Looking back on another great season

Posted on Mar 30, 2017 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

IMG_news_sactowatchparty
 

Always proud to be a Jayhawk!

The KU men’s basketball season ended abruptly in Kansas City when the Ducks of Oregon ousted the Jayhawks from the NCAA Tournament in the Elite 8. While the road to the Final Four has ended for the ‘Hawks, the accolades keep rolling in, including first-team AP All-American honors for senior Frank Mason and third-team honors for freshman Josh Jackson. That adds to the team’s haul of Big 12 honors, including Player of the Year (Mason), Freshman of the Year (Jackson) and Coach of the Year (Bill Self), in addition to KU winning its thirteenth consecutive Big 12 title. Obviously, it’s been a busy year.

The KU Alumni Association also kept busy connecting fans and alumni for watch parties coast to coast. Nick Kallail, assistant vice president for alumni and career programs, tallied up his attendance at KU basketball gatherings during his first year on the staff, sharing the total with friends and alumni volunteers on Facebook:

Reflecting on an incredible first basketball season with KUAA –
3 home games
4 games in KC
5 road games – Las Vegas, Ft Worth, Norman, Waco, Austin
14 watch parties – LA (3), Denver, Chicago (2), Manhattan Beach, Seattle (2), San Francisco (2), San Diego, Houston, Dallas

And loved every second of it… because of the time spent with so many of you. Heading home!

IMG_news_crowncarKCNick ended the season with our L.A. Jayhawks, where halftime festivities include a highlight video celebrating our loyal alumni and fans (see below). Similar celebrations took place all season every place Jayhawks flock, from Maine to Seattle, and last Saturday was no different. All told, the KU Alumni Association hosted 68 watch parties during KU’s Elite 8 contest with Oregon in Kansas City.

And throughout the postseason, our staff was able to travel in style, thanks once again to our postseason partner Crown Automotive. The Crown Jayhawk Car didn’t log as many miles as we had hoped, but fans loved seeing it and snapping pics with it when we hit the road to Tulsa and KC.

More awards and recognition will continue to come before Monday night’s national championship game, and we have one more to add, for the Best Fans and Alumni in the Nation, always proud to be a Jayhawk.

Rock Chalk!

 
 

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Changes to network branding streamline alumni participation

Posted on Mar 20, 2017 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Danny Woods and Nick Kallail pose with the bronze statue of James Naismith outside the DeBruce Center

Staff members on a mission

When Nick Kallail and Danny Woods joined the Alumni Association as staff members in August 2016, their mission was simple: Grow the Association’s 59 national networks and connect more alumni with KU. Less than a year into their new roles, the two Jayhawks have found a distinct way to accomplish that.

Kallail, d’04, l’07, assistant vice president of alumni and career programs, and Woods, j’12, assistant director of legacy and alumni programs, developed a new volunteer support strategy that makes it easier for Jayhawks to volunteer their time and service and participate in alumni events across the country.

“We took everything that was already in place and put a brand on it,” says Woods.

Event buckets

That meant funneling popular alumni events like watch parties, networking breakfasts and community service projects into clear, concise categories, or “buckets.” They are:

  • Hawk Happenings, which gather Jayhawks to enjoy live sports and entertainment events;
  • Rock Chalk Cultivate, which gives alumni the opportunity to learn a new skill—often from other Jayhawks;
  • KU Cares, which rally Jayhawks to give their time and service to a community cause; and

A few of the more memorable events Kallail and Woods have organized in the past year include a KU vs. Iowa State men’s basketball watch party for 180 Jayhawks at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle and a toy drive in Tampa, Florida, that raised more than $2,000 in gifts for foster families.

New roles for volunteers

The two also created new designations for alumni volunteers who serve their networks. Instead of assigning traditional titles like president, vice president, treasurer and secretary, Kallail and Woods developed roles based on the volunteers’ primary responsibilities in their respective Jayhawk communities, including social media and event coordinators and admissions and legislative liaisons.

“We wanted to empower more people within the network,” says Woods.

Communication is key

Each alumni network maintains its own Facebook page to promote local events and share photos and updates. Network leaders also share a private Facebook page, which Kallail notes is a great way for networks to learn what other Jayhawks are doing across the country and discuss best practices for alumni engagement.

“I look at our network leaders as a family,” Kallail says. “They need to know each other and see what others are doing.”

