Writer finds dream gig in the funny business

Posted on Mar 4, 2018 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

The jokes you hear from host Jimmy Kimmel during tonight’s 90th Academy Awards telecast will be written in part by a Jayhawk— Kimmel’s wife, Molly McNearney.

McNearney, j’00, has served as co-head writer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” since 2007. She began her career on the show as assistant to the executive producer in 2003. Last year, she served as co-head writer for the Oscars telecast—Kimmel’s first year as host—and will reprise her role for this year’s event.

A St. Louis native, McNearney earned a degree in advertising from the KU School of Journalism. She and Kimmel married in 2013.

Read more about McNearney’s thoughts on writing for the Oscars and her family’s busy year in her recent interview with Vanity Fair.


McNearney was profiled in issue No. 6, 2009, of Kansas Alumni magazine, which is embedded below.

If the embedded document isn’t available above, click here to read the profile on Issuu.

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Jayhawks in the News | Sept. 8

Posted on Sep 8, 2017 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

KU campus graphics | www.kualumni.org

Find 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 share@kualumni.org.


Rob Riggle really is a diehard Kansas Jayhawks football fan | SBNation

Rob Riggle, the actor, comedian, Fox NFL Sunday contributor, and Dos Equis “Most Interesting Fan” spokesperson, is a Kansas Jayhawks football fan. He’s an alum of the school and passionate to the point that when he hosted the ESPYs a couple of years ago, he had the house band play the fight song and was flanked by KU cheerleaders for his entrance.
Read full article.

Radio is the ultimate connector | RadioInk.com

Those are the words of Sarah Frazier, CBS Radio Houston market manager, who has her team working frantically to keep the community informed during Hurricane Harvey. Frazier, j’94, told Radio Ink that Monday morning it was clear there was a need to offer local residents a constant stream of evacuation and shelter information.
Read full article.

Former KU guard Michael Lee to join Aaron Miles’ coaching staff in G-League | Kansas City Star

Former Kansas guard Michael Lee resigned his post as Portland (Ore.) Roosevelt High basketball coach in order to work on lifelong buddy/former KU guard Aaron Miles’ Santa Cruz Warriors NBA G-League staff. He and former KU point guard Miles are grads of Portland’s Jefferson High. They actually attended middle school, high school and college together — true definition of best friends.
Read full article.

Hawks to Watch: Stephanie Downes | KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

When you think biology degree, you may picture someone sitting in a lab or collecting specimens outside. For Stephanie Downes, a biology degree led to a different path, where skills in analyzing and experimenting help her engage audiences with digital media.
Read full article.

Prosecuting Attorney Debra McLaughlin takes place of late Judge Yoder | LocalDVM.com

Prosecuting Attorney Debra Mclaughlin was named as the judge for the 23rd Judicial Circuit Court in the Eastern Panhandle. McLaughlin, l’93, came to West Virginia in the late 1990s, and since 2002, has been a Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney.
Read full article.

Best Lawrence in America 2018 honors three from Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered | Monnat & Spurrier

The 2018 edition of Best Lawyers in America® has honored two Jayhawk attorneys from Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered. Sal Intagliata was honored for his work in the sectors of general practice and white collar criminal defense, and Trevor Riddle was honored in the criminal defense general practice sector. Both earned juris doctor degrees from the KU School of Law.
Read full article.

Former Kansas lieutenant governor Tom Docking dies at 63 | KMUW.org

Former Kansas Lt. Gov. Tom Docking died Thursday night at age 63. Docking served with Democratic Gov. John Carlin from 1983 to 1987. He was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1986 but lost to Republican Mike Hayden.
Read full article.

Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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Goofy Jayhawk set for guest role on “Cake Wars”

Posted on Nov 7, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Bill Farmer, j’75, the actor who lends his voice to cartoon characters Goofy, Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn, will appear as a guest judge on the popular Food Network show “Cake Wars.”

The episode, which airs tonight at 8 p.m. CT, celebrates the 20th anniversary of the classic basketball movie “Space Jam.” Four bakers will compete with their cake creations, and one winner will take home the $10,000 prize. The Food Network will replay the episode tomorrow at 11 p.m. CT.

Farmer, who was born in Pratt, Kansas, entertained fellow Jayhawks as emcee of the 2006 Rock Chalk Ball, themed “The Stars Come Out at Night.”

Watch the videos below to learn more about Farmer and hear him in character as Goofy. Enjoy!



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Versatile virtuoso Mandy Patinkin earns another ovation

Posted on Apr 4, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Mandy Patinkin

You might know Mandy Patinkin as CIA agent Saul Berenson in the award-wining Showtime TV series “Homeland,” Dr. Jeffrey Geiger from the CBS series “Chicago Hope,” or as the memorable Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride,” but we know him as a Jayhawk. As a KU  student, Patinkin, ’74, starred as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” and other University Theatre productions before leaving for The Juilliard School in New York City. Only a few years later, he won a Tony Award for his 1980 Broadway debut as Che in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita.”

