Sixth-generation Jayhawk makes history

Posted on May 29, 2020 in Alumni News and News

Back in 2017, we profiled Corey Goodburn, a freshman from Roeland Park with some serious KU history. Fast forward to 2020, and Corey is now a proud KU graduate.

Like many Jayhawks, Corey Goodburn has KU in his blood.

His mother, Sara Dickey Goodburn, j’86, preceded his time at the University. It’s the four generations that came before that make this family historic.

Corey Goodburn CommencementSix generations of Goodburns have called KU their alma mater, with roots tracing all the way back to the beginning. Corey’s great-great-great-grandmother is none other than Flora Richardson Colman, c1873, the University’s first female graduate.

In addition to his mother and great-great-great-grandmother, Corey’s great-great grandmother, Nellie Colman Bigsby, c’1900; his great-grandmother, Flora Nell Bigsby Dickey, c’28; and his grandfather, David Wendell Dickey, b’56, all graduated from KU. All of that history makes the special day mean a little bit more for Corey.

Being a sixth-generation Jayhawk means that I’m more connected to my family than ever,” Corey says. “Yes, we may all come from the same family, but now we relate because we all share KU history.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Corey and his family were not able to have the Commencement experience every student wants. Their family made due with a celebration from home.

We made it a day celebrating Corey, complete with KU decorations, pictures, balloons and a congratulatory banner outside,” Sara says. “That morning, Corey dressed in his gown, mortar board and tassel as the immediate family settled in to watch KU’s virtual celebration. Extended family members either called, sent video messages or dropped by to see Corey during the day. I do look forward to the day when we can watch him walk down the Hill with his fellow graduates to make the celebration complete.”

Until then, Corey has spent his time both reflecting on the past and preparing for the future. 

“When I was young, I attended every single KU home football game,” he says. “After attending some games, I knew I had to attend college at KU. I saw firsthand that the KU culture and experience was something I wanted to be a part of down the line.”

So no pressure to attend KU, with all that history?

“Being a Jayhawk was my choice, and I wasn’t pressured a single bit from my family,” Corey says. “I will do the same with my future kids. Although they will be raised Jayhawks, I will want them to choose the path and university that is best for them. Fingers crossed it’s the University of Kansas.”

Editor’s note: Our profile of Corey as a freshman included the following: Although Corey’s days as a Jayhawk are just beginning, he’s already looking ahead to another four-year milestone. “On [my mother’s] graduation day in 1986, she and my grandfather took pictures by the Jayhawk statue in front of Strong Hall,” Corey says of the landmark that his grandfather’s class gave to the University in 1956. “It’s my wish to take the same photo with my mom upon my graduation in May 2020.”

Four years later, that wish has come true.

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A Commencement surprise, 50 years overdue

Posted on May 25, 2020 in Alumni News and News

Rita Matusek Ashley, f'70 g'72 g'84

(Left to right: Judy Bowser, Rita Matousek Ashley and Durinda Ashley)

Walking through the Campanile, down the Hill and into Memorial Stadium at Commencement is one of KU’s greatest traditions, and the Class of 2020 had to postpone the special day. This year’s senior class shares the missed experience with the Class of 1970, which was forced to have Commencement in Allen Fieldhouse due to heavy rainfall.

In an unfortunate twist of timing, 2020 marks the Class of 1970’s year to enter the Gold Medal Club, which normally means an on-campus reunion to celebrate alumni’s 50-year anniversary. Plans for the special weekend included a walk down the Hill with the Class of 2020. 

Rita Matousek Ashley, f’70, g’72, g’84, was one of the many graduates of that class who had made plans to be in Lawrence for Commencement. Instead, she and her friend Judy Bowser, d’69, decided to visit Lawrence a couple days after the original scheduled date for a simple hike around campus.

Rita Matusek Ashley, f'70 g'72 g'84“The fact that the Class of 1970 did not get to walk down the Hill has always been a disappointment for me,” Ashley says. “I watched my husband and both of my sons walk down the Hill. I was thrilled when the 1970 class was invited to walk with the 2020 class. When that plan did not materialize I shared with friends that I was going to do the walk myself ‘just because.’”

Bowser had other ideas to make their trip special. She secretly invited their friend Durinda Ashley, d’71, and surprised Ashley with a cap and gown at the Campanile to give her friend a Commencement experience that was 50 years and three degrees overdue.

“The combination of the surprise, the perfect weather, the remnants of confetti and champagne corks at the Campanile and the walk three times made it a memorable day,” Ashley says.

