Every Jayhawk has his or her own home on the Hill, but for Patrick McCarty, it’s one shared with his family.
McCarty, f’04 g’14, had the special experience of sharing the field with his father Gary McCarty, d’76, and grandfather Philip McCarty, d’52, for alumni band day at 1999’s Homecoming celebration.
“At first, it seemed like a normal game day,” McCarty said. “However, right before the halftime performance, it dawned on me how special of a moment and opportunity it was for myself, my father, and my grandfather to perform together on the campus that we all went to college to. It is probably the first and only time we ever had the opportunity to perform together.”
The McCartys claim three generations in the Marching Jayhawks, but music runs deeper in the family.
“My grandfather was one of the first to study in the beginning stages of the KU music therapy program, and he ended up working in hospitals helping patients cope and recover through the use of music. My father went on to be a high school band director for over 30 years before he retired. My mother (Diane McCarty, d’74 g’81) was an elementary music teacher for many years before retiring. My younger brother is also a professional musician.”
Patrick keeps the music going, too. He’s in his 14th year as a high school or college band director, currently at Olathe North. He points to his time at KU as a reason why.
“The professors, colleagues, and friends that I made during my time at KU in the music education program and band program have been incredibly inspirational towards the musician, teacher, and person that I now am today. The band program provided a great musical and social outlet, including some very special performance memories, like playing drumset in the KU Men’s Basketball Band at the 2002 and 2003 Final Four.”
KU Alumni Band performs annually during the Homecoming Parade and at halftime of the Homecoming football game. For more information about alumni band weekend, visit the KU Band Alumni Network page.
At this time of year we joyously celebrate our newest assembly of graduates and wish them well in their personal and professional journeys. And then something powerful happens. Our new alumni apply what they’ve learned here, add more knowledge along the way, and, given a little more time and some hard work, emerge as leaders.
Our alumni give so much of their time, treasure, and talent to the University of Kansas that it is truly uplifting. One intangible gift they offer, specifically for KU students, is inspiration. These Jayhawks combined their knowledge, experiences, and KU connections and then fashioned them into remarkable success.
Throughout the year, the schools and the College make a point to recognize a handful of alumni who are shaping their workplace, their fields, their communities, and society. On Friday night, the School of Pharmacy recognized alumnus Joe Courtright, CEO of USA Drug, now part of Walgreens.
This weekend the School of Law presented its top alumni honor to three graduates, Judge Karen Arnold-Burger chief judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals; John Bowman, partner with King & Spalding LLP; and William “Brad” Bradley Jr., founder of NIC Inc. In September, the College feted diplomat and executive Delano Lewis, and the School of Architecture and Design announced three recipients of its inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards.
In February, the School of Music delivered its first Outstanding Music Educator Award to Kelli Baker during a statewide music educators workshop. In the coming days, the School of Business and the School of Engineering will announce honors for some of their luminaries; the School of Education will honor alumna and Superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas, School District Cynthia Lane with KU’s Friend of Education Award; and the School of Social Welfare will recognize excellent field instructors, many of whom are program alumni, with the annual Margo Award.
Delano Lewis. Photo by Brian Goodman Photography.
The recognition of our Jayhawks isn’t limited to academic units. Achievements come from near and far. Music alumnus and organist Brian Mathias was recently selected to join one of the nation’s biggest gigs, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Over the past year, two of our alumni, Diane Yetter and Terry Putney, were named among Accounting Today’s 2017 “100 Most Influential People in Accounting.”
Closer to home, the KU Alumni Association presented its 2017 Fred Ellsworth Medallion to College alumnus John Mize and B-School alumnus John B. Dicus, who, incidentally, is now the first third-generation recipient of the award. In October the Black Alumni Network of the KU Alumni Association celebrated nine alumni — including Associate Dean of Engineering Andrew Williams and Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs Reggie Robinson — with the Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award.
Our institution-wide pinnacle, KU’s Honorary Degree, is regularly bestowed upon influencers, change leaders, and innovators, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos.
Students, the abundant success of our alumni tells us something valuable: It’s important to take calculated risks and seize the opportunities as they appear to us. Be bold as you embark on your careers. As faculty and staff, we’ve seen your potential firsthand. We know you’re destined to succeed. Promise me you’ll maintain connections to KU — social media can’t do it all. Make a point to really stay in touch with each other and this great institution. What you know matters. Who you know matters, too.
One day in the future, and sooner than you might think, you too will be an inspiration for a fresh generation of KU graduates. You have it in you to be a leader. We know because you’re already a Jayhawk.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
It’s time for our sometimes-annual roundup of holiday cards from departments across the University of Kansas campus.
KU School of Music
The KU School of Music’s video greeting includes original music and animation by Leslee Wood, a graduate student working on a doctorate in musicology. The music is performed by the Bellissimo bell choir, directed by KU alumnus Jackson Thomas.
KU School of Law
Dean Stephen Mazza and the entire KU School of Law family are wishing Jayhawks an easy, breezy holiday season filled with peace & good cheer. Their greeting gives a playful nod to Dean Mazza’s area of expertise, tax policy and procedure.
KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
As the fall semester drew to a close, the College took the time to thank those who makes the KU experience special for everyone involved with a snowy picture of the bronze “Academic Jay” outside their office in Strong Hall.
Thank you, Jayhawks, for another fantastic semester. It’s you, our creative, compassionate and curious faculty, students, staff and alumni, that make the College the #HeartofKU. We appreciate all you do and hope you enjoy the winter break! pic.twitter.com/jhV3m7hWox
If you have ever thought to yourself that James Naismith bore a striking resemblance to Teddy Roosevelt, you’re not alone. In fact, KU’s very own Junior James Naismith, a.k.a. Harrison Leiszler, proved the point, and with the help of his industrious (and clearly creative) father, Chris Leiszler, c’01, little Harrison had a Halloween costume that truly rocked.
Dressed as Mount Rushmore, the bespectacled Harrison battled the Captain of the Titanic for the top costume at the KU Symphony Orchestra annual Halloween concert at the Lied Center of Kansas. The popular event hosted by the KU School of Music included spooky music, costumed musicians and an instrument petting zoo (where kids could toot their own horn, or try a violin).
As fate would have it, Mount Rushmore happened to celebrate its 75th birthday on October 31, so the timing couldn’t have been better. Pictures of Harrison became so popular online that the South Dakota Department of Tourism reached out to ask Chris and Anne Marie Leiszler, b’00, to feature him on their Facebook page. The proud parents agreed, and the rest is, well, history.