The 2014 renovation by Lawrence firm Gould Evans was led by Tony Rohr, a’85, and John Wilkins, a’86, and was overseen by library director Brad Allen, c’97. The $19-million project gutted the original building at 707 Vermont Street, built in 1972, and added 50 percent more interior space on top of the old building’s footprint, plus an outdoor plaza for performance and community events.
As reported in issue No. 4 of Kansas Alumni, the library earlier this year earned one of seven Library Building Awards from the American Institutes of Architects and the American Library Association. The Lawrence Public Library is one of only two U.S. libraries to make Wired’s international list, which draws heavily from Europe and Asia.
“A good library is more than a repository of books—it’s a community resource,” Wired notes. “Many of them function not just as singular temples to the written word, but community centers, auditoria, concert halls, and public gardens. All of them are works of art in themselves.”
In this case a work of art that’s meant to be enjoyed up close, not admired from afar.
“I hope that people see the library as a coming-together space,” Allen says, “that community living room that people talk about a good bit. I hope they see this is as really a place that we can all cherish for generations to come.”
The Lawrence Women’s Network is a new effort by the KU Alumni Association that enables members to meet for friendship, professional networking and service to the university and the association. As a division of the Lawrence Alumni Network, the group will sponsor educational, cultural and social events to further engage local Jayhawks and help us provide relevant and interesting programs.
The kickoff event is purely social: join fellow Jayhawks at Painted Kanvas, a local family-owned and operated paint and wine studio. The event will featured guided instruction to create your very own painting of the 1912 Jayhawk.
Light appetizers will be provided, and full bar service including beer, wine and cocktails will be available. Space is limited, so register online today! The cost is $35 for alumni association members and $45 for nonmembers. And, although this event is hosted by the new Women’s Alumni Network, all friends of KU are welcome to attend.
Do you have suggestions for future events or programs? Contact Tyler Rockers, assistant director of national and Kansas networks, at email@example.com, or reach out to one of our local network volunteers—a list of volunteers is available here. Be sure to also join our Lawrence Jayhawks Facebook group!
A University of Kansas sorority house was recognized by the City of Lawrence as a historical landmark this week.
Members of the Chi Omega sorority filed an application with the City of Lawrence last February to nominate the chapter’s house, 1345 West Campus Rd., for designation as a landmark on the Lawrence Register of Historic Places.
City staff recommended approval of the designation, and the Lawrence City Commissioners unanimously voted at their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12, to add the structure to the register.
Listing on the local register helps preserve resources important to Lawrence’s history; a primary goal of the Historic Resources Commission is to build a register of properties which show the diversity and growth of Lawrence since its inception.
The annual Veteran’s Day Run, hosted by the Veterans Alumni Network and KU’s Student Veterans of America, was held on Sunday, November 15.
The race began at Memorial Stadium, build to honor the 130 students and faculty members who lost their lives in World War I, including Lt. William T. Fitzsimons, an alumnus and doctor who was the first America officer killed in action. Runners traveled past other memorials on the KU campus before returning to the stadium for fun and festivities.
Congratulations to the 142 runners who completed the race! Race results are available here.
This Veteran’s Day Run is designed to honor all those who have served or are currently serving in our military and to raise awareness of the role veterans play at our university. All proceeds raised will support KU’s Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund (WWSF) and Student Veterans of America (SVA).
For more information about the Veterans Alumni Network or to provide information about your military service, visit the network’s website.
See more pictures from this year’s run on Flickr. Participants are welcome to download photos for personal use.
The 2015 recipients of the Fred Ellsworth Medallion for extraordinary service to the University of Kansas are Carolyn “Kay” Cromb Brada of Lawrence and Ray D. Evans of Leawood. The KU Alumni Association will honor them Friday, Sept. 11, during the fall meeting of the association’s national board of directors. Since 1975, the medallions have recognized KU volunteers who have continued the tradition of service established by Ellsworth, a 1922 KU graduate who was the association’s chief executive for 39 years, retiring in 1963.
Brada has assisted KU in numerous roles since earning her bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in 1961. In Hutchinson, she coordinated annual events for the Kansas Honors Program, the Alumni Association’s longstanding tradition of recognizing academically talented high school seniors throughout the state. She also hosted many other KU events as an alumni network volunteer. In the 1980s, she served five years on the Alumni Association’s national board of directors.
