Scholarship Hall Sweethearts | Nick & Susan

Posted on Feb 11, 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_blog_valentines_nick_susanSusan Melgren, j’10, and Nick Peterson, j’10, l’13

Susan and Nick were married August 4, 2012. Susan shared the story of how they met:

Nick and I met during Hawk Week of 2006. We lived in brother/sister scholarship halls (Grace Pearson and Douthart, respectively), and during the first couple days of Hawk Week our halls had a joint game night. I remember watching a group of freshmen boys walk into the room, led by a skinny, loud kid in plaid shorts. It wasn’t a great first impression.

We both enrolled in Journalism 101 that semester and ended up working on group projects together. After the semester was over, we continued to hang out under the guise of “Journalism Movie Nights.”

Campus was always the backdrop to our budding relationship. We sat together (and flirted) at sporting events, and often took romantic on-campus walks, ending at a bench overlooking Potter Lake. We were both four-year ‘schol-hallers’, and after we started dating, we even held the same executive positions in our halls two years in a row (social chair in ’07-’08 and president in ’08-’09)!

Photo by Jackie Cooper Photography

See more of our Jayhawk couples online and send us your own! To have your photo included in our Jayhawk wedding album, please email a JPG image to share @kualumni.org.

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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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 share@kualumni.org.

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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From classmates to soulmates | AJ & Gina

Posted on Feb 9, 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.

A.J. and Gina DeBacker | photo by Peyton Baldwin | www.kualumni.orgGina (Souders) DeBacker, j’08, and A.J. DeBacker, e’07

Gina and A.J. were married June 27, 2009. Gina shared the story of how they met:

I met A.J. when I was a freshman at the University of Kansas in 2005. I enrolled in a Taekwondo class to stave off that “freshman 15” you’re always hearing about, as well as to check off a pesky single credit for a well-rounded semester. I started out as a white belt when A.J. was a black belt. We didn’t talk much during class itself, but he did teach me a couple of forms and complimented my high kicks when we sparred.

We were both rather shy, so we really owe our eventual pairing to Mark Zuckerberg. As you may recall, Facebook launched in 2004, and even though A.J. and I shared class twice a week, it was via Facebook that we even started talking. Too shy to approach me, A.J. poked me on Facebook, I poked him back, and so on. This went on for awhile, and eventually we started messaging, still never actually talking face-to-face.

We made plans to meet up at The Granada for their weekly “Eighties Night” and ended up dancing the night away. He asked me out on an actual date the very next day. It wasn’t long before we became a couple. Of course I was initially attracted to him, but I soon fell in love with him. He’s funny, extremely smart, considerate and can even be charming on occasion.

This past year we celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary, as well as 10 years of being with each other.
We no longer practice Taekwondo, but we do enjoy “sparring” every once in awhile. And as it turns out, we were not the only couple to pair off from that Taekwondo class during the spring 2005 semester—three additional couples met in that very same class and went on to get married. It must have something to do with those darn doboks.

Photo by Peyton Baldwin.

See more of our Jayhawk couples online and send us your own! To have your photo included in our Jayhawk wedding album, please email a JPG image to share@kualumni.org.

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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KU Valentine round up

Posted on Feb 14, 2013 in Alumni News and News

The KU community certainly loves Valentine’s Day!

We enjoyed checking out the Valentine greetings from around the university today. Here’s a round up of the holiday messages we found.

KU Endowment asked current students “what do you love about being a Jayhawk?” They snapped pictures of the students, who were holding red hearts on which they’d written something they love about KU, near campus landmarks and compiled them into a Flickr set. Click here to see a slideshow.

KU History, a great web resource for anything you need to know about the university’s history, shared a cute image of James and Maude Naismith, circa 1927. James is holding a peach basket, and Maude is holding a ball. The headline reads “Love is a team sport.” Click here to see the photo on their Facebook page.

KU cheerleaders showed off their flexibility by stunting to create a heart. They posted the photo to their Instagram account. Click here to see it.

The KU School of Engineering folks shared some engineering-humor-themed Valentine cards on their Facebook page yesterday. An example: “You send me over the moon,” with a picture of an astronaut.   Click here to see the photo.

The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies shared a clever image featuring historical figures with Valentine twists on their names. An example: “Quit Stalin, be my valentine.” Click here to see the photo montage.

