Check out what fellow Jayhawks are up to in our biweekly edition of “In the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Labette County District Judge Jeffry L. Jack has been appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in one case on the court’s Tuesday docket. Jack was appointed a Labette County district judge in 2005. He graduated from the KU School of Law in 1987. Read full article.
Gregory Benefiel was confirmed as the next McPherson County Attorney Thursday evening. Benefiel, l’06, is currently an assistant attorney general for the state of Kansas in the criminal litigation division. Read full article.
Mahesh Daas, dean of the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design (Arc/D), and the school’s Dean’s Advisory Board have announced the names of Arc/D’s inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards. They are furniture designer Wendell Castle, designer and community planner Silvia Vargas, and architect Jim Walters. The Young Architect-Designer Award recipients are architects Justin Cratty and Kenneth Simmons. Read full article.
Visual artist Nick Strange’s life revolves around his art. Strange, a University graduate who majored in visual art with an emphasis on printmaking, recently returned to his alma mater to design the solar eclipse promotional posters seen around campus. Read full article.
Andy Hyland didn’t win when he appeared on “Jeopardy!” and in a way, maybe that’s a good thing. Hyland, who is an assistant director of strategic communications at the University of Kansas, was a contestant on the game show episode that aired Monday, Sept. 18. Read full article.
A new restaurant opened on Mass Street in downtown Lawrence recently. Stonewall Restaurant and Pizzeria features a unique combination of authentic New York-style pizza and home-cooked classics like fried chicken options. Joe Kieltyka, a University alumnus from New York City who opened and operated the original Stonewall Pizza in Lenexa in the late ’70s, co-owns and operates the restaurant. Read full article.
Bill James, baseball historian and analytics pioneer, and his daughter and researcher Rachel McCarthy James, chronicled a 15-year killing spree in small-town America that they believe was committed by one serial killer who hopped on and off trains. Read full article.
Stephen McAllister, a distinguished professor at the University’s law school, was nominated to serve as the United States Attorney for the District of Kansas by President Donald Trump on Sept. 8. McAllister earned his bachelor’s from the University in 1985, and went on to graduate from the University’s law school in 1988. Read full article.
The University of Kansas has changed significantly over the past 20 years. Alumni, including Alumni Association staff member Jennifer Sanner, reflect on the changes in this feature from the Kansan, part of a larger special feature about the decade. Read full article.
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has named R.J. Melman as the new president of Chicago’s largest restaurant group. His father, Rich Melman, founded the company 46 years ago. The younger Melman earned a degree in political science from KU in 2001. Read full article.
Allen County, Kansas, has been named as a 2017 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize winner. Dave Toland, executive director of Thrive Allen County and a graduate of the university, shares more about what the prize means. Read full article.
Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at email@example.com, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine.
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.
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.
Remember Matt Gowen? We featured Gowen, j’95, on our blog back in February around Valentine’s Day. A writer and team lead for humorists at Hallmark Cards, it’s no wonder he tends to wax sentimental when thinking about KU. We all do. The difference is, writers put pen to paper, as he did in this contributed essay which captures the feeling we all once had prior to leaving the nest. Enjoy! –David Johnston
One morning in the spring of my senior year, I remember walking up the hill behind Fraser Hall with the sun coming up, not a bit of wind, not a cloud in the sky.
As I made my way past Watson Library toward Murphy Hall, I stopped at the top of the path near Stauffer-Flint, where I’d spent so much time that year cranking out the UDK with my fellow J-Schoolers.
Then I stopped and just stood there.
For several minutes.
This was before all humans had cell phones, so I couldn’t reach in my pocket and pretend to be staring at the screen, which is today’s default response when we have random moments of quiet. With nothing to distract me, I began to scan the horizon, drinking in the panorama of Mount Oread and taking long, slow, deep breaths, to the point where passersby possibly thought I was a stealth marketer for nasal spray.
Then I said to myself: “Remember this moment.”
Silly, I know. But I wanted to be deliberate about it because it felt iconic, that sense that you’ve fully, finally become your own person.
I’ve had other iconic moments in my life since then: getting that first job as a reporter, my wedding day, my kids being born, and being interviewed by the Alumni Association (!) because I’ve been writing valentines and other stuff for Hallmark for the past 15 years.
But there’s nothing quite like that sense of suddenly owning your life, that feeling that from now on it’s Me, Inc.
The future? Yep, there it is, right in front of you. It’s packed with promise and possibility and all the things people say at commencement.
But before you walk through the Campanile and down the hill, there’s a moment. A deliriously perfect limbo that you’ll never experience again.