Ashley’s KU experience was a unique one, as the first-generation college student came back two more times for a graduate degree in German Education and an MBA from the Edwards campus.

“The whole KU experience was memorable for me,” she says. “Ultimately, [my favorite memory] always comes back to the Rock Chalk chant. The chant is a unifying force for KU grads. The chant reminds me of the great people I got to know at KU. Those people then remind me of the valuable experiences I had at every level at KU and continue to have as a result of the experiences I shared at the University.”

—Ryan Camenzind

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KU alumnus makes Jayhawk masks that give back

Posted on May 14, 2020 in Alumni News and News

John Killen

If you’re looking to mask your Jayhawk pride, John Killen is your guy.

Killen, j’85, is president & CEO of WinCraft, a manufacturer of licensed and promotional products for over 500 colleges and professional sports teams. As COVID-19 continued to spread, the company began to look at how they could help.

“After looking at what was needed, we knew we could produce masks to help,” he says. “We went to KU first to develop the product and the campaign due to our great relationship with the University. The first masks we sold had Jayhawks on them.”

Since then, more than 200 colleges have reached out to produce masks with their school represented on them.

The production of each mask comes with a purpose. A portion of proceeds from each Jayhawk mask will go to the KU COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. In addition, WinCraft donated hundreds of masks to essential KU employees in Facilities, Housing & Dining Services, and Kansas Athletics.

 

“Wincraft is a private company and likes to give back,” Killen says. “We asked KU for a charitable component, and they suggested donations for the [COVID Relief] fund. The response has already been overwhelming, with thousands already sold.”

The machine-washable masks are available for sale at KU Bookstore and Rally House. Please note that the masks are not intended to be used as medical grade Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE.

—Ryan Camenzind

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KU connection brings confetti new life

Posted on Feb 11, 2020 in Alumni News and News

Super Bowl Confetti

The clock hit zero in Miami and red, yellow and white confetti rained down, some featuring tweets from Kansas City Chiefs fans and players. While every Chiefs fan would love to get their hands on a piece as a souvenir, a KU connection landed a full bag in the hands of a local artist with big plans.

Allison Smith, d’05, n’07, g’08, had a previous connection with Ryan Toma, a groundskeeper for the Chiefs and was keeping up with his experience in Miami through Instagram. She saw him post about the tweet confetti and loved it.

Fast forward to the next day, and Kansas City-based artist Megh Knappenberger, f’04, above, asked on Instagram how she could get her hands on some confetti for a project.

“I was on my way to the KU hoops game and happened to see Megh’s Instagram story asking if anyone had a ‘hookup’ or ‘connection’ for the confetti,” Smith says. “So, I messaged Ryan to see if he could spare some. They messaged each other and met up in person on Tuesday afternoon!”

As for the end result … we’ll see! That’s a lot of confetti to clean and dry.

Here’s hoping that this isn’t the last celebration for local teams this year. “Fingers crossed for another championship for KU in April 2020,” Smith says. “I’ve got a good feeling!”

—Ryan Camenzind

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KU students, industry professionals connect at blockchain conference

Posted on Dec 12, 2019 in Alumni News and News

KU blockchain conference

A spring semester gift to the University of Kansas is already paying dividends.

On Feb. 7, Silicon Valley financial technology company Ripple awarded a $2 million grant to KU as part of the University Blockchain Research Initiative​. The program focuses on accelerating academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments at top universities.

Ripple is led by Brad Garlinghouse, c’94, who serves as CEO of the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency and digital-payment processing firm.

One of the programs benefiting from the grant is the KU Blockchain Institute, a student-led organization that focuses on advancing KU’s standing in the fast- developing field of blockchain. The group is open to students from all disciplines, including engineering, business, economics, mathematics, science, health care and technology.

Daniel Jones, a senior from Owasso, Oklahoma, is president and co-founder of the KU Blockchain Institute. His interest in blockchain was sparked by attending industry conferences and studying abroad.

“I was able to network with seasoned professionals who seemed adamant that blockchain technology would be a huge disruption for their industry,” Jones says. “I remember thinking, ‘If these executives are so worried about this technology, maybe I should check it out.’ Incumbent firms may see blockchain as a major disruption, but the KU Blockchain Institute sees blockchain as a serious opportunity for student entrepreneurs to challenge the status quo.”

