2020 Commencement rescheduled for spring 2021

Posted on Jul 29, 2020 in Campus News and News

Strong Hall

Chancellor Girod shared the following message on July 29, 2020.

Jayhawks,

Earlier this year, we postponed our 2020 Commencement due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, in the meantime, hosted an online recognition event commemorating the Class of 2020. During that online event, we promised the graduates they would get to walk down the Hill during an in-person event as soon as it’s possible to do so — and that’s a promise we look forward to fulfilling.

I am writing to let you know we have ruled out the possibility of hosting a Commencement ceremony during the fall semester. Instead, we will target spring 2021 to celebrate the 2020 graduates with a Commencement ceremony on Mount Oread.

At this time, we are hoping to host two separate Commencement events — one for the Class of 2021 on Sunday, May 16, and the other for the Class of 2020 on a yet-to-be determined weekend in May. Of course, our planning is subject to change based on evolving circumstances and the latest medical guidance.

Additionally, given that Commencement typically brings about 25,000 guests to Lawrence from across the nation and the world, we will be sure to coordinate with community partners as we determine the best way to celebrate our graduates.

We will continue to monitor circumstances and provide you more information later this fall.

Respectfully,

Doug

Douglas A. Girod
Chancellor

Tags: ,

Sixth-generation Jayhawk makes history

Posted on May 29, 2020 in Campus 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.

Tags: ,

A Commencement surprise, 50 years overdue

Posted on May 25, 2020 in Campus 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

Tags: , , ,

Chalk it Up for the Class of 2020

Posted on May 7, 2020 in Campus News and News

Chalk It Up

Our friends at KU Endowment are asking students, alumni and parents to share words of encouragement, advice and well wishes to our graduating students.

The graduating class of 2020 has experienced a final semester unlike any other, and their walk down the hill has taken an unexpected turn. We want to show them that Jayhawks flock together (while still social distancing) and we need your help.

We’re asking all KU alumni—from all campuses—to share words of encouragement, advice, and other celebratory messages with our 2020 graduates. These messages will be shared via a website and social media to demonstrate our support for the newest members of Jayhawk alumni.

Please visit KU Endowment’s website to inspire the class of 2020 with your well wishes and words of encouragement by May 17. That’s the day many of these Jayhawks would have been walking down the hill and we suspect it will be an emotional one. Your words will make a big difference in the lives of many.

Thank you for helping us celebrate what it means to be a Jayhawk!

Tags: ,

TRIO graduates reflect on KU experiences

Posted on May 22, 2019 in Campus News and News

The University of Kansas TRIO programs help guide students through the process of college. Each graduation season produces incredible stories of student success. This year was no different, with a first-generation college student heading to Harvard and a non-traditional student pursing a law degree.

Constanza Castro | Photo courtesy of KU Center for Educational Opportunity Programs

Constanza Castro

As KU’s first-ever Rangel Fellow, Constanza Castro has been in the news before. Now, the first-generation college student and daughter of Chilean immigrants has walked down the Hill at Commencement. Constanza has been heavily involved from the moment she stepped on campus, including participation in the Multicultural Student Government and traveling to D.C. for advocacy. She also participated in the KU TRIO McNair Scholars Program and received support from KU TRIO Supportive Educational Services. We reached out to Constanza student to hear more about her KU experiences.

How has the TRIO program helped you?

The TRIO program has provided me academic and personal support to ensure I succeeded in graduating in four years. The most important thing TRIO provided me was a community for me to lean on when I needed support. Having people who understand your background and where you come from because they also come from that place has been beyond important and valuable.

Tell us about your experience in Washington D.C.

My advocacy for TRIO in D.C. was the first time I got to look at how federal budgeting works and how to lobby local congressmen and women to support an issue. It taught me how to find common ground with those different than me and how powerful individual voices can be in determining representatives votes on issues.

What did you learn from your time with Multicultural Student Government?

In Multicultural Student Government, you had to advocate for students from diverse backgrounds. I learned how to serve a constituency that was not only vocal, but often had differing opinions and how to diplomatically work with others to find solutions to common issues.

What advice would you give to first-generation college students?