Preparing future leaders

Also important to Kallail and Woods is preparing current KU students to become active alumni when they leave the Hill. The two meet regularly with the Student Alumni Leadership Board and other student groups in KU Admissions, Endowment and Athletics. They also are planning an event to introduce students to the Lawrence alumni network.

As evidenced by the enthusiastic turnouts and strong alumni response to events in the past few months, Kallail and Woods are confident they’re on the right track.

“This isn’t a new plan,” Kallail says. “The house was already built; we’re just tricking it out.”

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Nominations underway for the KU Black Alumni Network Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award

Posted on Jan 19, 2017 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Black Alumni Network | www.kualumni.org

Each year, the African-American Leaders and Innovators Project recognizes leaders from the University of Kansas community for their impact on society. These talented and sometimes controversial individuals helped shape the University as well as the cities, states and nations their work touched.

“The award is a great way to honor African-American individuals who have done such extraordinary things in their communities and for KU,” says selection committee member Rosalind Gumby Bauchum, c’74, g’76. “I’m reminded of the first African-American student to graduate from KU in 1895—just one generation beyond slavery. What an educational statement and achievement for other African-Americans.”

The African-American Leaders and Innovators Project, made possible through gifts from KU alumnus Mike Shinn, e’66, who passed away in 2015, was initiated in 2006 and brought to fruition through the coordinated efforts of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Alumni Association, Spencer Research Library and KU Endowment Association.

Recipients are selected from nominations submitted to the KU Black Alumni Network Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award Committee. To be considered, a nominee must be an African-American who attended or graduated from the University of Kansas and an acknowledged leader or innovator within his or her community, chosen profession or society at large. Posthumous nominations are acceptable and encouraged. The committee will accept nominations for the 2017 awards through Feb. 17.

Honorees will be recognized in the fall at the biennial KU Black Alumni Network Reunion Celebration. All nominees and their families are encouraged to participate.

To complete a nomination form and read about past honorees, visit kualumni.org/kublackalumni.

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Houston ’Hawks aid leukemia patient in need

Posted on Nov 22, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

When a Houston woman needed white blood cells to help her complete an intense round of chemotherapy, her family and friends put out a plea for donors. Answering the call were members of the Alumni Association’s Houston Network, who rallied to her aid after a notice was posted to their Facebook group by alumna and family friend Natalie Bogan Morgan, j’06.

Lois Coots, a former Kansan who lives now in Houston, was diagnosed in 2009 with a form of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) that later developed into leukemia. While at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston undergoing an intensive 30-day round of chemotherapy in October, Coots developed an infection and learned that she needed white blood cells before she could finish the treatment.

“It was an emergency situation,” says Morgan, who lived in Houston before recently moving to Overland Park. “She has two daughters, and they figured they’d donate and drum up other people and it would be fine. But one by one people just kept getting rejected.”

White blood cells have a short shelf life and donors must meet strict matching requirements. Doctors told the family they needed to line up 10 donors, but after exhausting their personal contacts they had found only one match.

Jayhawk calls for help

Watching the health crisis unfold from Kansas, Morgan—a close friend of Kyra Coots, Lois’s daughter—posted a heartfelt plea for donors on her Facebook page. Longtime friend Nick Kallail, assistant vice president of alumni programs and career services for KUAA, saw the message and suggested that she post it to the Houston Network’s Facebook group.

“I was like, Nat, you’ve got a built-in family who love you; blast that Houston group and they’ll jump on it,” says Kallail, d’04, l’07, who was a Houston Network volunteer before joining the Association staff. “It’s a great group and everyone’s always willing to help. It’s just a great combination: You’ve got Jayhawk family and Houston hospitality.”

“That was the tipping point,” Morgan says. “People who didn’t know this family just dropped what they were doing and called to set up appointments. I put the call out on a Thursday night, and several Jayhawks were there by 11 a.m. the next morning going through the screening. It was so uplifting.”

Sorority members step up

Among those responding was a group of Alpha Delta Pi alumni led by Jane Johnston Mumey, j’86, a Houston attorney. Less than 15 minutes after Morgan’s post hit the Houston Network page, Mumey wrote to say that she and her sorority sisters could report to MD Anderson immediately, because they are already screened white-cell donors.