You’ve rocked some classes, maybe scuffled through a few others, possibly had an internship or two. You’ve probably had a few beverages at (fill-in-the-blank favorite bar), thrown confetti inside Allen Fieldhouse, sat on the hill for a football game, bowled at the Union (sadly, no more), seen brilliant works at Spencer Museum, watched incredible Lied Center performances from Broadway musicals to Rock Chalk Revue.
In short, you’ve mastered the art of being a Jayhawk.
And that’s when it hits you: it’s time to take that mastery out into the world!
For me, it was that Tuesday morning in March more than 20 years ago. And in that moment, I could see the endless ways my life could unfold. I thought about the many decisions I could make, stretching out to infinity. But not yet! Because in that moment, all those choices were still my perfect little secrets. The world did not know anything about me yet. My story had not yet been written.
The path was right there in front of me.
All I had to do was take the next step.
But just for a second, as I gazed out at the bright blue sky, it seemed like I might be able to do more than that.
Because maybe, just maybe, being a Jayhawk teaches you how to fly.
The following was shared with alumni members as an April Fool’s Day joke on April 1, 2015. Our playful prank, which included a “new” logo added to the website, fooled more than a few alumni, but by sundown everything was back to normal, and everyone was let in on the joke. We’ve kept the post for posterity, but don’t be fooled again! What follows is pure folly and is not to be believed. Proceed at your own risk:
At the end of 2014, we asked alumni to vote for their favorite Jayhawk, and hundreds of you responded. In January we shared the results of the survey, and the winner, with a whopping 27% of the vote, was the 1941 “Fighting” Jayhawk.
KU alumni spoke, and we listened.
So starting today, a new era begins for the KU Alumni Association, with an old twist. Today we are proud to announce our new logo and brand identity that pays tribute to KU’s history and tradition, while echoing the voice of KU alumni.
The Fighting Jayhawk Returns
Our new logo proudly features the Fighting Jayhawk, originally designed by student Eugene “Yogi” Williams in 1941. Williams, who worked as a cartoonist for the University Daily Kansan, created the Fighting Jayhawk with a more aggressive demeanor, reflecting the mood of campus and the country in the midst of World War II.
Though the Fighting Jayhawk was replaced as KU’s official symbol by a happier version in 1946, Yogi Williams’ version never went away entirely, attesting to its popularity. As of today, it’s been called back into action.
We expect the rest of the university to follow the Alumni Association’s lead, adopting the Fighting Jayhawk everywhere from KU business cards to the center of James Naismith Court, including the mascots. While Big Jay is already imposing enough to intimidate opponents, a new “Fighting Baby Jay” will strike fear into the hearts of children who dare support KU opponents.
Don’t be fooled by today’s announcement, as logos are often here today and gone tomorrow. We appreciate all of the proud members of the KU Alumni Association who voted for their favorite Jayhawk, giving an old bird a fighting chance.
The editorial board of the University Daily Kansan announced it will cut publication of the print edition of the newspaper from four days per week to two, starting fall 2015. Currently, the Kansan is printed Monday through Thursday, but starting with the fall 2015 semester, it will be printed on Monday and Thursday each week.
The decision, made by The Kansan student management team, its advisers and The Kansan Board, introduces a shift toward digital reporting. The full announcement can be read online at kansan.com.
Members of the editorial board explained the rationale that led to the decision.
“We believe the money used to print and distribute Tuesday and Wednesday papers can be allocated more effectively in a way that will best benefit our readers. We aren’t changing the news — just how you consume it.”
Informing a generation accustomed to getting its news from smartphones and laptop computers remains a challenge for Kansan staff, the announcement explained.
“A top priority at The Kansan is to tell meaningful stories. By utilizing online resources, we can tell better ones. We are able to include videos, photos, galleries, tweets and links in our stories, which will improve the overall reader experience.”
The Kansan, traditionally known on campus as the UDK, has been regarded as “the student voice since 1904.” Editor-in-Chief Brian Hillix assures readers that will not change. Hillix and Kansan Advertising Director Sharlene Xu discuss the upcoming changes in the video below, also available on YouTube:
President Obama’s visit to the University of Kansas marks the first time in more than a century that a sitting president will have visited campus. The KU community took to Twitter and other social media platforms to share their excitement. Here are a few highlights curated among KU students, alumni and friends.
