A diary of Flying Jayhawks journey through Switzerland

Posted on Aug 20, 2019 in News

From Zurich, to Bern, to Lucern, the Flying Jayhawks made their way through Switzerland and back during their week-long journey abroad.

Day 1 | Gateway to the Bernese Oberland

After arriving in Zurich, the group of Flying Jayhawks enjoyed a walking tour of Thun, learning about the gateway to the Bernese Oberland while walking below the picturesque Thun castle and along the Aare River.

The evening brought our entire travel party together for a reception at the hotel, followed by dinner on the banks of the Aare.

Flying Jayhawks | Swiss Alps

Day 2 | Oberhofen Castle

The Flying Jayhawks hopped on a ferry to tour the Oberhofen castle. The historic five-story castle has been preserved and now functions as a modern-day museum, offering a glimpse into the lives of the nobles and servants who once traversed the many halls and rooms of this lakefront property.

Nothing whets an appetite quite like storming the castle, so our flying Jayhawks set sail once again, this time destined for Spiez for a local lunch and an opportunity to freely explore the Spiez castle.

Flying Jayhawks | Switzerland

Day 3 | All aboard!

Trains, trains and more trains ruled the day as the jolly Jayhawks took to the rails and Brienz, Switzerland.

Following a quick ride on Switzerland’s public train system, the group of tireless travelers boarded a steam train for an hour climb up Brienzer Rothorn. Once atop the mountain, the view of low hanging clouds was impressive. Although our time atop the mountain was short, spirits remained high … although that may have been the altitude.

A stop along our descent at Planalp made for a delicious midday, authentic homemade mountain meal. Our day ended in Interlaken with Jayhawks free to explore the popular tourist city found between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

Flying Jayhawks | Switzerland

Day 4 | Tour of Bern, Switzerland

Take us to your leaders! Or, at least to the buildings your leaders work in.

Having mastered the Swiss public rail transit, our flock of Hawks traveled east to Bern, the capital of Switzerland. Built around a crook in the Aare River, with its origins dating back to the 12th century, Bern Switzerland is home to more than 125,000 Swiss citizens.

Our walking tour included stops at the Parliament building, the Cathedral of Bern and the Zytglogge, a medieval tower built in the 13th century that has served as a guard tower, prison and now a clock tower.

Flying Jayhawks | Switzerland

Day 5 | Kandersteg to Oeschinen Lake

The mountain is calling, and I must go.

Mountaineering was the theme of the day as we traveled to the high-altitude resort village of Kandersteg. A quick and scenic gondola ride from Kandersteg further up the Alps led to Oeschinen Lake. This turquoise-colored lake is elevated over 5,000 feet in the Alps. The lake is filled through a series of mountain streams and it drains underground.

Flying Jayhawks | Switzerland

Day 6 | Tour of Lucerne

A morning full of rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of our Flying Jayhawks in Lucerne. Upon emerging from the train station and crossing the Reuss river, we looked upon the gothic towers of the Church of St. Leodegar, built between 1633 and 1639.

A quick jaunt took us to the Lion Monument, or the Lion of Lucerne. This beautiful relief carving was designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen and created by Lukas Ahorn in 1820. The monument stands as a tribute to the Swiss Guards massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

Our guided time in Lucerne culminated with a stroll across the landmark covered wooden Chapel Bridge, and a quick stop in the first large baroque church built in Switzerland, the Jesuit Church of Lucerne.

Flying Jayhawks | Switzerland

Day 7 | Muerren, Schilthorn and Gimmewald

All good things must come to an end, but this trip could not have ended in a more scenic location. Our final excursion took us once again high in the Swiss Alps, first to Lauterbrunnen, then on to Murren, a small mountain town of 300, with 1,200 beds for tourists.

After a leisurely stroll through this quaint and welcoming town, the Flying Jayhawks could once again board a gondola if they chose to climb even higher in the Alps with a 30-minute ride to Birg, then onto Schilthorn.

The Schilthorn is a summit in the Bernese Alps with an elevation over 9,700 feet. From this majestic summit, visitors can view Switzerland’s three largest mountains, the Jungfrau, Monch, and Eiger.