She continued her service in Wichita, helping to recruit numerous KU students and Alumni Association members through the years and advocating for KU in the Kansas Legislature as a member of Jayhawks for Higher Education. Most recently she served on the 4-Wichita Advancement Board to expand the medical school’s curriculum to four years.
“The Alumni Association and many other areas of KU have benefited from Kay’s straightforward advice and keen insight through the years,” said Heath Peterson, the Alumni Association’s interim president. “She believes wholeheartedly in giving back to the university that changed her life so future generations will benefit from the KU experience.”
As Alumni Association life members and donors to the Presidents Club, Brada and her husband, Don, have attended countless KU events in communities throughout Kansas and the nation. In 2012, they created an endowment to support the Association’s alumni outreach programs.
For KU Endowment, she has served on the advisory boards for the Chancellors Club, Women Philanthropists for KU and the Greater University Fund. She also served on the Campaign Kansas National Council. The Bradas are members of the Chancellors Club, and they have provided support for numerous KU programs, including the Dole Institute of Politics. For Kansas Athletics, the Bradas are members of the Williams Education Fund.
Her father, Arthur “Red” Cromb, a 1930 KU graduate, was among the first winners of the Ellsworth medallion when the association created the award in 1975. Cromb led the Alumni Association as national president from 1959 to 1960 and served on the Kansas Board of Regents.
Evans, who earned his KU bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business in 1982 and 1984, is managing partner of Pegasus Capital Management in Overland Park and a former member of the KU School of Business advisory board.
He led the Alumni Association as national chair from 2012 to ’13 after beginning his term on the board in 2007. He also led the Kansas City Alumni Network as president and assisted the annual Rock Chalk Ball as a member of the steering committee. He and his wife, Sarah, chaired the event in 2012, and they are Alumni Association life members and Presidents Club donors. They also contribute to the Chancellors Club for KU Endowment, where he is a trustee and member of the investment committee.
“KU is a stronger institution today because of Ray Evans,” Peterson said. “He is a trusted adviser to the university on many important issues and has provided top-shelf leadership as a volunteer. Ray is a pillar of the KU community.”
Evans has advocated for KU in Kansas City as a member of the KU Edwards Campus advisory board and by raising funds to support the KU Cancer Center and the university’s successful quest to earn National Cancer Institute designation.
For Kansas Athletics, Evans led the search committee to hire Sheahon Zenger as athletics director. As a former football player for Coach Don Fambrough, Evans has steadfastly supported the football program and was part of the committee that hired Coach David Beaty. The Evanses are members of the Williams Education Fund.
Evans also continues a family tradition of commitment to KU. His father, Ray R. Evans, a 1947 KU graduate, led the Alumni Association as national president from 1952 to 1953 and received the Ellsworth medallion in 1976. He was a member of the 1948 Orange Bowl team and an All-American in both football and basketball. He also served on the Kansas Board of Regents.
For someone who has never taken a photography course—let alone used a single-lens reflex camera or a tripod—Rachael Perry has certainly put her stamp on the arts scene in Lawrence. She’s the artist behind hundreds of large-scale, black and white photographs scattered throughout town, collectively known as the Lawrence Inside Out project.
The effort is part of the global Inside Out campaign, which was created by a street artist in France who encouraged people around the world to have their portrait taken to support a common theme. Perry, c’10, who envisioned photographing local artists, supporters of the arts and even children who create, saw the project as a perfect fit for her hometown.
“I wanted to show the world that Lawrence has this beautiful, vibrant art community,” she says.
Perry applied for a grant from the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission and received $1,200 to bring the project to life.
Wasting no time, she got to work and created a website where people could sign up to have their portrait taken. She also established a social media presence for the project.
“I did a lot of online outreach,” she says. “Social media was a really great tool for this project, especially Facebook. It really changed the way I work.”
The interest was almost immediate, and Perry soon found herself hosting portrait sessions to reach more people in one sitting. She devoted about 15 minutes to everyone she photographed and asked questions to understand how art played a role in each person’s life. Their quotes would eventually accompany the portraits to help viewers feel more connected to each individual.
“I learned really quickly how to get people loosened up and comfortable,” Perry says. “I would try to distract most people by talking to them. That’s what I did a lot of times, and I would shoot them while I was doing it.”