Grow a large network. The network of people in your life will help guide you and present you with opportunities you would never even consider for yourself. It will be those opportunities which teach you the most and change your life.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation I am off to D.C. to intern in Representative Elijah Cummings’ office, and in the fall I will begin a Master’s in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.


Robert Watson | Photo courtesy of KU Center for Educational Opportunity Programs

Robert Armstrong

As a non-traditional student, Robert Armstrong took the road less traveled to a KU degree. The Kansas City, Kansas, native walked down the Hill at KU’s 147th Commencement. The TRIO program has been part of Armstong’s education from an early age, from TRIO KU Talent Search in middle school to graduating as a TRIO McNair Scholar. We reached out to the new alumnus to talk about KU and his future.

How has the TRIO program helped you?

Without the KU TRIO program, I would not be where I am today. It has provided me with support and opportunities that I otherwise would not have had access to. Since middle school with KU Talent Search, to joining the McNair Scholars program, KU TRIO programs  have given me a network of amazing people who have helped me thrive.

What made you decide to come to KU?

My younger brother was the most influential in my decision to attend KU. He graduated from KU with a degree in social welfare in the spring of 2017. He would often rave about living in the city of Lawrence and the University’s social inclusivity.

What advice would you give to people considering going into college at a later age?

I would advise any prospective nontraditional students to invest in themselves by attending KU. No matter what phase of life you are in, it’s never too late to strive for more.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation, I will begin as a summer research assistant to the dean of Washburn Law School. I also plan to attend Washburn Law in pursuit of my Juris Doctorate.

Tags: , ,

Commencement regalia origins have KU connection

Posted on May 17, 2019 in Campus News and News

Commencement regalia origins have KU connection

The University of Kansas has a long history of traditions at Commencement, but one tradition with a Jayhawk connection is celebrated at graduations everywhere.

The regalia that graduates wear for their official conferral of degrees looks much the same no matter what college or university you visit. The origins of the regalia can be traced to John McCook.

McCook is known in KU history as the benefactor of McCook Field, KU’s first football field before Memorial Stadium’s construction in 1921. (One of the construction workers on Memorial Stadium was none other than John Wooden, but that’s a story for another day.)

McCook, a lieutenant colonel in the Civil War (along with his father, eight brothers and five cousins—all Civil War officers, known as the “Fighting McCooks”), graduated from Kenyon College and Harvard Law.

As general counsel and director of the Santa Fe Railroad, McCook worked with Kansas Regent Charles Gleed, who was employed in the legal department under McCook. Recognizing that KU needed money for an athletic field and faced with the fact that the state had none to give, Regent Gleed recommended that KU invite McCook to speak at Commencement.

In 1890, McCook gave the Commencement address and received an honorary degree from the University. The former colonel made a $1,500 donation to launch the construction of McCook Field in 1892.

John McCook also chaired a committee at Princeton on the standardization of academic regalia, with the goal being “the adoption of a uniform academic costume.” At the time, graduates’ attire often varied by university. Unlike European universities, which practiced a complex system of academic dress with varying colors and patterns based on the occasion, McCook and the committee emphasized the uniformity you see today.

In 1895, McCook and the committee introduced their recommendations as the Intercollegiate Code of Academic Costume. KU was one of the first colleges to participate, and the first class wore caps and gowns in 1897. KU faculty followed suit in 1908.

To learn more about Commencement, including the history of class banners, honorary degrees, and the special experience for Big and Baby Jays, read our full feature, The Walk.

Tags: ,

Elizabeth Broun’s career in art to be honored at Commencement

Posted on May 16, 2019 in Campus News and News

Elizabeth Broun to be honored at Commencement

In recognition of her outstanding career at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Elizabeth Broun will receive an honorary degree from the University of Kansas at the 147th Commencement.

Broun, c’68, g’69, PhD’76, served as curator and subsequently interim director of KU’s Spencer Museum of Art. During that time, she oversaw a dramatic expansion of its collections.

In 1983, she began her tenure at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, beginning as chief curator and assistant director and assuming the position of director in 1989. As director, she led the Smithsonian American Art Museum to become the premier center for research in the field of American visual history under her direction and vision. She retired in 2016.

For more on Broun’s career, read our feature from issue No. 4, 1999 of Kansas Alumni magazine.