The Jungfrau registers as Europe’s highest point. Since 1969, the Schilthorn has also been known for its appearance in the James Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. No trip to this summit is complete without a spin in the rotating restaurant and a trip through their 007 museum.

Flying Jayhawks | Switzerland

The Flying Jayhawks “Switzerland” trip took place July 31-August 8, 2019. The trip was hosted by Angie Storey, senior vice president of donor & member relations along with Dan Storey, photographer & videographer. View more photos from the trip; pictures may be downloaded for personal use. Find more information about Flying Jayhawks trips, including a schedule, or sign up for travel emails.

Tags: , ,

Old bones raised in new KU building

Posted on Dec 1, 2017 in News

Mosasaur and sea turtle installation at the Earth, Energy & Environment building at the University of Kansas.

The new Earth, Energy & Environment Center will include some old bones.

Triebold Paleontology recently cast and installed a replica of a mosasaur fossil known as Tylosaurus proriger. C.D. Bunker, curator at KU’s Natural History Museum, and his associates collected the fossil in Wallace County in 1911.

An intimidating predator, the mosasaur will take your breath away. The size and length are imposing enough. But its teeth seal the deal—or in this case, the fate of an 84-million-year-old sea turtle the Tylosaurus is chasing in the display

“This is the Earth Energy and Environment Center; it’s all about the earth sciences,” said Bob Goldstein, Haas Distinguished professor of geology and special advisor for campus development in the provost’s office. “What better specimen to bring the public in than a spectacular 45-foot-long sea monster from the cretaceous of Kansas.”

Ancient fossils and KU connections

Sea turtles were likely prey for mosasaurs, and this particular fossil shows nearly 100 bite marks from a mosasaur similar in size to Tylosaurus proriger. Anthony Maltese, c’04, was part of the team that collected the sea turtle fossil south of Quinter in October, 2011.

Bunker’s original Tylosaurus specimen resides at the KU Natural History Museum in Dyche Hall. It is believed to be the largest complete mosasaur fossil in existence.

About the Earth, Energy & Environment Center

The Earth, Energy & Environment Center (EEEC) sits next to Lindley Hall and will open for classes in spring 2018. The two buildings of the EEEC—Ritchie Hall and Slawson Hall— will feature bridges to Lindley Hall and Learned Hall.

The multidisciplinary center is a collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering. It will bring together faculty, students and researchers from geology and engineering to tackle energy and environmental research.

—Dan Storey

Watch the slideshow below to see more pictures of the installation, or view the photos on Flickr. Read more about the installation from the Lawrence Journal-World.

Earth, Energy & Environment Center Mosasaur installation

Tags: , , , , , ,

A welcomed return

Posted on Oct 13, 2017 in News

Joel Embiid returns to Allen Fieldhouse

Less than a week after Homecoming on the Hill, KU men’s basketball welcomed back one of its most recent stars. In preparation for Friday’s NBA preseason game at Sprint Center, Joel Embiid and his Philadelphia 76ers teammates traveled from Kansas City to Lawrence to hold practice at Allen Field House.

“We looked at it, and we were that close playing in Kansas City we thought it would be appropriate to visit this historic place,” coach Brett Brown said. “The historic perspective of this building, along with Joel’s history here, made it a no-brainer we should drive 45 minutes down the road and experience the building and practice here.”

The Sixers’ practice in Allen Field House gave their lone Jayhawk a rare in-season opportunity to visit the campus he dearly adores.

“I was supposed to take the bus with the team, but I wanted to walk around,” Embiid said. “I wanted to do that just to feel like I stayed for three more years, and I’m definitely going to come back to finish school.”

A secret revealed

The chance to relive his college days led Embiid, ’17, to share a secret about how much time he could have spent on the Hill: “I don’t think anybody knows this story. I actually decided to stay because I love this place so much, but I was kind of pushed to leave. Any time I get the chance to come back I’m going to do that. Stepping on this court, this is where it all started for me, so I’m really thankful.”