Within a year, Perry had 650 photographs in her portfolio. She only had enough money left from the grant to print 40 images but received assistance from the global Inside Out project to print another 200. The rest she printed at no cost with the help of local Lawrence businesses. Two weeks later, the photographs were gracing storefront windows and gallery walls throughout town.
“To see the pieces in place and then immediately see the reactions from passersby was crazy,” she says. “Even now, when I’m walking downtown, I catch people looking at them. Everyone loves to go and find people they know.”
Although the exhibition has gradually starting coming down, portraits can still be found in certain locations around town, including the Lawrence Public Library, where an entire wall is dedicated to housing smaller printouts of all 650 photographs. The portraits also will be collected in a book, created by local designer Deb Stavin, f’84, scheduled for release this summer.
This week, art lovers can catch a slideshow of the portraits on the north wall of Weaver’s Department Store as part of Lawrence’s Free State Festival, a weeklong celebration of music, art and film. The images will be projected from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesday through Friday.
Like many close friends, Sara Stotts and Julie Thies Dunlap can finish each other’s sentences. They also finish each other’s songs—much to the delight of audiences who have seen their irreverent musical, “MotherFreakingHood!” (Maternal Discretion Advised), which makes its Kansas City debut May 29-June 14 at the Goppert Theatre at Avila University.
The two began creating music—including Rock Chalk Revue productions—as Kappa Alpha Theta sorority sisters and roommates at KU. Like true collaborators, each credits the other for their successful partnership.
“I’m not a singer,” Dunlap says. “Sara’s a phenomenal singer. I can play the piano and barely carry a tune to get my idea across to her. She’s really fantastic.”
Stotts, d’95, a physical therapist in Chicago, has performed with comedy troupes, including The Second City and Annoyance Theatre. Improvisation helped her hone her comedic skills, she says, but Dunlap “helped me find my funny bone. I was a lot funnier after I met Julie. Before her, I was boring.”
Dunlap, c’98, hatched the plot for “MotherFreakingHood” following Stotts’ 40th birthday party, when Stotts’ husband, Bill Vellon, booked a comedy band to perform. The party triggered Dunlap’s creativity. “I started thinking about when we were roommates, doing Rock Chalk Revue. We wrote stuff all the time,” she recalls. “I thought we should make a show about motherhood, so I called Sara and suggested we write this musical and make it about three moms—and she didn’t call me back for probably three months. I thought, ‘Well, I guess we’re not going to do that.’
“I had written a couple of songs just for fun, and Sara finally called me one day and said, ‘OK, I’m in. I’ve written three songs, and I’m ready. Let’s go.’ So we did.”
When they began the project, Stotts’ children, Steven and Lauren, were 3 and 1, and Dunlap, who lives in Lawrence with her husband, David, c’92, m’96, was guiding her four children through grade school while writing a weekly column for the Lawrence Journal-World.
After sharing songs and ideas long-distance and holing up at hotels in Lawrence and Chicago for weekends of writing, the two finished the musical (originally called “Mother%$!#hood”), and it sold out in fall 2013 at the Lawrence Arts Center. Their work caught the attention of producer Seth Eckelman and Moonshine Variety Co., which is staging the Kansas City premiere.
The show tells the stories of three mothers, Rachael, Angie and Marcia, whose children range in ages from infants to teenagers. “We had very few rules, but one of them was that everything had to be funny,” Dunlap explains. “There cannot be anything sad and nobody dies in the show. Motherhood is stressful enough; you don’t want to go to a play and cry about it. And it had to be truthful—and I mean the truth in your head. The truth you might not even tell your best friend.”
For the musical’s Lawrence debut, Dunlap directed and Stotts played Marcia, the oldest mom in the show who is surprised to learn she’s having a “bonus baby.” Now the two are watching director Heidi Vann and new actresses interpret their work for the Kansas City production. “It’s really fun to see their instincts and their chemistry,” Stotts says. “It’s not like I didn’t know the show, but they brought things to the songs that I didn’t expect.”
The two friends hope a successful Kansas City run will lead to performances in Chicago.“The ultimate goal is to see this do for moms what ‘Menopause The Musical’ did for menopausal women,” Dunlap says. “It is a voice and an anthem and a celebration—and we want it to take over the world.”
