Generous alumnus helps launch Jayhawk Career Network

Posted on Dec 11, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Brad GarlinghouseWhen Brad Garlinghouse was promoted to senior vice president at Yahoo! in 2006, he was already known for his industry connections. Having previously served in management roles at SBC Communications, AOL and Hightail, a file-sharing service, Garlinghouse’s new position, which put him in charge of “Communications, Communities, and Front Doors,” seemed a perfect fit for the Topeka native.

More than a decade later, Garlinghouse, now CEO of San Francisco-based cryptocurrency and digital-payment processing firm Ripple, continues to foster critical connections. In 2017, he generously donated $250,000 to the Alumni Association to help launch the Jayhawk Career Network, a multifaceted program that links students and alumni and provides career resources for Jayhawks at every life stage.

“KU helped my career take flight, and there is no doubt that I still highly value and lean on my KU network,” says Garlinghouse, c’94, a Life member. “I think the Jayhawk Career Network can replicate and expand upon my fortunate experience for lots of current and future Jayhawks. I’m pleased to be able to lend a hand in its success.”

Thanks to Garlinghouse’s significant investment, the Association hired Kristi Durkin Laclé, c’99, to oversee the new initiative, and in 2018 launched KU Mentoring, an online, career-focused platform that connects students and alumni through long-term and one-time mentorships. The program also hosts networking events across the country and will introduce opportunities for job shadowing, internships and employment in the coming months.

Garlinghouse has a strong history of supporting student interests and development. This past spring, Ripple donated a whopping $29 million to fund every campaign on the education-crowdfunding platform It was the largest single donation since the site launched in 2000, and it fulfilled more than 35,000 school and classroom projects nationwide.

Despite his overwhelming success in Silicon Valley, Garlinghouse, a 2015 recipient of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Distinguished Alumni Award, remains true to his Kansas roots and serves as an inspiration to all Jayhawks—on the Hill and beyond.

“Good ideas can come from anywhere,” Garlinghouse says. “I mean, brilliant people come from every walk of life. And that talent can come from anywhere geographically.”

For more stories on Jayhawks like Garlinghouse and to learn more about the successes of the Alumni Association this year, read our annual report.

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Small-town Kansan makes big impact at KU

Posted on Dec 5, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Joe HannahJoe Hannah’s introduction to KU came by way of a boyhood friend whose family parked a camper near Memorial Stadium before home football games. One weekend they took Joe along.

“We camped out the night before the game and played on the Hill and walked around campus,” recalls Hannah, c’79. “Coming from a small town, a big college football game and all the people on campus made a big impression on me. It was an experience that I wanted to have more of.”

Hannah grew up in Lyons, a central Kansas town of about 4,300. Making the move to KU, home to nearly 22,000 students when he arrived in fall 1975, was not so hard, thanks to his membership in Phi Gamma Delta. The “academic jump” to a campus where some classes were larger than his entire high school was a tougher transition.

“The academic challenge of being in organic chemistry with 500 students and not having a very good science background made me work like never before,” Hannah says. The fraternity’s strict study hours helped, too. “They kept us working, and for me it really worked to have that structure and it helped a lot to have those immediate friendships as well.”

Now an orthodontist with offices in Olathe, Emporia, Lenexa, Louisburg and Kansas City, the Life Member designated an estate gift to KU that will include scholarships for students who come from small, rural Kansas communities like the one he grew up in. The gift also will support Alumni Association programs.

He was inspired, in part, by childhood friends who hoped to attend KU but did not have the financial means to do so. He not only sees benefits for the students his gift will help attend KU, but also for University itself.

“It’s important for KU to have some rural kids in there, too, and they do,” says Hannah, who lives now in Johnson County. “You don’t want to go to college and know everybody there; you want kids from all over the state. I think it’s real beneficial for the kids who come from these big suburban areas to meet kids from smaller towns.”

His practice puts him in daily contact with high school students, and their post-graduation plans are a popular topic of conversation. “I’ve talked to many over the years who are maybe a little scared of going to a bigger university, and I tell them that once you get wherever you may live—be it a fraternity or a dorm—it’s not going to feel quite as large and it will be an outstanding education.”