To learn more about Commencement, including the history of class banners, honorary degrees, and the special experience for Big and Baby Jays, read our full feature, The Walk.

Tags: , , ,

KU to present three honorary degrees at 2019 Commencement

Posted on Nov 8, 2018 in Campus News and News

Strong Hall | KU honorary degrees 2019

An Olympic gold medalist and humanitarian, a former director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the CEO of a global scientific instrumentation company will receive honorary degrees from the University of Kansas.

Billy Mills, Elizabeth Broun and Teruhisa Ueda will each receive an honorary degree at KU’s 147th Commencement on May 19, 2019, in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. The three nominations were approved earlier today by the Kansas Board of Regents.

“Billy Mills, Elizabeth Broun and Teruhisa Ueda have made lasting contributions to our world,” said Chancellor Douglas A. Girod. “They embody the mission of the University of Kansas and serve as role models for students, faculty, staff and individuals throughout society who want to make meaningful contributions to the world around them. I am thrilled for the chance to recognize these three exceptional individuals at Commencement, and I know their presence will make the day that much more special for our graduates and their families.”

The degrees to be awarded and the justification for each are as follows:

  • Billy Mills will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for his outstanding contributions to improving the lives of Native Americans and commitment to lifting the voices of diverse and underrepresented people.
  • Elizabeth Broun will receive the degree of Doctor of Arts in honor of her extraordinary contributions to the field of American visual history.
  • Teruhisa Ueda will receive the degree of Doctor of Science for his outstanding contributions to science and technology.

KU awards honorary degrees based on nominees’ outstanding scholarship, research, creative activity, service to humanity or other achievements consistent with the academic endeavors of the university. Recipients do not need to be KU alumni, and philanthropic contributions to the university are not considered during the process. The university first began awarding honorary degrees in 2012 and has since presented 16 such degrees, not including the 2019 nominees announced today. For additional information and a list of past degree recipients, visit honorarydegrees.ku.edu.

2019 Honorary Degree Recipient Profiles

Billy Mills

Billy Milles | KU Honorary Degrees 2019Billy Mills is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Mills attended Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Kansas. He attended KU on an athletic scholarship and was a three-time NCAA All-American cross-country runner. During the 1964 Summer Olympics, Mills won an Olympic gold medal in the 10,000 meters, and he remains the only American to ever win the event. Mills’ win in the 10,000 meters is considered one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history.

Mills is a co-founder and national spokesperson of Running Strong for American Indian Youth, an organization that aims to help American Indian people meet their immediate survival needs while creating opportunities for self-sufficiency and self-esteem in American Indian youths. In 2014, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of his gold medal, Mills started Dreamstarter, a grant program to jump-start the dreams of American Indian youths.

Mills is the recipient of many distinguished athletic and humanitarian awards, including the 2015 President’s Council Lifetime Achievement Award, NCAA’s Theodore Roosevelt Award and 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal. He has been inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame and the United States Track & Field Hall of Fame.

Elizabeth Broun

Elizabeth Broun| KU Honorary Degrees 2019Elizabeth Broun, director emerita of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, grew up in Independence, Kansas, and holds three KU degrees in art history — a bachelor’s, a master’s and a doctorate. From 1976-83, Broun served as curator and subsequently interim director of KU’s Spencer Museum of Art, overseeing a dramatic expansion of its collections. In 1983, she began her long tenure at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, beginning as chief curator and assistant director and assuming the position of director in 1989. She retired in 2016.

During her 27-year tenure, Broun conceived and successfully completed the renovation of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery’s buildings, all national historic landmarks. Under her direction and with her vision, the Smithsonian American Art Museum has become the premier center for research in the field of American visual history. By dramatically expanding the resources available for research and learning using both in-person and digital access, Broun expanded the appreciation and understanding of our collective cultural history.

On the occasion of her retirement, Broun’s outstanding service was recognized by the Smithsonian Regents with the Joseph Henry Medal, the institution’s highest award.

Teruhisa Ueda

Teruhisa Ueda| KU Honorary Degrees 2019Teruhisa Ueda is the president and CEO of Shimadzu Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of scientific instrumentation, with 10,000 employees and revenue in excess of $2.5 billion. Ueda is the driving force behind Shimadzu’s corporate philosophy, which is to contribute to society through science and technology. Under his leadership, Shimadzu Corporation is dedicated to making significant investments in research and development of new technologies.

