From Feeding America to Friends of Trees: The KU Cares Month of Service begins

Posted on Nov 21, 2017 in Career/Life and News

As the KU Cares Month of Service continues, the pictures and stories from the events are rolling in. We’re sharing a few from the first events to show how Jayhawks are making a difference in their communities. Visit the KU Cares Month of Service homepage to learn how you can participate in giving back to those in need.

Portland: Friends of Trees

The Portland Jayhawks joined forces with other volunteers on a misty Saturday afternoon to plant more than 200 trees in southeast Portland. Network volunteer Meg Viezbicke, c’97, organized the event and praised Friends of Trees for helping ensure the Jayhawks could be involved. Friends of Trees, a local nonprofit, aims to to inspire community stewardship of the area’s urban forest by planting and caring for trees in both neighborhoods and green spaces.

Seattle: Food Lifeline

Network volunteer Deanna Marks, b’16 e’16, brought together 10 Seattle Jayhawks who donned aprons and hairnets over their KU gear and packed 1,420 meals for their community at Food Lifeline, a nonprofit that provides meals to residents of Western Washington. Food Lifeline is a member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of over 200 food banks.

Tampa Bay: Feeding America

The Tampa Bay ’Hawks also partnered with Feeding America by collecting over 100 pounds of food. Network leader Chris Longino, b’06, thanked those who brought donations to their watch site for football and basketball watch parties. “I am always impressed with the generosity and goodwill of the Jayhawk Nation,” Longino said. “Hopefully, we can plan many future opportunities for our KU group to give back to our adopted Tampa Bay community.”

San Diego: Sunset Cliffs beach cleanup

San Diego Jayhawks spent a Saturday morning by the ocean, but instead of lounging in the sun they opted to beautify the beach. Network volunteer Stephanie Shehi, b’86, partnered with the San Diego Coastkeeper organization, which helps keep Sunset Cliffs Park clean and beautiful for the community. The network picked up 20 pounds of trash, enjoyed stunning views, and heard lots of “Rock Chalks” from bystanders.

The easiest way to participate in the KU Cares Month of Service is to join or renew your Alumni Association membership. During the month of November, a portion of all dues will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund. Join, renew, or upgrade your membership to participate in this initiative!

-Ryan Camenzind

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Rock Chalk Revue reunites rock climbers | Jamie and Mark

Posted on Feb 12, 2015 in 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.

Jamie Vanderhofe McGee, c’12, and Mark McGee, c’11

Jamie and Mark McGee | www.kualumni.orgRocks of all kind played a role in bringing the McGees together—from rock climbing to Rock Chalk Revue. Jamie explained how several chance meetings finally led to love.

“We met several times before we really hit it off. Mark says that he can remember going to the rock wall at the Ambler Student Recreation Center to climb, where I was a rock wall assistant and belayed him. (The belayer helps keep the climber safe by monitoring the slack in the rope.) We didn’t really meet then, but Mark claims it was ‘love at first sight.'”

“The next time we ran into each other was at the popular college student hangout The Wheel, where we were formally introduced for the first time by mutual friends. But when we really hit it off was during the fall semester of 2010 at a Rock Chalk Revue In-or-Out function at the Jayhawk Cafe (yes, the ‘Hawk). My sorority was paired with Mark’s fraternity for the fundraising event. I waved at Mark across the room, gestured for him to come over to talk and the rest was history!”

Jamie and Mark were married July 31, 2013. Mark currently serves as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, and Jamie works with preschool children diagnosed with Autism. They live in San Diego with one fur child, Myla, and Jamie says “Future Jayhawks may happen in the next five years!”

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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San Diego Jayhawks enjoy KU Night with the Padres

Posted on May 14, 2014 in Career/Life and News

Jayhawks in the San Diego Chapter gathered for a night at the ballpark last week when the Kansas City Royals came to town to take on the Padres.

Chapter leader Gardner Wright, c’83, organized the popular event for local alumni, now in its second year. Nearly 80 Jayhawks of all ages—and all decked out in either KU or Royals gear—enjoyed KU camaraderie, a buffet and beverages, and a view of the sun setting on the bay from the Western Metal Rooftop, an all-inclusive seating area at Petco Park.

Six current KU students who are graduating this weekend also attended, and they discovered what a great opportunity chapter events can provide them as they’re looking for jobs. Heads up, students or recent grads who might be reading this, consider attending an alumni chapter event in your city!