Daniel Jones, Brad Garlinghouse and Jack SchraadDaniel Jones, Brad Garlinghouse and Jack Schraad, co-founder and vice president of the KU Blockchain Institute

Since its launch in August 2018, the KU Blockchain Institute has hosted three large conferences, including an October 2019 conference on cybersecurity. Speakers from FedEx, Lockheed Martin, the University of Arkansas and IBM attended, as well as Garlinghouse.

So what exactly is blockchain?

“Blockchain uses applied mathematics and cryptography to create trust in any transaction,” Jones explains. “Blockchain is a verifiable data structure that creates trust or traceability through a transfer of value. The transfer of value takes place through a transaction around a digital asset. ​A digital asset can represent any piece of physical property or store of value.”

“Using distributed ledger technology, blockchain creates a direct peer-to-peer exchange system for the transfer of value. Blockchain is to value what the internet is to information.”

—Ryan Camenzind

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KU couple returns to their ‘Home on the Hill’

Posted on Oct 24, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Baby Jay

When Matt Lindberg reached out to us about a special 10-year anniversary surprise for his wife Sarah, we couldn’t pass up the chance to give the Life Members a tour of campus to see their alma mater, old and new.

Ten years since they last visited campus has been 10 years too long for this Jayhawk couple. Matt, j’08, and Sarah Strathman Lindberg, c’09, returned to Lawrence October 11 to find a campus filled with change, but still familiar.

Their day began with a trip to the Oread Hotel, a far cry from the pile of rubble that was once the Crossing. On the 9th-floor rooftop terrace, familiar sights mixed with the new: A giant apartment complex across the street from the nearly 100-year-old Memorial Stadium, and renovated Jayhawk Boulevard and Memorial Drive connecting historic campus buildings.

The Nest

Next, a walk down Jayhawk Boulevard past Fraser Hall where the couple met in French class, and Watson Library, home to studying among the stacks.

“It still feels comfortable walking around. I recognize everything,” Matt said. “It still feels like campus to me.”

The tour brought the pair to Matt’s old stomping grounds at the School of Journalism and the University Daily Kansan, where memories of 2008 came back.

2008 Championship edition of the Daily Kansan

Matt was on the paper’s staff as a student, including serving as special sections editor his senior year.

“After KU won the title, Mario Chalmers came into the Kansan offices asking for a paper, apologizing for not having his KU student ID,” he said. “I think we gave him a dozen copies.”

From there, the couple trekked across campus to the new football complex, which has seen massive changes since the Lindbergs’ graduation after the 2007-’08 Orange Bowl season.

KU Football meeting room

They were able to poke their head into the football facilities, in part due to their fandom: They spent the night camping for front-row seats in the student section during the Jayhawks’ 12-1 season.

The last stop on the tour was the DeBruce Center, where the couple got to check out the “Original Rules of Basket Ball,” an exhibition that features a recording of James Naismith describing his invention.

DeBruce Center
After a full morning of tours, the Lindbergs were sent off to explore Mass Street and Lawrence, thanks to gift cards from KU Alumni restaurant partners Papa Keno’s Pizza, Jefferson’s and Merchants.

Memories

In between stops to see the newest additions to the campus, the Lindbergs were happy to reminisce about memories of the little things.

“For me, it’s been walking up and down the hills,” Sarah said. “I did that so many times, and now here I am doing it again, except now I’m not going to class.”

For Matt, it’s a return to what was once normal. “Going into the Kansan room, I haven’t been there since I graduated. I used to be in there every day.”

Despite everything that’s changed, the campus contains a spirit that continues to last.

“It feels very much the same, but current,” Matt said. “Some things just haven’t changed, and I like it.”

—Ryan Camenzind

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Best spot in the lot: Andale senior parks in KU style

Posted on Sep 12, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Andale senior Nick Summers with his KU parking space

At Andale High School, in the small community of Andale in Sedgwick County, one senior pulls straight into Allen Fieldhouse by way of David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

A recent and growing tradition, some high schools let their seniors paint their own parking spots, a fun way to show off their interests and art skills. Nick Summers, a senior at Andale High, teamed up with his grandfather to paint a Jayhawk masterpiece.

“I have always been a huge Jayhawk fan,” Summers says. “I go to all the home football games and senior night basketball game every year. Since I love both football and basketball I decided to combine them to make a parking spot.

“It took a lot of work; we used stencils that my grandfather made to get the details so exact. It took a lot of paint and a long time, about two weeks to finish.”