Though he’s happy for them whatever their college decision may be, he enjoys sharing his KU pride when he can.

“If a patient wears purple, then they’re going to have a hard time from me,” Hannah says. “They know it, and they do it on purpose. We might make a bet or two every now and then to wear red-and-blue braces instead of purple-and-white, depending on who wins. We have a lot of fun with it.”

For more stories on Jayhawks like Hannah, and to learn more about the successes of the Alumni Association this year, read our annual report.

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Lessons learned at KU help family thrive in Houston

Posted on Nov 28, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Bryan Young and Chelsea Young with their daughters Madeline and NoraWhen she arrived at KU from Fort Worth, Texas, Chelsea Demars Young immediately joined the Marching Jayhawks—a natural fit for a clarinetist on a music scholarship. After switching majors from music therapy to architectural studies, she left the marching band but stayed with Wind Ensemble, spent two years as an residential adviser in Corbin Hall and, as a junior and senior, performed as Baby Jay.

“Campus life was an opportunity to try new things,” says Chelsea, a’05, who designs pedestrian and bike lanes, among other alternative transportation solutions, for a small engineering firm in Houston. “The exposure to new people, new activities and organizations was insane. That could be overwhelming for some people, but there wasn’t anyone saying, ‘You’re going to fail.’ It was more like, ‘Try it. If you like it, keep doing it.’”

Shrinking a large campus down to relatable size by staying active outside of class was a strategy both Young and her husband, Bryan, b’06, carried with them when in 2008 they moved to Houston. Shortly after arriving in the country’s fourth most-populous city, the Youngs made the effort to attend a Houston Network watch party, where they knew no one.

That wasn’t the case for long.

“There is a really cool group of alumni here, and it helped Houston feel like home immediately,” says Bryan, who sells oil and gas equipment for Siemens. “Our best friends that we’ve made down here, a lot of them, are KU people we did not know while we were at school. It really has made this large community very easy to navigate because you have these people who you identify with immediately, and you can build on that.”

Faithful annual Alumni Association members since their post-graduation complimentary memberships expired, the Youngs in 2012 became Life Joint members, and in 2017 took another step in their active and ongoing participation in the life of their alma mater and Alumni Association and joined the Presidents Club.

Even while raising daughters Madeline, 5, and Nora, 2, and funding ongoing repairs to their southwest Houston home, flooded in 2017 by Hurricane Harvey, the Youngs say they are eager to find ways to do even more—and they encourage other 30-something couples to consider doing the same.

“When we come back to campus,” Bryan says, “we immediately feel connected, that we’re part of the University, more than just that, ‘Hey, we’re here on campus’ kind of thing. We can go back and be proud of our relationship with the Alumni Association and we can be proud of what we’ve been part of in Houston. That means something to us.

“I think it’s maybe hard to get some people excited about that, and I know that everybody has busy lives, but for us, the first step was simple: We care about the University, and we care about how it changed and shaped our lives.”

For more stories about Jayhawks like the Young family, and to learn more about the successes of the Alumni Association this year, read our annual report.

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Alumnus remains close to KU for seven decades

Posted on Feb 2, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Larry Hickey, Proud Member | www.kualumni.orgAs Larry Hickey Jr. recalls his student years on the Hill, he says he’s 92 going on 18. “It was the opening of my whole life. I just revel every time I think about the University, the beauty of the campus and the thrill of being there.”

Hickey, b’43, has remained close to the University, serving for decades as an alumni ambassador in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri from his home base in Joplin, Missouri, and contributing financial support for alumni programs. This year he provided $100,000 to support the Alumni Association. “I don’t feel that I ever really left KU,” he says.

He became a Jayhawk with help from a banker in his hometown of Coffeyville. After he finished his studies at the community college, he wanted to continue his education at KU, but money was tight. Thanks to the banker’s $250 loan, Hickey made his way to Lawrence. To earn living expenses, he waited tables at his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, and worked in the basement of Hoch Auditorium, firing cement cinder blocks in a kiln for 10 cents each. The following summer, he paid off the loan by delivering ice in Coffeyville, working for 30 cents an hour. When the banker asked how much he needed for his senior year, Hickey thought $250 would suffice, but the banker insisted he buy a new suit.