PMandy Patinkin  | photo by Earl Richardson, from Kansas Alumni magazineatinkin will add to his accolades April 16, when he is honored as one of three 2016 winners of the 37th annual Common Wealth Awards of Distinguished Service. Patinkin, who has earned acclaim for his performances in theatre, concerts, film, TV and as a recording artist, will receive the award for his lifetime achievement in the dramatic arts. The other honorees are Bob Schieffer, CBS journalist and former host of “Face the Nation,” for his achievements in mass communications; and Elizabeth Smart, a leading national advocate for child abduction rights and recovery, for her outstanding public service.

The Common Wealth Awards, for individuals who “enrich modern culture,” were first presented in 1979 by The Common Wealth Trust, created under the will of businessman and philanthropist Ralph Hayes. The awards are now made by The Ralph Hayes Common Wealth Foundation and are hosted by The PNC Financial Services Group. Past winners include several heads of state, 11 Nobel laureates, explorers, authors, performing artists and activists.

Patinkin last visited KU in 2005, when he taught students and helped raise funds for theatre scholarships and equipment. In an on-stage conversation with Jack Wright, professor of theatre and film, Patinkin wistfully recalled his role as Tevye, which was the last time his father saw him perform.

Reconnecting with his KU sweetheart

Patinkin has been known to mention Kansas on various TV talk shows through the years, including a February 2014 appearance on “Live with Kelly and Michael.” The show’s producers called on the Alumni Association to conspire in surprising Patinkin during the show. The Association helped locate his KU girlfriend, Leonore “Norie” Haines Hicks, d’73, who now lives in McKinney, Texas. The producers flew Hicks to New York for the show. Kelly and Michael first surprised Patinkin by introducing the woman who had shared a first kiss with him in junior high school. When he had recovered from that shock, they began to ask him about his college sweetheart. Patinkin lamented that he had not been able to find his long-lost love, Norie Haines, joking that he had even asked the FBI and CIA for help (perhaps through his “Homeland” connections?). The audience erupted in cheers and applause as Norie walked out from backstage, and the two reminisced about KU’s “Fiddler on the Roof” and their time in Lawrence.

Their hilarious conversation is worth viewing if you missed it two years ago. KU reunions are memorable, especially those captured for a national TV audience. Patinkin and Hicks still have chemistry after all these years, and her son is an amiable good sport.

Photo credits: top photo provided by PNC media relations; bottom photo by Earl Richardson for Kansas Alumni magazine, No. 3, 2005. 

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Jayhawk bond continues after college

Posted on Feb 17, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Scot Pollard originally didn’t want to attend college anywhere east of California.

He took a few recruiting trips, and he verbally committed to Arizona. Then, he made a trip to Kansas.

“Late Night,” he says. “Come on, you just cannot touch walking in that building, there’s nothing like it in the whole world.”

And if you’ve ever been in Allen Fieldhouse, you know what he means. Fortunately, the atmosphere at the University of Kansas convinced him that this was the place to be, and Jayhawk fans for years have embraced the colorful character that is Scot Pollard, black fingernail polish and all.

That bond continues beyond college.

“The unique family atmosphere that you have when you go to the University of Kansas…it’s really grown even more, because everywhere I go in the whole world, and I’ve been around the world, I’ve stayed in a lot of different places, I’ve had some very unique experiences, it’s just different being a Jayhawk,” Pollard, d’97, explains.

He describes attending a Pacers game last year when Ben McLemore played. “I don’t know if I’ve ever shaken Ben McLemore’s hand, but he knows who I am, and I know who he is, and we know we have that common bond,” he says. “We’re in a family of Jayhawks.”

Jayhawk fans will have another opportunity to watch Scot Pollard—he’s a contestant on season 32 of the popular reality show “Survivor,” which premieres Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. CT.

Watch our latest video below:


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Rock Chalk, Royals!

Posted on Nov 5, 2015 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Rock Chalk Kansas City
Congratulations, Kansas City!

In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, the Kansas City Royals stormed their way to a World Series championship, winning the hearts of America and earning the respect of fans who appreciate baseball the way it’s supposed to be played. With the enthusiasm of kids playing sandlot ball, Kansas City beat the New York Mets in five games to #TaketheCrown and their first World Series championship in 30 years.

As exciting as their performance was in Kansas City’s second consecutive World Series appearance, the celebration that followed was perhaps even more impressive. Fans flooded Mass Street in Lawrence immediately after the win, and approximately 800,000 area fans attended Kansas City’s parade and rally on Monday, with barely any incidents reported by police. We couldn’t be more proud.

Kansas City is home to almost 100,000 KU alumni and friends, making it one of the strongest Jayhawk networks in the country. And the entire Jayhawk network, made up of fans and former students with ties to this area, salutes Kansas City. Enjoy this royal roundup of tributes from KU alumni and friends.

Rock Chalk, Kansas City Royals!