When the Alumni Association’s Gold Medal Club gathered April 11 at the Adams Alumni Center for the annual reunion of alumni who have passed their 50-year class anniversaries, participants witnessed a most unexpected site: Warren Corman at a loss for words.
Corman, e’50, was asked by Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, the Association’s vice president for alumni programs, to step forward and be recognized—not for his work as a Gold Medal Club counselor, but to accept a Mildred Clodfelter Alumni Award, which recognizes Jayhawks who have demonstrated years of dedicated service as KU ambassadors in their local communities.
Though the “Millies”—which honor the memory of the late Association stalwart Millie Clodfelter, b’41, whose service to KU spanned 47 years—had been announced last fall, Corman did not know he would receive his recognition at the Gold Medal Club reunion.
“It was kind of a surprise,” Corman says. “I didn’t know what to say, but it was fun.”
Fun, it turns out, is a key element to Corman’s legendary good humor and easy-going manner. He served as University architect from 1996 to 2010, and before being hired at KU by Chancellor Robert E. Hemenway, Corman spent 31 years as staff architect and director of facilities for the Kansas Board of Regents.
He was a combat veteran as a U.S. Navy Seabee at the Battle of Okinawa, and shortly after enrolling at KU Corman used the engineering experience he gained in the Navy to land part-time work with the state architect, Charles Marshall, who had been a friend of Corman’s late father, architect Emmett Corman, a’25.
“In 1947, on the first day on the job, Charlie called me in,” Corman recalls. “We were drafting on something, I forget what it was, but he said, ‘Warren, are you having fun?’ I wasn’t sure how to answer that. Should I be having fun or not having fun? If you’re having too much fun, maybe you’re not taking your job seriously. I didn’t know what to say.
“I said, ‘Well, Charlie, I’ve only been here a few hours.’ He said, ‘Well, Warren, I want you to remember this: If you’re not having fun in your job every day, you’re probably in the wrong job.’ I’ve never forgotten that. Every day I think about that. That’s why I’m 88 and I’m still working and having fun.”
A 2011 Kansas Alumni magazine cover story about Corman’s retirement as University architect speculated the Corman would never fully embrace a life of leisure in his retirement. Indeed, in May 2012, Stuart Bell, then dean of the School of Engineering, hired Corman as a part-time consultant to help the school navigate its ongoing construction and engineering projects. Michael Branicky, who replaced the departed Bell in 2013, retained Corman’s services.
“I’m adviser to the dean for all the engineering projects,” Corman says. “And it’s been fun.”
He’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.”
The University of Kansas will soon welcome its first Torah scroll, which will be completed and dedicated during a ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life. Members of the community, including students, parents and alumni, are invited to attend.
The celebration will begin at 11 a.m. at the center, where an expert scribe from Israel will ink the last letters of the scroll, as done 3,300 years ago for the first time by Moses. The event will continue at noon with a procession and parade from the center to the Kansas Union, where the Torah will be dedicated. There will also be a gala lunch at 1 p.m. in the Kansas Union Ballroom, along with a live performance from the renowned cantor Aryeh Hurwitz.
“This scroll is a very appropriate addition to the KU community because it represents the unbroken chain of Jewish tradition and survival,” says Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel, director of the Chabad Center. “The ancient wisdom contained in this scroll is the essence of our identity as Jews. Possessing our own Torah scroll at an academic center of learning is cause for great pride and celebration.”
“We are honored to have such an important document dedicated to our Jewish students,” says Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, who will participate in events at the Chabad Center. “Students come to KU both to express their broad backgrounds and diversity and to gain new experiences and insight. This celebration is a wonderful opportunity for the entire KU community to experience a unique and special event for the Jewish community.”
The creation of a scroll involves intense labor and precise skill. A scroll is composed of between 62 and 84 sheets of parchment, which is cured, tanned, scraped and prepared according to strict Torah law specifications. A completed scroll contains exactly 304,805 letters and takes months to scribe. The slightest error voids the entire 54-portion parchment.
“The Torah is the heart of the Jewish people, its lifeblood and its nourishment,” Tiechtel says. “After months of much effort and toil, the Jewish community along with all of the KU community will now be celebrating the completion of this magnificent scroll.”