
Barry Slatt Mortgage has appointed Thomas Cohen as senior vice president in the firm’s San Diego office. Cohen, l’85, has more than 20 years of experience in the mortgage banking industry. Read full article.
Shala Mills has been appointed assistant vice president for graduate and extended learning at SUNY New Paltz, according to the college. Mills, l’88, will join the college administration on Aug. 28. She currently is director of liberal education and the political science chairwoman at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. Read full article.
Kansas City’s culinary soulmates – barbecue and beer – are headed to the Power & Light District next spring in the form of a new locally owned restaurant. County Line Ice House is owned and operated by a newly-formed LLC that includes Jeff Stehney, j’84; Zach Marten, b’02, l’05, co-founder of Back Napkin Restaurant Group. Read full article.
Some phenomena in the ocean can only be witnessed after dark. Matt Davis, assistant professor of biology at St. Cloud State University explains “milky seas” in this article. Davis earned a PhD in ecology and evolution from the university in 2010. Read full article.
Spencer Fane LLP is pleased to announce the addition of Peter Goplerud, l’74, who joins the firm as Of Counsel and brings more than 40 years of legal experience to the firm’s Business Transactions practice. Read full article.
The Woodward family has a deep history in Lawrence, including the Round Corner Drug Store, which they owned and leased for decades. Pete Woodward’s great-grandfather was an early member of the University of Kansas Board of Regents, and his grandfather was president of the KU Alumni Association. Read full article.
Former Kansas forward David Magley has stepped down as commissioner of the National Basketball League of Canada after fulfilling terms of his two-year contract and will serve as president/chief operating officer of the new North American Premier Basketball League. Read full article.
Two-time PGA tour winner Gary Woodland, who ranks 10th on this season’s money list with four top 10 finishes in 11 events, is playing in his fifth Masters and first since 2015. He did not qualify for the tournament last year. Read full article.
As a graduate of the University and the last dean of women, Kala Stroup, c’59 g’64 PhD’74, has held many positions in higher education and still works with students to make the University an inclusive place. Read full article.
Linda Ellis-Sims spent her childhood in Independence, Missouri. Though her parents did not attend college themselves, they always placed a priority on education. Ellis-Sims gained an appreciation for math and science while achieving academic success in high school. An athlete in high school, Ellis-Sims also developed a strong passion for sports. Both of her interests factored into her decision to attend the University of Kansas. Read full article.
Susan Tabor, who was born blind, works for a service that provides both readings and information to those who are blind, visually impaired or print-disabled. After high school graduation, Tabor went on to pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degree in social welfare at the University of Kansas. Read full article.
A veteran, a state government leader, a CEO and a managing partner will be recognized with the University of Kansas School of Law’s highest honor. The awards will be presented at a private dinner April 8 in Lawrence. Read full article.
Teeter, b’71 g’75, has been working in analytics at KU for 45 years. Not only has she changed the way the University handles the data, but she has forever impacted the lives of those that work with her. Read full article.
Washburn University has hired former University of Kansas player and Wake Forest assistant Brett Ballard, d’04, to succeed Bob Chipman as head men’s basketball coach, the school announced Thursday. Read full article.
C.B. McGrath has been named UNCW’s 11th head coach of men’s basketball, the university announced today. His appointment is effective Tuesday, April 4. McGrath earned a B.A. in human biology and a master’s degree in education from KU. Read full article.
Faegre Baker Daniels partner Brandee Caswell, l’98, has been selected for the 2017 “Top Litigator” award by Law Week Colorado. The award is given to lawyers who excel inside and outside of the courtroom in plaintiff and defense work, and in trials and appeals. Read full article.
Topeka native and University of Kansas graduate Steve Tilford, a popular figure at cycling events in Lawrence because of his outgoing personality and area roots, died early Wednesday morning on Interstate 70 near the Utah-Colorado border, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. 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.
Ric Averill retired at the end of December as artistic director of the Lawrence Arts Center, where he worked for more than 16 years. But Averill, f’72, g’85, clarified that he’s not retiring from the arts. Read full article.
Former KU volleyball standout Sara Matthews was named head volleyball coach at the University of Delaware. Matthews, d’02, served the last two seasons as an assistant coach at TCU and has also previously served on the staffs at USC and West Virginia. She was a Jayhawk Scholar in 1999, and earned Big 12 All-Academic First Team honors in 2000. Read full article.