Posted by KU Alumni Association on Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lawrence residents and KU students love to celebrate on Mass Street after championships. Congrats to the Kansas City Royals! #rockchalk

Posted by KU Alumni Association on Monday, November 2, 2015

Paul Rudd is a Kansas City native, a Jayhawk, and a huge Kansas City Royals fan. He was pretty excited after last night’…

Posted by KU Alumni Association on Monday, November 2, 2015

An estimated 800,000 fans enjoyed the Kansas City Royals World Series parade and rally on Tuesday. The Kansas City…

Posted by FOX 4 News Kansas City on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

–David Johnston

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Football star gives back to KU

Posted on Mar 30, 2015 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Darrell Stuckey
Darrell Stuckey, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, arrived at the University of Kansas as a freshman in 2005. He redshirted his freshman year and was part of the celebrated 2007 team that finished 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl over Virginia Tech, 24-21; he was named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention that season.

But success on the football field wasn’t his only goal.

“I was the first in my immediate family to graduate from college, which was a blessing. Coming here, my goal was to graduate no matter what,” he said.

Stuckey, c’09,  was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, and early this year made his debut in the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl.

“I got drafted; it was nowhere near the feeling I had when I graduated,” said Stuckey. “I believe in what I stand for because of the University of Kansas, and because of that reason, I want to stay connected; I want to give back, I want to give that opportunity to somebody else.”

Watch our video below to learn more about Darrell, who will serve as emcee of this year’s Rock Chalk Ball, and why he’s a proud Life Member of the KU Alumni Association.


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The new face of feminism

Posted on Feb 26, 2015 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Keith Loneker | www.kualumni.orgHe’s a former KU and NFL offensive lineman enjoying an enduring silver-screen side career as a menacing tough guy, but Keith Loneker’s true mission in life, as a passionate volunteer coach of youth athletics and substitute teacher in the Lawrence school district, is inspiring young people as they find their way into adulthood.

So when Loneker, ’94, on Thursday morning happened upon girls in Lawrence High School Young Feminists Club taking photographs of teachers—mostly women—holding a “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” sign to publicize their programs in store for Women’s Week, March 2-7, he promptly stepped up and offered his support.

“I’ve got a daughter, I want to her to be strong, so I need to go over there and get my picture taken and support the kids,” Loneker says. “Feminism is a male and a female thing, know what I mean? I want women to be strong, too.”

Loneker posted the photograph to his popular Facebook profile, and, knowing the power of his local celebrity—last fall he used Facebook to organize a nearly instantaneous reunion of former football players as a show of support for the team and interim head football coach Clint Bowen, d’96—he hopes his pro-feminism statement rallies others to support the girls’ admirable cause.

“I have a pretty good network of people on my Facebook page, and this already has more than 300 likes and shares,” Loneker says. “It’s fun when I get behind these things. We can do stuff pretty fast.”

—Chris Lazzarino

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“Biggest Loser” trainer stays connected to KU

Posted on Feb 18, 2015 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Jen Widerstrom, Proud Member | www.kualumni.org

You might know her as the trainer on NBC’s hit show “The Biggest Loser,” or recognize her from the January 2015 cover of Health magazine. But did you know that Jen Widerstrom is also a Jayhawk?

Now a prominent fitness expert, the Chicago native arrived at KU eager to try a new sport. She originally joined the rowing team at KU and admits she was “so bad.” Late in her sophomore year, however, fate intervened when another coach spotted her lifting weights and persuaded her to try throwing hammer.

“To have people believe in me, and really support me in that transition, it really turned my life around at KU,” says Jen, d’05.

Watch our video below to learn more about how Jen stays connected to KU, what helped her make the decision to take on “The Biggest Loser” and why she’s a proud Life Member of the KU Alumni Association. Rock Chalk, Jen!


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Former KU swimmer takes red-carpet lap alongside bestie Taylor Swift

Posted on Feb 9, 2015 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Abigail Anderson’s star continues to shine, thanks in no small part to her world-famous BFF, Taylor Swift. Anderson, ’12, accompanied her megastar pal to the Grammy Awards Sunday night, lighting up social media chatter, including a shout-out on Cosmopolitan magazine’s Twitter feed.

Anderson, a backstroke and butterfly specialist while a member of KU’s swimming and diving team, can claim bragging rights of her own: She posted the second-fastest times in KU swimming history in the 100 backstroke (53.48 seconds), 200 backstroke (1:57.26) and 100 butterfly (53.47), all at the 2011 Big 12 Championships, and as a freshman in 2009 she swam the butterfly leg on relay teams that set school records in the 200 (1:38.45) and 400 (3:38.85) medley relays at the Big 12 meet.

So perhaps Anderson’s pool prowess isn’t entirely responsible for luring 126,000 followers on Twitter (@abiander) and 166,000 on Instagram (@abigail_lauren), but at least she’s still making a splash.

To read more about Anderson’s Grammy gala, visit teenvogue.com/entertainment/2015-02/taylor-swift-grammy-date-abigail-anderson.

Chris Lazzarino
KU alumna Abigail Anderson with Taylor Swift at the 2015 Grammy Awards.

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