The end result is a sight to see:

KU parking space: football

KU parking space: basketball

So, is the University of Kansas in his future? Perhaps an art degree is in order.

“I plan on going to college after high school,” Summers says. “I have my heart set on Kansas but am exploring other options as well. It’s always been my dream to attend Kansas.”

Until then, he’s enjoying his senior year in style.

“All the teachers and students think it’s awesome, even the K-State fans!”

We love sharing stories of KU fans showing their Jayhawk spirit in unique ways. Send your story with pictures to share@kualumni.org.

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Students make a splash with ‘Wescoe Rooftop Pool’

Posted on Aug 29, 2019 in Alumni News and News

aerial shot of Wescoe Rooftop Pool rendering

The plaza in front of Wescoe Hall has been lovingly referred to as Wescoe Beach for decades. This year, a group of KU students are making a splash with a proposal to turn the classic building into a real beach party with a rooftop pool.

The concept of the #WescoeRooftopPool began as a humorous crusade on Twitter, which continues to grow with some big names jumping in on the fun, including Athletics Director Jeff Long and former NBA player Scot Pollard, d’97.

“@StudentsofKU had been tweeting about it for a while and made a Photoshop version of it,” says Jordan Yarnell, an architecture senior from Elgin, Illinois. “Someone commented ‘let the architecture students handle this’ so we did. The three of us started to joke about it and then we realized it would be fun and pretty easy to do.”

Yarnell teamed up with fellow architecture students Jordan Vonderbrink, of Eudora, and Aaron Michalicek, of St. Louis, to create the designs. The results are a sight to see:

As fun as it is to dream, it’s worth asking: Could this really happen?

“Short answer is no,” Yarnell says. “We don’t know the structural makeup of Wescoe for what really has to be done. To add 200 thousand gallons of water, another whole floor, a deck, a lot more people, and more concrete, that’s a lot of work.”

Don’t tell Jeff Long, as he appears to be all in. Long has certainly leaned into the joke, teasing the public with promises we don’t exactly expect to come true.

Here’s hoping he dives in and makes it happen. See the rest of the designs for yourself:

poolside bar in Wescoe Rooftop Pool rendering

concert at Wescoe Rooftop Pool rendering

Sidewalk shot of Wescoe Rooftop Pool rendering

—Ryan Camenzind

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The Rock Chalk Roundball Classic

Posted on Jun 20, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Rock Chalk Roundball Classic | Dagen Korynta

KU basketball athletes become legends when they wear the crimson and blue in Allen Fieldhouse. But what they do with that fame is up to them.

Since 2009, the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic has invited KU alumni back to Lawrence for a charity basketball game to raise money for local children fighting cancer.

Check out our online feature to learn more about the charity event that gives area kids in need a night they won’t forget, and the stories of their experiences.

The 2019 Rock Chalk Roundball Classic is Thursday, June 20th at Eudora High School. Tickets are available at 23rd St. Brewery.

—Ryan Camenzind

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Remembering The Crossing on the anniversary of its demolition

Posted on Apr 19, 2019 in Alumni News and News

Hawks Crossing

This weekend marks the anniversary of an event that many Jayhawks would rather forget. The Crossing, a campus icon, was demolished in 2008 to make way for the Oread Hotel.

The building opened in 1923 as Rock Chalk Café. It served as a lunch haven for students and catered to soldiers during World War II. Through the years, it became a go-to spot for students to spend an afternoon relaxing on the porch or playing darts inside. And if a student was hungry, Yello Sub and the Glass Onion were right next door.

Andrea Graham and her college boyfriend, Brandon, were big fans of the bar during their time at KU in the early 2000s. “My boyfriend at the time, now my husband, threw me a surprise 22nd birthday party at the Crossing,” says Andrea, j’02. “We loved that place!”

After a new owner took over in 2006, the bar stayed open until the teardown date arrived. The nine-story hotel complex opened in 2010.

In total, the bar was open for 85 years at 12th Street and Oread Avenue. The bar’s name fluctuated as owners changed in the 70s and 80s. Monikers for the dive bar included New Haven, Catfish Bar ‘N Grill, and Rock Chalk Bar. It became known only as The Crossing in 1988.

If you want to take a real trip down memory lane, check out the aptly-named “I drank at the Crossing in Lawrence Kansas in the 80s” Facebook group.

Do you have some memories or stories from hanging out at the Crossing that you’d like to share? Send them our way at share@kualumni.org.

—Ryan Camenzind

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