KU Parking made the not-so-fun topic of parking a little more fun and shared several Valentine cards that also subtly encouraged people to follow parking rules. Click here to see a funny one about parking permits, and click here for another one involving speeding tickets. And, they have a third one with parking-related candy hearts here.

KU Athletics posted a cute Valentine photo of Big Jay and Baby Jay posing in front of the famous “love” garage door on Mississippi Street. Click here to see it.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Jayhawks!

Who did we miss? Email us at share@kualumni.org to let us know.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Posted on Feb 13, 2013 in Alumni News and News

Meg from Paperman, short from  © Disney | www.kualumni.org

If you’re sweet on KU, have we got a treat for you!

Paperman, the Oscar-nominated short from Disney Animation Studios, stars a Jayhawk, Kari Wahlgren, c’99. The critically acclaimed short first appeared in theaters with Disney’s Wreck-it-Ralph and has been charming audiences ever since with the sweet tale of a chance encounter between George (animator and director John Kahrs) and Meg (Wahlgren), set in 1950’s-era Manhattan. Fate—and a few hundred paper airplanes—intervene to bring the happy couple together in this gem that’s just perfect for Valentine’s Day.

We caught up this week with Wahlgren, whose list of credits include theatrical and voice work in film and television, including appearances in Criminal Minds, Wizards of Waverly Place, numerous commercials and voice roles for Disney, Nickelodeon, HBO and Dreamworks. Reflecting on a career that has included everything from Shakespeare to Shrek (III), Wahlgren shared some advice for KU students looking to get into the business, and she talked about the thrill of working on Paperman. Our questions (in bold) and her answers appear below:

 

Kari Wahlgren | www.kualumni.orgWhat was it like to be involved with an Oscar-nominated short like Paperman?
When I went to Disney to work on Paperman, they showed me the short before we went in the recording studio. It’s the only time I’ve ever broken down in tears in front of clients! I was pretty embarrassed, but I think everyone in the room knew they had something special there.

How were you chosen for the part?
Disney requested me for the role, which was nice. I’d done a lot of voice work for them on ‘BOLT’ and ‘Tangled,’ and they thought of me when they needed someone for Paperman.

What did your involvement entail?
I did one recording session for Paperman, and it was pretty short—less than 30 minutes! Since the film is mostly silent, they just wanted some vocal ‘ambiance’ that they could experiment with. We played with lots of different vocal reactions in the session: snorts, gasps, breaths… I think one chuckle made it into the final mix. I’m actually glad they kept it mostly silent—I think it makes the short even more powerful that way.

How did you find out the short was nominated, and how did you react?
Someone told me that Paperman had been nominated for an Oscar on Twitter… gotta love social networking! I was thrilled—it’s a lovely film… the nomination was well-deserved!

Given your career in the industry, where does the experience rank among your other favorite roles?
I think this experience reminds me that you can still be surprised in your career. It was a very short day of work, but people have been so affected by the film, and I’ve received a lot of wonderful messages about it. It makes me feel really proud to have been a small part of the whole experience.

Meg from Paperman, short from  © Disney | www.kualumni.orgWhat are your fondest memories of KU and Kansas?
I loved my entire experience at KU—I’m really proud to be an alumna! Loved the Theatre department—I sponsor a small scholarship in the department now—loved going to basketball games, walking the campus… I still go back and visit when I can.

Do you stay connected with Jayhawks in California?
Yes, there is a really active branch of Jayhawks out here in Los Angeles… I even ended up working on a TV show with another alumnus recently! Every time I wear my KU ball cap, someone somewhere says hello!

What advice do you have for KU students looking to get into the biz?
For KU students looking to get into the biz, first of all: be proud of where you go to school! It’s not a disadvantage—there are Jayhawks working in every aspect of the business, and the skills and work ethic you learn at KU can take you really far out here! Networking is important… and always try to grow and improve in your craft. Enjoy the process!

 

Without further ado, enjoy this trailer for Disney’s Oscar-nominated animated short Paperman:

Thanks to Matt Friedrichs, c’96, g’00, for the tip. Have a story to share with us? Email us at share@kualumni.org.

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Five Valentine gift ideas for your favorite Jayhawk

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 in Alumni News and News

Valentine’s Day is this week, and love is in the air on the Hill!