“We also had ten alumni fly in to San Diego just for our event,” Gardner said, adding that they saw the event posted online, wanted to visit San Diego and hopped a plane.

Several lucky attendees won prizes including a KU flag (the most in-demand prize, according to Gardner), a golf outing to Pechanga Golf Resort donated by Scott Mallory, ’84,  and gift certificates to chapter watch sites the Boardwalk and Kansas City BBQ, which are both owned by fellow alumni.

Next up for San Diego Jayhawks: an end-of-summer event at Delmar Racetrack on August 9. Mark your calendar!

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

Join the San Diego Jayhawks on Facebook

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Meet the Admissions Rep: Annie Frizzell

Posted on Feb 10, 2014 in Career/Life and News

Alumni play an important role in helping to recruit new students to the University of Kansas, and the KU Alumni Association works closely with the KU Office of Admissions in these efforts. Each year, the Office of Admissions staffs recruiters to represent KU throughout the state of Kansas an in key territories across the country. We asked each of the admissions reps to share a little information with us so alumni can get to know them.

Today’s post features Annie Frizzell, c’10, a native of Prairie Village. Annie is the Southern California Regional Representative.

What is your fondest memory of your time at KU?Frizzel
I would guess this is probably true for a lot of other Jayhawks who were in Lawrence in 2008, but hands down my fondest memory during my time at KU is the 2008 National Championship. My friends and I watched the game in Allen Fieldhouse and were dancing on the court by the time overtime ended. Running full speed to Mass after the game and seeing the crowd grow larger by the second is something that I get chills just thinking about!

What clubs, organizations or traditions did you participate in as a student?
I joined Student Union Activities (SUA) as a senior at KU. Having been a devoted attendee of SUA events throughout my first three years on campus, it was so cool to be able to take a leadership position and be able to give back to the KU community. I was able to study abroad for a spring break and summer break during my undergrad career, as well. Walking past the British Museum on my way to class, reading Robert Burns in Scotland,  visiting the moors in Haworth and understanding why Wuthering Heights is the way it is—I felt a really different kind of connection with what I was studying while I was abroad. I spent two summers working as an Orientation Assistant, as well; if you ever want a way to come “full circle” with your KU experience, that’s the perfect way to do it.

Name one class you think every KU student should take and why.
I was an English major (if it wasn’t obvious after that last answer) so I’ll take classes in that department off the table because I’m clearly biased. I took two linguistics classes and absolutely loved them. Language and the Mind (with Professor Sereno) was an incredibly compelling class and got me thinking about language in a whole new way.

When did you know you loved KU?
I started referring to Templin and Lawrence as home. I found an incredibly wonderful family of friends in my residence hall and classes and my transition to KU could not have been smoother. We all pushed each other to apply for different programs, honors societies, to “get involved with that group you keep talking about.” Having that support to get out there and jump into something new and different, while knowing I had a family of sorts (who hailed from all over– Kansas City, Pratt, KS, Atlanta, GA) who would welcome me back to Templin really cemented KU as my “home away from home.”

Describe your perfect day in Lawrence.
I’ve had a lot of perfect days in Lawrence. If I had to script it, it would likely involve eating on Mass. St. and watching a KU basketball game.

What’s the most important piece of advice you give prospective students?
Embrace your KU experience—don’t be afraid to try something new, go out of your way to meet new people, take classes that intrigue you that don’t have a thing to do with your major, and find a way to change KU for the better. You’re only here for four years—make them count! 

How do you show your Jayhawk pride?
Working with Southern California students is a pretty perfect way to show my KU pride every day. When I’m not in and out of high schools and college fairs, I love walking around in San Diego in KU gear and seeing people notice the colorful bird on my clothes and (more often than I ever expected) stop me to tell me they went to KU. There are an awful lot of Jayhawks out here!

Tell us about your involvement with your local Alumni Association chapter and describe how this network can help prospective/current students.
I’m becoming more and more aware of the great network of KU alumni out here in Southern California. During my eight months as a San Diegan, I’ve attended quite a few watch parties at the Boardwalk in Mission Beach with the San Diego Chapter and have noticed that while KU grads are very excited to cheer with you, they’re also interested in who you are and how they can help connect you with other Jayhawks.