“This was perfect for us, because so many of our members are pre-screened for the Ronald McDonald House,” Mumey says. Alpha Delta Pi’s Houston alumni group volunteers extensively at the city’s Ronald McDonald House, which supports families of critically ill children, donating blood, white cells and platelets when needed. “Within hours we had four women from our group who were already pre-screened” and ready to donate, Mumey says. “It’s an amazing feeling to be able to do that.”

Only days after Morgan posted her request with the Houston Network, the family lined up the needed 10 donors. “It would not have happened if so many Jayhawks had not jumped in to do it,” Morgan says. “Six or seven of the donors that we knew of were Jayhawks. The family was just blown away. I think it just says a lot about the University and it just says a lot about the Jayhawk family after you graduate.”

Mumey seconds that notion.

“I knew Jayhawks would do that. We’ve all stuck together. And to be far away from campus, to have that feeling that this happened, when we’re all the way down here—I don’t think all groups respond like that. We really have a lot of spirit and it doesn’t stop when we graduate.”

A happy outcome

Thanks to the donated cells, Kyra Coots says, her mother was able to finish her chemotherapy and return home. She returned for a second round of chemo last week, and Kyra says the family takes comfort in knowing that—should complications arise again—they’ve got a list of willing donors who have their back.

“Before Natalie started helping me, we only had one person confirmed,” Kyra says. “It was a low point, because you’re thinking to yourself, How am I going to find nine people if the dozens and dozens of people who said they’d do it were turned away? I myself was turned away. It’s a very helpless feeling, knowing you can’t do anything.

“When Natalie’s friend suggested she post it on the Jayhawk board, I was like, Wow, that’s a great idea. These people definitely don’t know my mom, they may not even know Natalie, but we’ll see if they respond. The response was overwhelming. You can’t put into words—you want to thank all these people, you want to hug them, you want to get to know them and say thank you, but I just think they’ll never realize the magnitude of how it touched our family and how it saved her life.”

—Steven Hill

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Jayhawks in the News | Nov. 18

Posted on Nov 18, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

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.

 

Washington Bureau Chief Sally Buzbee named AP executive editor | AP.org

Sally Buzbee, j’88, has been named executive editor of The Associated Press effective Jan. 1, 2017. Buzbee is currently AP Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief. She began her career with AP as a reporter in Kansas in 1988.
Read full article.

Pick named head coach at Fort Scott | Dodge City Daily Globe

Former KU football player Kale Pick was named head coach of the Fort Scott Community College football team Wednesday night after serving as the team’s offensive coordinator this fall. Pick, c’13, graduated from Dodge City High School in 2008 and played at KU from 2008-2012.
Read full article.

Former Kroger CEO David Dillon will head KU chancellor search committee | LJWorld.com

David Dillon, retired chairman and CEO of The Kroger Co. and a University of Kansas alumnus, will head the search committee for a new KU chancellor. Dillon was student body president at KU, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business in 1973.
Read full article.

Jayhawks in New York City keep KU allegiance alive | University Daily Kansan

New York City alumni network board members Kellie Johnson, a’06, and Brandon Snook, f’05, are both featured in this article from the campus paper highlighting Cornerstone Tavern, where Jayhawks in the Big Apple gather to watch KU basketball and football.
Read full article.

Up and Coming: Jason Romero | Missouri Lawyers Weekly

Jason P. Romero says his biggest accomplishment for the year had nothing to do with the law. It was a restoration of a ceramics studio he assisted with at the Mattie Rhodes Center, a non-profit for families where he sits on the board of directors. Romero, c’06, l’09, g’09, g’14, is an associate with Husch Blackwell in Kansas City.
Read full article.

Hughes hired at Wise and Reber | St. John News

Lauren G. Hughes has joined the Wise & Reber law firm in McPherson as an associate in the firm’s Estate Planning and Transactional practice groups. Hughes, a Texas native, received her Bachelor of Arts in both English and American Studies from KU in 2013 and earned her Juris Doctorate from the KY School of Law in 2016.
Read full article.

Littler nabs two partners from KC competitor | Kansas City Business Journal

Curtis Summers, l’05, resigned as partner at Husch Blackwell LLP to become a shareholder at Littler Mendelson PC. Summers worked as a law clerk for Judge Kathryn Vratil in the U.S. District Court of Kansas and has spent the rest of his career at Husch Blackwell, where he became a partner in January 2014.
Read full article.

