Alumni Programs team travels across America boosting network activity

Posted on Jul 26, 2017 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

New York City Jayhawks network meeting at a rooftop happy hour
Nick Kallail and Danny Woods continued their work to boost alumni networks by traveling cross-country visiting with local Jayhawks.

The pair of KU Alumni Association program staffers are looking at potential growth cities as part of their goal of unique and diverse programming across the nation. Their itinerary included visits to Atlanta, Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Phoenix, and New York City​.

Kallail, d’04, l’07, and Woods, j’13, hosted a meeting at each stop to connect existing network leaders with new area volunteers. They introduced their plan for successful networks to the group, and then let the local alumni plan amongst themselves.

“We really want to empower all of the network leaders,” Woods said. “These leaders know their network way better than we ever could. We just want to give them the tools to build a successful network and let them run with it. This will ultimately help the network sustain and grow for years to come.”

One of the main goals of the network visits was to promote planning events in all of the five event buckets such as Rock Chalk Connect, which provides networking opportunities, and Rock Chalk Cultivate, which gives alumni the opportunity to learn a new skill—often from other Jayhawks.

“For our network moving forward, I would like to see the meeting’s enthusiasm to continue,” Brandon Snook, New York City network leader, said. “I want us to fully embrace the new event branding, which I love…especially KU Cares. It will be a great way for us to give back to the community, and strengthen our bonds in the process. I hope the new branding will be a springboard for our network board, and that everyone involved won’t be hesitant in popping out fresh new ideas for programming.”

Kallail and Woods also introduced a new structure for network leadership. Instead of traditional roles such as president, vice president, and treasurer, networks will have leaders who manage event buckets. “I like the concept of having a group with individuals focused on different areas of outreach for the Alumni Association,” Scott Lundgren, Portland network leader, said.

After the planning meeting, other local Jayhawks joined for a happy hour. Both Snook and fellow New York City network leader Kellie Johnson were pleased with their meeting. “We assembled a nice variety of people who seem enthusiastic to lead,” Snook said.

Wherever they went, Kallail and Woods were excited to see the networks’ turnout. Johnson has a theory why.

“I think KU alumni attend the events to keep that special connection alive. I’ve met several people from other schools who have noted that KU alumni are the most loyal they have ever met. One told me he doesn’t get involved with his alumni because he left nothing there – and when I asked him to clarify – he said it was clear all of us had left our hearts in Lawrence.”

If you want to get involved, visit our website and check out a list of all alumni networks to learn how you can help connect Jayhawks in your community.

-Ryan Camenzind

P.S. If you’re on Twitter, follow Nick Kallail at @NiXstyle and Danny Woods at @dcwoods89. They won’t disappoint.

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Future bride surprises Jayhawk fiancé | Brandon & Brittany

Posted on Feb 13, 2015 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Whether it was in the midst of Budig 320 or over a crunchy chicken cheddar wrap at the Market, hanging out on Wescoe Beach or at a network watch party years later, countless Jayhawks owe their marriage to their time on the Hill. We’re sharing some of our favorite stories this week in anticipation of Valentine’s Day on Saturday, Feb. 14.

Brandon Tobias and Brittany Killian | photo by Leslie O Photo | www.kualumni.orgBrandon Tobias didn’t meet his fiancée, Brittany Killian, at KU–but in true Proud Member fashion, he’s converting her to a Jayhawk.

The couple met when Brandon, a’05, was deployed to Afghanistan as a civilian employee for the Army and his unit partnered with Brittany’s office in Philadelphia on a project. The pair worked together over the phone and finally met in-person—and hit it off— in New York City while he was on leave.

Nine months later, his tour ended and his budding romance took off.

The lovebirds made a special trip to Lawrence to take their engagement pictures, and Brittany surprised Brandon with a shirt she made online: the front says “I love my Jayhawk,” and the back features their wedding date.

We suspect plenty of fellow Jayhawks will fall in love with Brittany’s sweet surprise and create one of their own.

Congratulations to both of you, and welcome to the flock, Brittany.

Photos by Leslie O Photo.

See more of our Jayhawk couples online and send us your photo! To have your photo included in our album, please email a JPG image to

Please include:

  • Names of the couple
  • KU degree information if applicable
  • Wedding date
  • Brief story of how you met

By sending us your photo, you consent that the photo will be included in the Jayhawk Wedding Album on the KU Alumni Association Facebook page.

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Brews and baseball on the east coast

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Kelsey Hill, coordinator of chapters for the Alumni Association, spent last weekend on the east coast hosting events for Jayhawks in Hartford, Connecticut; Philadelphia and Boston.

A small but mighty group of Jayhawks from the Hartford Chapter gathered at the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company on Thursday, June 5, for a guided tour of the brewery and a full tasting of its brews.

The following evening, 15 alumni, fans and friends of the Philadelphia Chapter met at Frankford Hall, a beer garden specializing in German food, to hear news and updates from the Hill.

And on Sunday, Jayhawk spirit was prevalent at America’s Most Beloved Ballpark. Members of the Boston Chapter joined Kelsey for a behind-the-scenes private tour of Fenway Park—the place where dreams are made, traditions are celebrated and baseball is forever.

Thanks to all the Jayhawks who joined us for these events!

Watch the slideshow below to see pictures from the Boston Chapter event, or click here to view the photos on Flickr.

’Hawk Days of Summer is the KU Alumni Association’s annual summer sojourn across the country and around the world. The 90-day series of events resulted from a determination to make the most of the summer months. The 2014 tour kicked off on Saturday, May 17, and includes picnics, receptions, baseball games and more. Visit our online calendar to find upcoming events near you.

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East coast Jayhawks celebrate ‘Hawk Days of Summer

Posted on Aug 5, 2013 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Summer might be winding down– fall classes start in three short weeks!– but the ‘Hawk Days of Summer tour is still going strong as August begins.

Recently, Danny Lewis, director of alumni programs spent several days on the east coast visiting Jayhawks in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland. KU’s vice chancellor for public affairs, Tim Caboni, also attended all three events to share news from the Hill with alumni, fans and friends.

'Hawk Days of Summer, Washington D.C. | www.kualumni.orgMore than 100 Jayhawks attended the events, which included brewery tours at Yard’s Brewing Company in Philadelphia– which recently made Men’s Fitness Magazine’s list of America’s top brewery tours—   and Port City Brewery in Alexandria, Va. (pictured at right), followed by the annual alumni gathering hosted by Chuck, c’63, l’66, and Pam Hewitt at their home in Severna Park, Md.

One of the highlights from the event at the Hewitts’ home was a cruise on the Severn River past the U.S. Naval Academy (click here to see the photo that Caboni posted on Twitter).

David Healy, j’73, posted photos from the afternoon, taken by Bill Dean, on his website. Click here if you want to be jealous of everyone who enjoyed the beautiful beach house, complete with a tiki bar and six-foot inflatable Jayhawk!

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