How does your KU degree help you in your career and daily life?
My KU degree has prepared me to do anything — nothing is out of reach. I am so proud of how I grew as a person during my four years in Lawrence and the confidence I carry stems from the University of Kansas diploma hanging on my wall and the knowledge that I represent a place that has changed so many lives. Also, I get to sign every email I send with a hearty “Rock Chalk!” and I think that’s just the greatest thing ever.

Click here to visit Annie’s page on the Office of Admissions website, which includes her recruitment territories and school visit schedule. Contact Annie at 619.501.5453 or by email at


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An evening with Naismith, round two

Posted on Nov 13, 2013 in Career/Life and News

An Evening with Naismith and KU Libraries | www.kualumni.orgLast summer, the KU Alumni Association partnered with KU Libraries to take their presentation, “An Evening with Naismith: Artifacts of a KU Legend,” on the road to alumni in Denver, Houston, Dallas and St. Louis. It was so popular during the ‘Hawk Days of Summer that we’ve brought it back for another round.

This fall, Jayhawks in New York City and Washington D.C. enjoyed the presentation, and events were also held in Wichita and Salina. A Nov. 7 event in Overland Park sold out so quickly that we are working to schedule a second one.

In December, the KU Libraries and Alumni Association team will travel to the west coast to visit alumni chapters in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

Registration information can be found by clicking on the links below:

If you’re in one of these areas– or if you know fellow alumni or diehard KU basketball fans who might be interested– please consider joining us for a very special evening!

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San Diego Jayhawks enjoy KU Night at Petco Park

Posted on Jul 15, 2013 in Career/Life and News

The KU Alumni Association offers chapter across the country and around the world. These groups get together to watch games, enjoy KU camaraderie, recruit the best incoming students to KU and work to strengthen the University. Here’s a highlight of the San Diego Chapter of the KU Alumni Association from chapter leader Gardner Wright, c’83.

KU Night with the San Diego Padres | www.kualumni.orgWe had a great time at the San Diego Padres game last Friday night as the team took on the defending world champions, the San Francisco Giants.

Yeah, the Padres lost– again– but it was great to see fellow Jayhawks and connect with other alumni. The oldest Jayhawk who attended was from the class of ’56 and the youngest will be in the class of 2018– he also picked up a foul ball as a souvenir!

San Diego Jayhawks have another event planned this summer. On August 7 we’ll gather at Stone Brewery in Escondido, Calif., for a beer tasting and tour. Click here for more information or to register.

We are always doing something here in San Diego for our great alumni and friends. This fall, we’ll host KU football watch parties at Boardwalk Mission Beach and Kansas City Barbeque. You never know who might stop by; last year, Kansas Governor Brownback attended a watch party! We have another brewery tour and networking event planned, and we might even make a pilgrimage to Allen Fieldhouse to watch our Jayhawks take on San Diego State University Jan. 5– we’ll keep you posted!

Click here to see pictures from last weekend’s baseball game, or watch the slideshow below.

Thanks to Gardner Wright for sharing news about the San Diego Chapter and for providing photos, and to Corey Zirlin, e’94, for arranging the event.

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Special agent traverses a new world of crime

Posted on Feb 27, 2013 in Career/Life and News

profile_daphne_hearnDaphne Hearn, b’87, entered the FBI as a 27-year-old Kansas transplant. While training in Quantico, Va., she set her sights on the West Coast, but in 1991 she was placed in Buffalo, N.Y., to begin her career in organized crime investigation, for which she had no prior experience. Two decades later, after watching the world change and the bureau change with it, she confidently began a new challenge as special agent in charge of counterintelligence/cyber/administrative division in Los Angeles.

Since her first position in Buffalo, several promotions have moved Hearn around the country. As a new expert in organized crime investigation, she held positions in Chicago and FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. It was at headquarters that she witnessed the tragedy on September 11, 2011. “We set up a command post,” she recalls. “I think I stayed there for three days straight before I went home. That event changed the way the bureau does business forever.”

As the FBI shifted its focus from criminal investigation to counterterrorism, Hearn entered the world of cybercrime investigation with a job that took her back to her hometown, Kansas City. “That move was easy because I knew the area and had friends there,” she says. “As I get older, I look less forward to moving to places I’ve never been. Hearn has since moved from her job as special agent in charge in Los Angeles to special agent in charge in San Diego.

–Adapted from story in Kansas Alumni magazine, No. 1, 2011, written by Whitney Eriksen

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