Hovey Williams adds lawyer-engineers to its IP practice | Kansas City Business Journal

Aaron Vanderpool, l’16, is one of three attorneys with engineering and business backgrounds who recently joined Hovey Williams LLP, based on Overland Park.
Read full article.

National health policy leader to join KC-based Center for Practice Bioethics | Kansas City Star

Kathy Greenlee, b’85, l’88, has been hired as vice president of aging and health policy at the Center for Practical Bioethics. Greenlee is a former assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Read full article.

‘That’s So Raven’ to return to Disney Channel in spin-off series | University Daily Kansan

You may be wondering what this has to do with KU: one of the co-creators and executive producers on the show is 1988 alumnus Scott Thomas. He is beginning the process to revamp the show so many people loved.
Read full article.

Texas judge Larry Meyers switched parties to become a Democrat, putting his job in jeopardy | Dallas News

Larry Meyers, who earned a law degree from KU in 1973, spent 24 years on the highest criminal court in Texas. He switched political parties in 2013 and ran for re-election this year and was defeated.
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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Basketball pregame events scheduled for CBE Hall of Fame Classic

Posted on Nov 18, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

KU basketball goal

The KU men’s basketball team will play in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City Nov. 21 and 22.

KU alumni, fans and friends are invited to pregame festivities hosted by the KU Alumni Association and Williams Education Fund.

Monday, Nov. 21

Monday’s pregame party starts at 5:30 p.m., and the game against UAB tips off at 8:30 p.m. The pregame event takes place at McFadden’s, 1330 Grand Boulevard in the KC Live! block, across the street from the arena.

Tuesday, Nov. 22

On Tuesday, the pregame events runs from 4-6:30 p.m. at No Other Pub, also in the KC Live! block. The time and opponent for the second game will be determined after Monday’s game.

For tickets to the games, contact Kansas Athletics at 800.34.HAWKS.

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Annual run honors veterans, raises scholarship funds

Posted on Nov 15, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Veterans Day Run 2016
More than 300 participants ran, walked and jogged the annual Veterans Day Run, hosted by the Veterans Alumni Network and KU’s Student Veterans of America.

KU ROTC juniors Tristan Hayes and Hannah Jerome enjoyed the run for multiple reasons. “We’re out to show support for the veterans and I love running. The combination of both makes for an awesome day,” Hayes said. Jerome, a junior from Des Moines, was competing in her first 5K. “I think I overcompensated on those hills, but it was really fun,” she said, adding that KU was the perfect fit for her many interests. “It was never a question of if I was going to serve, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and KU offered me an opportunity to go to school and serve at the same time.”

The course took runners past campus memorials, including Memorial Stadium, the Campanile and the Korean and Vietnam tributes.

The 2016 run was dedicated to honoring Vietnam veterans. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the dedication of KU’s Vietnam War memorial, the first on-campus commemoration in the nation. It honors 57 students and alumni who died or were declared missing.

The Veterans Day Run honors all those who have served or are currently serving in our military and to raise awareness of the role veterans play at the University. All proceeds support KU’s Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund and Student Veterans of America.

—Dan Storey

For more information about the Veterans Alumni Network or to provide information about your military service, visit the network’s website. Race results are available here.

Watch the slideshow below for pictures from the Veteran’s Day Run, or click here to view the pictures on Flickr. Participants are welcome to download photos for personal use.

Veterans Day Run 2016

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Cheer KU in the Champions Classic

Posted on Nov 14, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Allen Fieldhouse student section
The KU men’s basketball team takes on Duke in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The game tips off at approximately 8 p.m. (CT), following the first matchup between Kentucky and Michigan State.

Pregame parties

We know lots of Jayhawks are in New York City for the game, so we’re hosting two pregame parties in the city. Both parties begin at 3:30 p.m. ET.

American Whiskey
247 W. 30th St. between 7th and 8th
Link to map

Cornerstone Tavern
961 2nd Ave.
Link to map

Cornerstone Tavern is the official watch site for the New York City Metropolitan Area Alumni Network. If you don’t have tickets to the game, stay and watch it here with fellow Jayhawks.

Game watch parties

Watch the game with fellow alumni, fans and friends at an official KU Alumni watch site.

Click here for a list of official KU Alumni watch parties. These events are hosted by alumni volunteers and you’ll certainly be surrounded by crimson and blue.

Click here for a list of watch sites. Please note, if there isn’t an official party scheduled on our calendar for a site, we cannot guarantee that the watch sites will show the KU game, especially if there are other college or professional sporting events happening at the same time.

