Yell leader remembers early spirit squad years

Posted on Jan 30, 2017 in Alumni News and News

KU Spirit Squad alumni 1960
Pete Anderson, f’60, recently reminisced about his time on the KU Spirit Squad. The post below was originally published on the KU Spirit Squad Alumni Facebook page, and is reprinted here with permission. Check out their page each Monday for a new alumni feature.

We had no budget. Dick Wintermote of KU Alumni was our sponsor, and we were supplied with the heavy red sweaters and a “letter jacket,” and the jacket had to be returned at the end of the season. We paid our own expenses for the most part; some of the squad had cars so we got to go to Manhattan, Ames, Columbia and maybe a few other places. We practiced in the Union building once or twice a week. This was just the beginning of the acrobatic era and we did very little at that time. I think Dick Wintermote saw the future with more gymnastics coming along…and wow…now it’s awesome.

Late August 1958, Dick Jones, our head cheerleader, brought over ten megaphones. I painted them all white, and then put on the red KANSAS and the persons name on the back. It was quite a job but I was excited to be a part of the squad and to do the megaphones. We supplied our own white pants and black and white saddle shoes, and the girls had white pleated skirts and a “jerken” in blue as they called them; sort of a slip-over-the-head sleeveless sweater garment. We all thought we were hot stuff at that first football game. We soon learned how HOT the heavy wool sweaters could be.

KU Spirit Squad alumni 1960

One highlight was meeting Louie Armstrong who was playing at the Union. The team came in after a game and he struck up “When The Saints Come Marching In.” Imagine standing right next to Louis Armstrong with your team right there…incredible.

Ken Gray and I were both Phi Psis on the team and our house was proud of our participation. Carol Abernathy was my partner and she was great. Jane Perry was from Lawrence so I had known her all through school. Ann Underwood married KU basketball player Lynn Kindred who later became an MD…as did Howie Elfeldt and Ken Gray. Heather Grayham was a tiny girl and we called her “Heather The Feather.”

Sadly I have lost track of all the gang, but have seen Jane Perry off and on through the years. Three years ago we moved to a town home at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor, and while sorting out 36 years of stuff from our house, I found my red sweater in a bag with moth balls…all those years, and in perfect condition…so I donated the sweater to the Booth Hall at Allen Field House. Dick Jones’ daughter brought in his sweater and megaphone also. Representing KU was, and is, always a pleasure.

I look forward to the Kansas Alumni magazine throughout the year and often recall familiar names from yesteryear.

Pete Anderson
Class of 1960

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Kansas Athletics plays Cupid | Justin & Ashley

Posted on Feb 10, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Whether it was in the midst of Budig 320 or over a crunchy chicken cheddar wrap at the Market, hanging out on Wescoe Beach or at a network watch party years later, countless Jayhawks owe their marriage to their time on the Hill. We’re sharing some of our favorite stories this week in anticipation of Valentine’s Day on Saturday, Feb. 14.

img_valentines_ashley_jtAshley (Schlotzhauer) Thornton, d’07, and Justin (JT) Thornton, c’10.

Ashley, advertising manager for Kansas Athletics and a former KU cheerleader, shared the story of how walking down the Hill led to walking down the aisle.

How did we meet? Well it’s true…we met at a bar, Johnny’s Tavern North. We even held our wedding rehearsal dinner upstairs!

When we first met, Justin (JT) was a red-shirt freshman on the Kansas football team. I was in my senior year and was a KU cheerleader—yes, everyone teases us about the football player/cheerleader combo! We dated for what seemed like forever since I was four years older and all my friends were either getting engaged or married. 

After five years of dating, JT proposed to me at his graduation party, shortly after walking down Campanile Hill. Both of our families were there and I was 100% shocked!

We were married on March 4, 2011, which is the late Dr. Bob Frederick’s birthday. He was a dear friend and my professor at KU while I studied Health and Sport Management. Dr. Frederick was a former athletic director at KU.

We’ve been married four years in March and have two little Future Jayhawks: Isaiah, who just turned 3, and Ellis, who is 16 months old. Justin is the general manager for Centerplate, a food and beverage service that is currently the concessionaire for Kansas Athletics, and I work for Kansas Athletics in the marketing department.

See more of our Jayhawk couples online and send us your photo! To have your photo included in our album, please email a JPG image to

Please include:

  • Names of the couple
  • KU degree information if applicable
  • Wedding date
  • Brief story of how you met

By sending us your photo, you consent that the photo will be included in the Jayhawk Wedding Album on the KU Alumni Association Facebook page.

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