At the end of 2014, we asked alumni to vote for their favorite Jayhawk online, with a promise to share the results in early 2015. Well, the votes have all been tabulated, and we’re ready to reveal your favorite. More than 1,000 votes were recorded by KU alumni from all around the world in a contest that came down to the final week, with almost half of the Jayhawk variations leading the vote total at one point or another. In the end, one bird soared above the rest, earning 27% of the total. Without further ado, the winner is…
1941 “Fighting Jayhawk” by Yogi Williams
In 1941, a student named Eugene “Yogi” Williams created a version of the Jayhawk that was much more animated than his 1929 predecessor. Williams, who worked as a cartoonist for the University Daily Kansan, the Jayhawker and the Sour Owl, made a more aggressive Jayhawk that quickly gained favor as America plunged into World War II. The newly adopted “Fighting Jayhawk” served KU during wartime but was soon replaced after the war by Hal Sandy’s happier, smiling Jayhawk that reflected the national mood. Although the Fighting Jayhawk had the second-shortest tenure among all of KU’s historic ‘hawks, alumni voted it their favorite.
According to the KU Office of Trademark Licensing, the popularity of the Fighting Jayhawk shouldn’t come as a surprise. It has proven to be a favorite of fans and alumni alike, based on retail sales. Next to the current Jayhawk, the 1941 “Fighting Jayhawk” appears on more merchandise sold at the register, followed by another fan favorite; the 1912 Jayhawk designed by Henry Maloy.
How did your favorite Jayhawk fare? Check out the final results below, and thank you to all of the proud Jayhawks who voted!
Nothing was out of the ordinary with the look and feel of today’s University Daily Kansan, until you looked at the headlines.
University to charge for Wi-Fi in Fall 2014
KU to turn libraries into casinos to help grades
‘House of Cards’ inspires murder on Wescoe Beach
A quick turn to the sports section revealed similarly suspicious stories.
Smart Decision: Marcus Smart transfers to Kansas
Commentary: Soft schedule to blame for tournament loss
Allen Fieldhouse to be demolished
Okay, okay. I get it, April Fool’s. Sure enough, upon closer inspection, the real edition of today’s UDK was found inside a separate parody edition conspicuously disguised as the “IDK” (for the non-texting generation, an abbreviation for “I don’t know”). The joke was executed with impressive attention to detail, including faux horoscopes (Leo: Today is a 6. I dare you to go streaking down Jayhawk Boulevard. Literally, I triple-dog dare you. If you complete this challenge, your day will be a 100) and weather forecasts (Today: High 88, Low -15. Chance of snow, thunderstorms and tornadoes). After speaking with Kansan Sales & Marketing Advisor Jon Schlitt, the gag was confirmed to be the idea of the student-run newspaper staff, including Associate Web Editor Will Weber and Editor-in-Chief Katie Kutsko.
Kutsko reluctantly brought the idea up in a meeting about a week ago, and it was quickly embraced by the students. According to Schlitt, everyone agreed that it had to strike the right tone, and after several revisions the issue was delivered to an unsuspecting student body. Surely, alumni can’t recall such hijinx when they were at KU, but if so, our news tip hotline stands ready: email@example.com. The complete issue is embedded below, or you can click on the image above to view an online archive of the parody edition and other editions of the University Daily Kansan.
Following the tragic events that occurred this week at the Boston Marathon when two bombs exploded near the finish line, KU alumni have been sharing their first-hand experiences and perspectives:
Several KU alumni attended either as runners or spectators, including Clifton Railsback, e’97, a former KU distance runner, and Tiffany Francis, who is married to KU soccer coach Mark Francis. Peter Johnston, c’94, l’97, and his wife Sara, c’96, m’00, of Salina, also traveled to Boston with friends and fellow KU alumni Chris Rupe, c’00, m’04, and his wife Abby, c’01, m’05 (pictured together here).
Chris, a Salina surgeon, finished seconds before the first bomb exploded and rushed to assist medics on the scene. His story of heroism was reported locally in the Salina Journal and nationally by RunnersWorld.com.
Ramsey Mohsen, b’05, a Kansas City blogger and social media director, tweeted and blogged from Boston while there to support his girlfriend, Ali Hatfield, who also blogged about her experience. Mohsen’s blog includes a tweet-by-tweet accounting (pictured at right).
Another runner was School of Journalism alumna Colleen McCain Nelson, j’97, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and reporter for the Wall Street Journal in Washington, D.C. Nelson, who was editor of the University Daily Kansan while at KU, finished the marathon just before the bombing, and her personal account was published in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal. (Members might recall our feature story on Nelson in Kansas Alumni, issue 3, 2010.)
In Lawrence, many KU students joined an estimated 100 local runners in a “Run for Boston” event—similar to those taking place around the country—at South Park organized by KU alumnus Jon King, l’93.
Kansas City PR executive, Mike Swenson, j’76, posted this professional perspective on crisis communications and the news coverage that follows events like the tragedy in Boston.
Former KU basketball player Paul Pierce, ’98, (@PaulPierce34), who plays now for the Boston Celtics, shared this tweet with followers: “My prayers go out to everybody affected by yesterday. Boston, let’s come back stronger.”
These alumni join all of us in support of those affected.