Kathleen Warfel, c’79, is among the three actors starring in Israel Horovitz’s My Old Lady, which opened Jan. 11 at Union Station’s H&R Block City Stage, who reminisced about their careers and shared tips for success. Read full article.
A year ago Austin Barone finished up a 21-hour semester, having crammed in enough hours to graduate in December. This year, his startup business, Just Play Sports Solutions, has clients nationwide. Barone, b’16, is a former kicker on the KU football team and credits The Catalyst, KU’s student business accelerator with helping boost his business. Read full article. Have you seen a story featuring a Jayhawk? Send it our way so we can include it in a future post! Email us at email@example.com.
Sonia Hall, c’11, PhD’16, works with the Genetics Society of America in a newly-created role as Program Director for Early Career Scientist Engagement. Read this Q&A with her to learn about why focusing on helping this group of scientists is so important. Read full article.
Former University Daily Kansan editor Rob Karwath, j’86, is leading a fundraising effort designed to preserve the Kansan so that other students have the same opportunities he had. The fund, called Kansan Editors’ Endowed Partnership, or KEEP, includes several journalism alumni on the steering committee. Read full article.
Matt Baysinger, c’09, g’11, is the owner of Breakout Lawrence and has owned a location in Hawaii since late 2015. On Christmas Eve, he was notified that President Obama and his family would be visiting Breakout Waikiki that evening. Read full article.
Matt Lindberg, managing editor of the Montrose (Colorado) Daily Press, was the only journalist granted an exclusive interview with Trump during his campaign stop in Grand Junction, Colorado. Lindberg graduated from the KU School of Journalism in 2008. Read full article.
Lawrence businessman Matt Lomshek, d’91, is a co-owner of Mass St. Mercantile, which recently opened at 738 Massachusetts. The store carries T-shirts and hats with Kansas and Lawrence slogans, as well as novelties ranging from wall hangings to decorative wine bottle stoppers. Read full article.
Landing your dream job isn’t something everyone gets to realize, but this article highlights several KU School of Journalism alumni who had big goals, worked hard and found their dream jobs as voices of the Jayhawks. Read full article.
A pair of Jayhawk lawyers have been instrumental in Jessie Traylor’s petition for clemency to the United State Department of Justice. Carl Folsom III, c’02, l’05, spent 30-40 unpaid hours writing up the petition, and Lawrence lawyer Rebekah Gaston, b’01, l’05, submitted it as a volunteer attorney. Read full article.
The voice of the Kansas Jayhawks, Brian Hanni, periodically catches up with former KU student-athletes and staff members. Take a stroll down memory lane with Hanni as he’s joined by former KU basketball player Ryan Robertson. Listen to podcast.
Have you seen a story featuring a Jayhawk? Send it our way so we can include it in a future post! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Johnson County District Court Judge Gerald T. Elliott, who was appointed to the bench in late 1990, will retire when his current term ends in January 2017. Elliott graduated from the KU School of Law in 1964. Read full article
Ric, f’72, g’85, and Jeanne Averill, d’73, g’80, have been part of Lawrence’s art community for over 40 years. Both earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University, and credit the local community for their success over the years. Read full article
Jeffrey Quong Li has joined the firm as an Owner, focusing on its China practice. Li, l’04, will be based in Washington, D.C., and will advice Chinese companies in strategic business activities in the United States. Read full article.
From his childhood in East Baltimore to his days playing safety for the University of Kansas football team, Smithson has witnessed the plight of men, women and children facing hardship. Smithson has tried to give back to the Lawrence community as much as he can — reading to students at elementary schools, visiting patients in the hospital, even ringing a bell for the Salvation Army. Read full article.
On Sept. 9, Robert Fairchild will step down from his position as the district’s chief judge, one he has held for about 14 years, and into the position of senior judge. Fairchild, l’73, worked as an attorney for 23 years and was appointed Division One judge in Douglas County in 1996. Read full article.
Chris Keary, who has been serving since Jan. 1 as interim director of the Public Safety Office and chief of KU Police, will assume the role in an ongoing capacity. Keary, c’83, holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from KU and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Washburn University. Read full article.
University of Kansas alumna Jean Kerich has been retired for over nine years, but that doesn’t mean she has retired from her passions. Kerich, ’60, still serves as a bus driver for the University of Kansas’s track and cross country teams. Read full article and watch interview.
Have you seen a story featuring a Jayhawk? Send it our way so we can include it in a future post! Email us at email@example.com.