Watch and listen

The game will be televised on ESPN or you can listen to it on the Jayhawk Radio Network, ESPN Radio or Sirius/XM 80.

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

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Basketball season tips off in Hawaii

Posted on Nov 7, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Big Jay in Allen Fieldhouse

The KU men’s basketball team has wrapped up two exhibition games against in-state opponents Washburn University and Emporia State University, and the 2016-17 season will tip off this Friday, Nov. 11, against Indiana in the State Farm Armed Forces Classic in Hawaii.

Pregame party in Honolulu

For Jayhawks heading to the islands for the game, be sure to join fellow KU alumni, fans and friends for the pregame party at Giovanni Pastrami, the official watch site of the KU Alumni Honolulu Network.

12:30 p.m. HT
Giovanni Pastrami
227 Lewers St.
Honolulu, HI
Link to map

No reservation is necessary, just show up and join the party! The first game, Arizona vs. Michigan State, tips off at 2 p.m. HT, followed by KU vs. Indiana. If you don’t have tickets for the game, stay and watch it at Giovanni Pastrami.

Game watch parties

Not lucky enough to vacation in Hawaii? Catch the game at an official KU Alumni watch site.

Click here for a list of official KU Alumni watch parties. These events are hosted by alumni volunteers and you’ll certainly be surrounded by crimson and blue.

Click here for a list of watch sites. Please note, if there isn’t an official party scheduled on our calendar for a site, we cannot guarantee that the watch sites will show the KU game, especially if there are other college or professional sporting events happening at the same time.

Watch and listen

The game will be televised on ESPN or you can listen to it on the Jayhawk Radio Network or Sirius/XM 80.

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

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Wichita alumni mentor local high school students

Posted on Oct 13, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Wichita HAWK Mentor Leadership Program | www.kualumni.org

Fourteen sophomore students at Wichita North High School made valuable KU connections Sept. 20, when they were introduced to alumni who will serve as their mentors for next three years.

The group is part of the University’s new initiative, a product of the Office of Admission’s existing Helpful Alumni Working for KU (HAWK) program, to help underrepresented and minority students make a smooth transition from high school to college. The program was launched this spring in Wichita.

Participating students and their parents attended the induction ceremony, which was held at KU’s School of Medicine in Wichita and included appearances by Keon Stowers, c’15, a former KU football player who works for the Office of Admissions; Nate Thomas, KU’s vice provost for diversity and equity; and Baby Jay, who was on hand to take pictures with the students and their mentors.

Kim Madsen Beeler, c’93, j’93, g’99, who coordinates the HAWK program and has worked with alumni for years recruiting prospective students to KU, oversees the new Mentor Leadership Development program. She teamed up with Danielle Hoover, c’07, the Alumni Association’s assistant director of Wichita programs, to enlist area Jayhawks as mentors.

“These alumni are so passionate about KU, and they have told us for years they want to help,” Beeler says. “They want to make a difference and recruit great students.”

Students must have a GPA of at least 2.5 and complete an application and essay to be considered for the program. Those who are accepted are assigned mentors, who will coordinate opportunities for the students to shadow working professionals in various fields, participate in volunteer activities in the community and develop skills to be successful in the workforce, including learning how to fill out job applications, dress appropriately for interviews and create a résumé. In addition, the students will visit KU and participate in sports events, campus tours and discussion panels with current University students.

Hoover presented the opportunity to alumni on the Wichita Network board and was overwhelmed by their enthusiastic response. Five board members, Jim Spencer, c’82; Andy Ek, b’05, g’11; Monique Garcia Pope, c’96; Anna Ritchie, c’05, j’05, and Bob Nugent, c’77, l’80, signed up to be mentors, and other board members offered to host events for the students or help with their community service projects.

“One of the biggest initiatives on our board is to give back to the community,” says Hoover. “That’s a big passion for all of our board members. And it’s right in line with this initiative.”

Beeler hopes to expand the program at Wichita North High School next year and eventually include other schools in the area.

“This year we have 14 mentees, next year we’ll have another class, and we’ll just keep building,” she says. “The goal is to help students transition from high school to college and, hopefully, to KU. But also we want to engage our alumni, because they’re so important in recruitment. If we can get the alumni engaged and to help with recruiting, it’s a win-win for both of us.”

–Heather Biele

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