The Sixers selected Embiid third overall in the 2014 NBA draft, but the athletic 7-footer has been limited to 31 regular-season NBA games due to foot and back injuries, setbacks that almost led him to quit the game during his second year as a pro. The lack of game experience has not slowed Embiid’s development, due in large part to his capacity as a visual learner.

“It’s a rare skill,” coach Brown says. “He’ll see Dirk Nowitzki do something or Kevin Durant or Tim Duncan back in the day, and the next day it’s in his game and he’s trying it. His spirit is great. We need it to be great.”


This year, expectations for the Sixers include a potential playoff spot, which with a healthy Embiid would not be surprising. As he looks to lead his team to long overdue success, Embiid also knows what he left behind just three years ago.

“I miss the culture,” he says. “You know, the fans were amazing over here. We have some Duke teammates who think they got the best arena, but I always tell them, ‘You never been here.’ Sixteen thousand people cheering, you can’t even hear.”

The Sixers and Heat will tip off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, in Kansas City’s Sprint Center.

—Dan Storey

Watch our slideshow below for more pictures from the team’s practice, or view the photos on Flickr.


Tags: , , , ,

KLETC unveils ‘The Protector’

Posted on Aug 11, 2017 in News

Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center unveils 'The Protector' statue

When designing the 2006 expansion of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center south of Hutchinson, architects left a mound of dirt with a cement platform in the courtyard between the campus cafeteria and auditorium. The embankment would become the ideal location to honor the men and women sworn to protect and serve.

Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center unveils 'The Protector' statueThe knoll sat dormant until 2015, when Bob Senecal and his wife, Evelyn, visited the campus and told Director Ed Pavey of their desire to commission a monument for KLETC, which since 1968 has provided vital basic training for all law enforcement officers in Kansas. The KLETC is a division of KU Professional & Continuing Education, which Bob Senecal led for 21 years as dean during his KU career of more than 30 years.

The Senecals collaborated with Austin Weishel, a nationally recognized sculptor from Loveland, Colorado, and the KLETC staff to create a vision for “The Protector,” a bronze sculpture unveiled July 27 at a celebration that included Chancellor Douglas Girod and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, j’90, SJD’16.

“The work that our law enforcement provide across the state and region is absolutely critical in today’s society and certainly very challenging,” Girod said. “The preparation they get through this center is so important. Ultimately, it’s about a sworn duty to protect, which is why I think the name of this statue is so fitting.”

“While the training and the science of law enforcement is so critical, … it really is the art of law enforcement that makes a good cop,” Schmidt said, “so I think it’s really important that we’re here today celebrating the addition of a central piece of art to the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.”

While the new statue is sure to catch the eye of those working and training at the KLETC, the campus also welcomes visitors. To schedule a tour between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, contact Lisa Webster, assistant to the director, at lwebster@kletc.org.

—Dan Storey

KLETC unveils 'The Protector' statue. (l to r) Chancellor Girod; David Cook, vice chancellor of the KU Edwards Campus; Ed Pavey, KLETC director; Evelyn and Bob Senecal; Attorney General Derek Schmidt; and Sharon Graham, assistant vice chancellor of KU Professional & Continuing Education
Left to right: Chancellor Girod; David Cook, vice chancellor of the KU Edwards Campus; Ed Pavey, KLETC director; Evelyn and Bob Senecal; Attorney General Derek Schmidt; and Sharon Graham, assistant vice chancellor of KU Professional & Continuing Education



Tags: , , , ,

Union hosts ribbon-cutting ceremony for new event space, the Jay

Posted on Sep 3, 2015 in News

img_news_jay_ribbon_cuttingKU Memorial Unions and Student Union Activities opened the doors Sept. 3 for the Jay, a new, 4,200-square foot event space in the former Jaybowl site.

Jessie Pringle, student body president; Lauren Arney, KU Memorial Unions Corporation board president; and Kassandra Valles, Student Union Activities president, performed the ribbon-cutting as David Mucci, KU Memorial Unions director, welcomed students, faculty and staff into the renovated space.

“I think you’re going to like what you see,” Mucci said, “and there will be more to come.”