Ueda was born in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial chemistry, a master’s degree in engineering and a doctorate in applied life science, all from Kyoto University. During the early 1990s, Ueda studied at KU at the Center for Bioanalytical Research, studying under Distinguished Professors Ted Kuwana and Ralph Adams. Ueda credits his time at KU for his understanding and appreciation of a global mindset, deepening his success in business management and broadening his professional expertise.

Ueda’s success illustrates the benefits of being committed to a diversified student experience. Ueda believes students should turn their attention outward, learn about other lifestyles and cultures, and see what they can offer the world. He promotes taking on challenges without fearing failure as well as scientific excellence and responsibility to future generations.

Tags: , , , ,

University celebrates 146th Commencement

Posted on May 25, 2018 in Campus News and News

The University of Kansas celebrated its 146th Commencement May 13. Nearly 4,000 graduates made the traditional walk down the Hill and into David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

Chancellor Doug Girod addressed his first graduating class as the University’s 18th leader, and Kevin Carroll, the Alumni Association’s national chair, welcomed the Class of 2018 as alumni and encouraged graduates to connect with fellow Jayhawks through their one-year gift memberships in the Association.

Dr. Richard Weinshilboum, c’62, m’67, received an honorary degree during the ceremony. Weinshilboum is a Mayo Clinic scientist who is a pioneer in the field of pharmacogenomics, the study of how drugs respond to a person’s genetics.

Read more about the storied traditions of KU’s Commencement, and watch our slideshow below for photos from this year’s celebration.

 

Tags:

A walk to remember: Greg and Dorie Dalzell

Posted on May 16, 2018 in Campus News and News

Greg and Dorie Dalzell
 

Competing with Commencement

The walk down the Hill is a cherished tradition for most KU graduates. However, some student-athletes have never known the thrill of walking down the Hill due to competition conflicts. KU baseball players, for instance, are often battling in-state rival K-State as graduates gather on Mount Oread.

Meantime, track and field Jayhawks are typically engaged in the conference championship while classmates are popping champagne in Lawrence. Fortunately, one Jayhawk track family made up for lost time and made the most of their KU Commencement experience.

Crossing the finish line

Greg Dalzell, b’86, followed in his father’s footsteps by running for the KU track team. His father, Art Dalzell, d’55, g’64, helped KU win numerous conference championships and a cross country national title (’53) in addition to earning his two KU degrees. Greg followed suit, contributing to a Big 8 conference indoor title (’83) while pursuing his business degree at KU. Unfortunately, the mid-May timing of the 1986 conference outdoor championship meet cost him his opportunity to participate in KU’s time-honored Commencement tradition of walking down the Hill.

Fast forward to 2018, when Greg’s daughter Dorie–a third-generation Jayhawk track team member–was ready to walk, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make it a family affair. While many of her Jayhawk teammates were still competing in the Big 12 outdoor track & field championships in Waco, Dorie was able to cross a more meaningful finish line with her father by her side.

“Dorie’s time in Lawrence has been a great experience for both of us, and I cannot believe how fast it went,” Greg shared. “Commencement was so much fun. I can’t imagine I would have had a better time 32 years ago.”

A family affair

The Dalzells share a rare distinction of having three generations of KU track & field captains in the family. When Dorie was awarded the honor for the 2017 season, joining her father and grandfather in holding the title of KU track captain, it was one of the highlights of her KU career.

“It was really overwhelming,” she admitted in an interview for KU Athletics’ Rock Chalk Weekly. “I knew my grandpa and dad had both been captains, so I always kind of wanted to be one, but I didn’t want to express it outwardly. To be a captain, and know that I had kept that going in our family, it felt amazing.”

Dorie had planned to be competing with her teammates in Waco on Sunday during Commencement. However, fate intervened, and a graduation celebration that was thought to be put off for a later date suddenly became possible.

“After Dorie’s track career ended prematurely, the Commencement walk was a great way for the two of us to cap off our shared KU experience,” Greg reflected after a memorable weekend. “Neither of us will ever forget walking through the Campanile together.”

–David Johnston

Tags: , , , , ,