If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for your favorite Jayhawk, we’ve got several ideas for you.

Basketball Jayhawk Valentine card | www.kualumni.org1. Jayhawk Valentine cards

Our creative director, Susan Younger, created six Jayhawk-themed quick-fold Valentine cards that you can print. Print one or all six, and then mail them to your friends and family, stick one in your child’s lunch box or slip one into your sweetheart’s pocket.

Whether you like basketball, candy hearts or Baby Jay, there’s sure to be a Valentine you’ll love.

2. A visit from Big or Baby Jay

If you’re in the Lawrence or Kansas City area, send a Jayhawk version of a candygram to your Valentine. Big or Baby Jay, looking dapper in a tuxedo, will deliver a special KU valentine that includes a candy bouquet, autographed photo and a 15-minute visit with your loved one.

The Rock Chalk Valentines are available on Feb. 13 and 14 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and cost $100. Click here for the registration form.

3. A romantic stroll on campus

A gift doesn’t have to be expensive; after all, it’s the thought that counts. Romance goes a long way! Take your sweetheart to a beautiful spot on campus like Potter Lake or the secluded fountain park behind Watson and Miller Halls. Hide a rose at the spot and pack a bag with chocolates and a bottle of wine or thermos of hot chocolate.

Tell your loved one that you treasure time together most of all, and plant a few memorable kisses that you’ll recall years later (and perhaps amuse your grandkids with!).

4. Jayhawk coloring sheets

Looking for something sweet for your young Jayhawk? Check out our coloring sheets, featuring KU’s lovable mascot and popular campus scenes. Print the sheets (they’re in PDF format) and add a box of crayons to the gift bag, and your Valentine will be busy for hours.

For an extra-special gift, frame a colorful masterpiece for a friend or family member.

5. KU Alumni Association membershipBe Mine Jayhawk valentine card | www.kualumni.org

For the Jayhawk who has everything, an Alumni Association membership is a great gift. Keep your sweetie connected to thousands of fellow alumni and the university they love. They’ll receive six issues of Kansas Alumni magazine each year, along with a merchandise discount from the KU Bookstores and other great benefits.

Visit www.kualumni.org/join to learn more!

We’d love to hear stories and see pictures of Jayhawk Valentine gifts. If you’ve got something to share, email us at share@kualumni.org!

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The bride wore a KU shirt

Posted on Feb 8, 2013 in Alumni News and News

Alan Williams is a die-hard Jayhawk fan, and his new wife Brayla gave him the perfect wedding gift: a KU-themed wedding.

Alan and Brayla first met 13 years ago through mutual friends. Two years ago, the timing was finally right and they became a couple. Alan, a passionate KU fan since he was six years old, successfully converted their son, Braxyn, from a fan of our rival school to the west to a KU fan. He brought Braxyn a KU hat as a gift, and now the young boy makes sure he’s always wearing Jayhawk apparel on game day.

The couple’s wedding date was moved up when Alan took a promotion, and they needed to plan a wedding quickly so they could move to Texas as a family. Brayla suggested a small, simple ceremony at home with a KU theme. “Everyone in our family conveniently already happened to be KU fans, so it was perfect!” Brayla said. Alan loved the idea, which is all that mattered to her.

The only missing link was their pastor. He had already agreed to do the wedding, and Brayla suddenly feared that he would be the one person who wasn’t a fan. As luck would have it, he also loves the Jayhawks (of course he does!) and even offered to let them use his church for the ceremony.

Brayla’s favorite wedding details were the handmade accessories her mother, Kathy Davis, created, especially the crimson and blue bouquet she still raves about. We love that the pastor wore a blue “Game Day Shirt” for the wedding.

Everyone at the wedding wore jeans and KU shirts, including the bride. And the best part about the relaxed theme? “Every time I wear that KU shirt or hoodie, I remind Alan that I’m wearing my wedding dress and he needs to take me somewhere nice!”

Alan and Brayla’s Jayhawk family includes his brother Eric Williams, j’07, c’12, and sister-in-law Anne Williams, s’07; and her sister Brea Smith, c’02, and aunt Mylea Charvat, c’02.

Congratulations to Alan, Brayla and Braxyn!

Jayhawk wedding | www.kualumni.org

Photos submitted by Brayla Williams

 

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