Among the ceremony participants were U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, c’99, l’02, past president of the KU Memorial Unions board, and Dan Sabatini, a’86, whose architecture firm, Sabatini Architects, designed the renovation.

“We maintained some of the Jaybowl’s original character,” Sabatini says. “The ceilings still have the black lights, and those special projectors for cosmic bowling are still here.”

Fans of the old Jaybowl, which closed its doors May 9, will also find memorabilia and photographs of the 62-year-old campus fixture displayed in cases outside the entrance of the new Jay.

See more pictures from the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Flickr.

—Heather Biele

Photos by Dan Storey

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Students descend on Daisy Hill for move-in day

Posted on Aug 20, 2015 in News

KU's move-in day 2015
Clear blue skies, bountiful sunshine and nearly record-setting temperatures in the low 70s set the stage for a successful move-in day Aug. 20 as thousands of students and their families and friends descended on Mount Oread.

On Daisy Hill, KU Housing staff were on hand to guide the procession of cars from the Lied Center to the residence halls, where several teams of volunteers helped unload carloads of belongings and deliver them to each student’s assigned suite.

“The process is very, very organized,” says Kim Rupe, of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, whose son, Kaleb, is moving into the brand-new Oswald Hall. “It takes some of the anxiety away. It’s really nice.”

Move-in day kicks off the start of ’Hawk Week, a series of events designed to welcome students to the Hill and prepare them for a successful semester. On Saturday, the Student Alumni Association will host ’Hawkfest, right before Traditions Night.

Click here to see more pictures from move-in day.

Photos by Dan Storey

—Heather Biele

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Jayhawks prep for NCAA opener; Omaha rally set for 8 a.m.

Posted on Mar 19, 2015 in News

KU basketball team at open practice in Omaha | www.kualumni.org
While Alumni Association staff busily prepared for Friday’s 8 a.m. pregame rally on the second floor of the convention center in Omaha’s CenturyLink Center, the KU men’s basketball team met with the media and went through a public shoot-around practice in advance of Friday’s 11:15 a.m. NCAA Tournament opener against New Mexico State.

The second-seeded Jayhawks (26-8) say the memories of last year’s opening weekend exit after suffering an upset by Stanford remains fresh in their minds.

“Last year went by way too fast,” said sophomore guard Wayne Selden Jr. “Just like that we were done. This year we’re trying to take a different approach, focusing in on the little details.”

Coach Bill Self said junior forward Perry Ellis, the team’s leading scorer, “looks a lot better than last week.” Ellis sustained a knee injury in the second-to-last game of the regular season, March 3 against West Virginia, and missed two games before returning for the Big 12 Tournament’s semifinal and championship games.

“He’s been terrific,” Self said of Ellis’ performance in practice this week. “He hasn’t winced once, and hasn’t had to come out. … I think he’s going to play great.”

The Aggies of New Mexico State (26-8), a No. 15 seed, have won 13 straight games, including an 80-61 victory over Seattle University in the WAC championship game. The tournament title followed a regular-season conference championship for the Aggies, who are known for a tough zone defense with varied looks.

Self said he expected the experienced Aggies, with three seniors in the starting lineup, to enter Friday’s game with “an unbelievable sense of urgency.”

As for his own team, Self said that unlike last season, when the Jayhawks “were a team in flux” entering the NCAA Tournament, he and his club are eliminating distractions. Despite inconsistencies across the season and even within games, Self has high hopes for his team’s performance.

“My expectation,” Self said, “is that we are going to play our best ball.”

—Chris Lazzarino

Watch our slideshow below to see a few pictures from Thursday’s open practice. Photos by Dan Storey and Chris Lazzarino.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Behind the scenes with Coach Bill Self

Posted on Mar 12, 2015 in News

When Tegan Thornberry joined the staff at the KU Alumni Association, we knew we had managed to lure a valued team member away from our friends over at Kansas Athletics. Tegan, d’05, g’10, who coordinates the Flying Jayhawks travel program and Future Jayhawks membership program for the Association, is not only great at her job and just plain awesome—she also bakes. Our confectionery gain was Athletics’ loss, until we needed a meeting with Coach Self. Getting time on Coach’s calendar is tough enough, and even harder during a tight conference race.