After graduation, Hickey paid off the second loan and attended the U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipman School at Northwestern University. He served in the Navy until 1946. He began his career with the Phillips Petroleum Co., where a fellow KU graduate hired him to work in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Through the years, he and his wife, Virginia, ’40, hosted numerous events for area Jayhawks and campus leaders. He served on the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors from 1976 to 1981. In 1996, the Hickeys received the Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award for their longtime service to KU in their community.

Hickey describes Virginia, who died in 2003, as “absolutely flawless.” As a leader in her KU sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, she was chosen to start a new chapter at the University of Southern California, where she graduated summa cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. But she remained a Jayhawk at heart.

The Hickeys traveled 16 times with the Flying Jayhawks. “Our alumni were always peppier than any other school on the trip,” Larry recalls, “and travel with the Flying Jayhawks was a great education. We didn’t know the language, but we could get anywhere with a handshake, a smile and a ‘Thank you.’”

Like her husband, Virginia became a devoted community volunteer in Joplin. They are the only couple to each earn distinction as Joplin’s Outstanding Citizen.

Hickey credits fellow Jayhawks for helping him succeed in business ventures throughout his career, and he hopes his involvement and support of the Association will extend the tradition of friendship and generosity: “Life has been a road map of miracles for me,” he says, “and I’m truly grateful.”

This profile was originally published in the KU Alumni Association’s 2013-14 Annual Report, a supplement to Kansas Alumni magazine. Click here to view the full report and learn more about membership and alumni records, Presidents Club, the Association’s year-end financial report and highlights from the year.

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Clarkson encourages Jayhawks to nurture their University legacies

Posted on Jan 26, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Rich Clarkson, Proud Member |
He was director of photography for National Geographic magazine, worked for many years as a freelance photographer for Sports Illustrated—a relationship launched with his iconic image of Wilt Chamberlain, ’59, then a young KU sensation, tying his shoes while seated in a folding chair—and spent many years as photo editor at both the Topeka Capital-Journal and Lawrence Journal-World. Few professionals can offer better perspective on technological changes revolutionizing visual communications than Rich Clarkson, j’55, and, while he admires the work that came before, Clarkson does not yearn for a return to the past.

“I view this as the best days of all of the photojournalism I’ve been involved with,” Clarkson says from his Denver photography, publishing and project management firm, Clarkson Creative. “This is the golden era, right now.”

Clarkson, a 2011 Fred Ellsworth Medallion honoree, has long maintained close ties with the University, including as a Presidents Club and life member of the Alumni Association, longtime trustee of the William Allen White Foundation and an Endowment Association life trustee. In 2011 he donated $200,000 to create the Rich Clarkson Multimedia Gallery in Stauffer-Flint Hall, and in 2014 he gave a $100,000 endowment to support Alumni Association communications, including Kansas Alumni magazine.

“It’s the greatest outreach that the University can possibly have,” Clarkson says, “and you all do it so well.”

He encourages others to follow his lead in nurturing their University legacies, in part by affiliation with the Alumni Association.

“It’s an extension of the University experience,” Clarkson says, “and a beautifully orchestrated extension at that.”

Clarkson in 2015 will photograph his 60th-consecutive men’s NCAA Final Four. It would be a bonus for him to again watch his beloved Jayhawks from his courtside perch, but regardless of KU’s tournament fortunes, he’s certain to savor an experience that never grows old.

“One never knows for sure who is going to win. It could be the best team on one really interesting night in a regional that then marches forward to the national championship. It’s the surprise, the unpredictability, and at the same time the excellence of play and the intrigue of all of the fans.”

This profile was originally published in the KU Alumni Association’s 2013-14 Annual Report, a supplement to Kansas Alumni magazine. Click here to view the full report and learn more about membership and alumni records, Presidents Club, the Association’s year-end financial report and highlights from the year.

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