Star Wars Day roundup

Posted on May 4, 2016 in Campus News

The force awakened on Mount Oread for Star Wars Day. The unofficial holiday for fans of the franchise is May 4 (as in May the fourth be with you), and this year did not disappoint.

Thanks to a promotion by KU Dining Services, the 7th annual Star Wars Day celebration at KU encouraged Jayhawks and Jedi alike to dine at Brella’s in the Kansas Union to raise funds for Make-a-Wish, while transforming campus into the Cantina from Tatooine. Cosplay characters from the 501st Legion, Mandalorian Mercs and the Dark Empire posed for pics and entertained crowds on Jayhawk boulevard, while other KU offices got into the act on social media. According to one participant who referred to himself only as “the Dark Lord,” Wednesday’s event was, “impressive …most impressive.”

Here’s a roundup of posts celebrating all things Star Wars at KU. May the force be with you, Jayhawks.

–David Johnston

The Force has awakened at the @universityofkansas & the @kuunion! #MayThe4thBeWithYou #StarWarsDay

A photo posted by KU Dining Services (@kudining) on

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May the fourth be with you, too

Posted on May 4, 2016 in Campus News

A long time ago… well, back in March, you might remember that Tim McCabe, f’00, impressed us with his tale of Rock Chalk Romance in a beautifully illustrated animated video showing how he and his wife, Gina, b’02, met during rehearsals for Rock Chalk Revue.

It was adorable, take our word for it.

But maybe you’re not into all that romance stuff. Maybe you’d just as soon kiss a Wookie. We can arrange that. Or at least the next best thing. Because if action is what you want, then that’s exactly what you’ll receive in McCabe’s new family feature just in time for Star Wars Day! (May the fourth… get it? It’s a thing, trust us.)

Enjoy these Jayhawk Jedi as the saga continues in a galaxy not so far away. Okay, pass the popcorn and dim the lights.

–David Johnston

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May the fourth be with you!

Posted on May 4, 2013 in Campus News

photo 3

The sign in the Kansas Union said “Welcome Future Jayhawks,” but scene looked like something from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

419276_10151692778636874_740491261_nOn May 4th, fans of the Star Wars franchise come out in force to celebrate the date that has become known across the universe as “Star Wars Day” (as in “May the fourth be with you“). Jayhawks are no exception, of course, as KU students, alumni, faculty and staff all joined in the fun last week when several characters from the original and prequel trilogies made an impromptu appearance at the Kansas Union in anticipation of the big day.

The visit may have been the will of the force, destiny or an annual promotion sponsored by KU Dining Services. A clever poster campaign ran throughout the week, and other KU departments even got into act. The KU Parking Department took a lighthearted approach to the dark side by introducing “Park Vader” in Twitter posts (@parkingku), including this ominous Twitpic: “I find your lack of permit disturbing.

Alumni know that the force runs strong in the KU family. Veteran voice actor Tom Kane, c’85, voiced Jedi Master Yoda in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, in addition to many other Star Wars characters. We featured an interview with Kane on this blog in January. And Kari Wahlgren, c’99, appeared in our Valentine’s Day feature story about her Oscar-winning project Paperman, but she too has voiced roles in the Star Wars expanded universe of games, including Knights of the Old Republic and the Force Unleashed.

Visitors on campus stopped to have their pictures taken with the costumed clones, whether to impress their kids—as KU Director of Admissions Lisa Pinamonti Kress did while passing through the union—or because it’s not everyday you get to see Boba and Jango Fett side by side (am I right fellow geeks?). More pics from previous Star Wars Day events on campus can be found on the KU Dining Facebook event page. So, until next year, may the force be with you. Always.

—David Johnston

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Alumni profile: Voice actor Tom Kane

Posted on Jan 10, 2013 in Campus News


Jayhawks are everywhere. Even a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

The University of Kansas interviewed acclaimed voice actor and KU alumnus Tom Kane, c’85, to talk about his impressive career. Kane has been the voice of pint-sized Jedi Master Yoda in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and he’s won the prized gig of announcing the Academy Awards, in addition to countless voice roles in movie trailers and television commercials. The video is provided by the KU Office of Marketing Communications.

For more on Kane, read the profile below on the voice actor from Issue No. 4, 2011 of Kansas Alumni Magazine.


Site matters not, as Kane continues voice gigs in KC

Tom Kane’s talented voice debuted with a spot-on imitation of his immigrant grandfather. “My mom tells me I had a damn good German accent,” Kane says from his Overland Park home studio, where he runs his busy career as an A-list announcer. “I was 3.”

Kane, c’85, who this spring announced his third Academy Awards and is the voice of Yoda in the popular “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” franchise, kept himself entertained after school by watching cartoons and reruns. A natural mimic enthralled by “silly voices,” Kane effortlessly verbalized what he heard.

“It’s either in my head or not,” he says. “I’ve never practiced anything. Everything is a character voice to me. I just recycle things I heard growing up.” If he never had to put in much work on his voice, Kane makes up for it when it comes to finding work. “Horrible sounding commercials” have always made him cringe, and Kane was only 15 when he tracked down the ad agency responsible for a notably awful public service announcement.

After a few phone calls, Kane landed an audition. When the advertising execs realized that the voice talent that had won them over during a brief telephone audition belonged to a 15-year-old boy, they went through the predictably comic screaming and gesturing—all of which Kane watched through the studio’s soundproof window—and finally offered a challenge: If he could voice an old New England fisherman, they’d hire him.

“I read it through,” Kane says, “and I looked up and saw three faces, mouths open.” That gig was for free; the next, which came less than a week later, paid $1,200. A career was born.

Kane headed to Chicago after KU, but soon made his way to Los Angeles. Although he “couldn’t get arrested in the cartoon world,” he found work on commercials, movie trailers and promotional pieces. A regular client was LucasArts’ game division, where one day he cracked the room up while showing off his spot-on Yoda.

One of the guys laughing along with the others was the director of the then-nascent animated “Star Wars” series.“

He said, ‘Do that again.’ I asked why, and he said, ‘I just want to record it. I’ll tell you later.’”

Kane has been Yoda’s voice ever since, helping to win over a whole new world-wide fan base for the Star Wars franchise.

Another big step came in 2006, when he landed his first Oscars gig, for which he was hired again in 2008 and this year. It’s one of the few jobs that requires Kane to be in L.A. From his custom-built home studio, Kane can record voice work for clients all over the world.

“No more driving all over town in L.A. traffic. I do as many voiceovers in a day as I used to do in a week or two.”

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