That is, unless you come with a plate of Tegan’s baked goodness: “Coach Self will see you now.”

In all seriousness, Tegan’s arranged reunion was also an opportunity for Coach Self to help out his buddy Kevin Corbett after offering to help sing the Association’s praises. True to his word, Coach has supported the Association—Bill and Cindy Self are Joint Life Members—by attending events like the Rock Chalk Ball, Jayhawk Roundup and Salina Steak Out through the years. His office frequently contributes auction items in support of alumni programs and scholarships. So he was all too happy to go on-camera with staff videographer Dan Storey to share why he’s a Proud Member. The cookies probably didn’t hurt either.

Watch Coach Self’s Proud Member video here.

Coach started his day with us, and he couldn’t have been more hospitable, proudly sharing some of the treasured items around his office, including those pictured below.

The Big 12 Digital Network also went behind the scenes with Coach Self for a tour of his office, which alumni can watch below. We’re thrilled to count Bill and Cindy Self among the thousands of alumni who are proud members of the KU Alumni Association.

Bill Self’s Coach’s Corner, Part 1:


Bill Self’s Coach’s Corner, Part 2:

– David Johnston

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Ice Cold Gold: Adventures in Greenland

Posted on Feb 6, 2015 in News

Television producer David Casey, ’01, discusses his love for the Jayhawks and how he produced a TV show 3,000 miles from the Hill: “Ice Cold Gold,” an adventure series set in Greenland that airs on the Animal Planet network.

—Video by Dan Storey

Tags: , , , ,

KU Memorial Unions host ribbon-cutting ceremony for Jayhawk Collection

Posted on Jan 30, 2015 in News

Jayhawk Collection, Kansas Union | www.kualumni.org

The KU Memorial Unions and Student Union Activities hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 29 to mark the grand opening of the Jayhawk Collection, which has a permanent home—thanks to the generosity of local donors James and Mary Ellen Ascher—in the Union’s level two corridor.

The 1,000-plus piece collection, which is displayed in floor-to-ceiling glass cases designed by Sabatini Architects and constructed by B.A. Green Construction, boasts almost any piece of KU memorabilia imaginable, including Jayhawk figurines in every shape and size, apparel, lamps, pens and even antique popcorn tins.

Kenneth “Bud” Jennings, ’57, who started the collection when he was 12, happily spoke to the crowd about the origins of his impressive assortment of KU memorabilia. “My neighbor, who worked at KU, gave me my first Jayhawk toy,” he recalled. From there, the collection only grew as Jennings went to garage sales and auctions over the years.

The collection had been on display in the Union for four years through an agreement with Jennings before he finally decided to auction it off. That was when James, ’51, and Mary Ellen, assoc., stepped in to make a donation to keep the collection where it belonged—on the KU campus.

Mike Reid, director of public affairs, acknowledged the Aschers’ generosity during the ceremony’s opening statements. “Thanks to the Aschers for stepping forward and keeping the Jayhawk spirit alive,” he said. “And thanks for letting us continue to share this collection with all of the Jayhawk nation.”

The Aschers also attended the ceremony and were on hand to help cut the ribbon. “I think it’s beautiful,” James said. “I’m amazed at what they’ve accomplished. The people who put this together are really the ones who get the credit.”

Jayhawk Collection ribbon-cutting event | www.kualumni.org

After the ceremony, participants walked the hallway, admiring the collection, which now also contains pieces donated by others in the KU community, and sharing their own stories about pieces they had acquired over the years. Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info, recognized a hat he had contributed to the collection and was excited to see it displayed with the other historical items. “No one’s going to believe me that it’s my contribution,” he joked.

The Jayhawk Collection is available for viewing at no charge during the Union’s normal operating hours. Be sure to stop by on your next visit to campus.

—Heather Biele

Watch the slideshow below to see photos from the event and of the Jayhawk Collection. Photos by Dan Storey.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,