Archive for Saturday, July 24, 1993


July 24, 1993


KU, 35. MU, 18.

That's not a prognostication for the next Kansas University football game against the University of Missouri. Still, the numbers are enough for some MU folks to get their dander up.

The numbers represent the percentage of KU and MU students and graduates that belong to their respective alumni associations. Not to be outdone by Jayhawks, the MU Alumni Assn. is out to change the score.

"I don't want to run second to the Hawks in anything," Dan Devine, MU athletic director, says in a letter being mailed to MU alumni.

"We've started what you might call a border war," Devine says. "Our intent is to rally you Tigers to give your school the alumni support it should have. And, to bury the bird."

The letter depicts Devine and Jim Irvin, executive director of the MU Alumni Assn., standing with pick and shovel next to a grave for the KU Jayhawk.

"You've got a lot more to be proud of than any Jayhawk graduate," Devine goes on to say.

Jeff Johnson, senior vice president for external affairs and membership development at the KU Alumni Assn., said he isn't worried.

"Naturally, I don't think they'll be able to bury the bird," Johnson said.

He said the MU campaign should be taken as a "healthy rivalry" and even as a compliment to KU.

"I think KU alumni should take pride that KU has again been singled out as a benchmark that people are measuring themselves against," Johnson said.

David Wilson isn't sure just how "healthy" the rivalry between KU and MU really is.

"I think the rivalry is generally healthy, although I was once smacked on the head with a newspaper for wearing a Jayhawk cap on the MU campus," Wilson said.

Wilson earned a bachelor's degree at MU in 1973, and he earned a doctoral degree at KU in 1989.

He joined the KU Alumni Assn. but not the MU Alumni Assn., mostly because his financial situation was a lot better when he graduated from KU.

Will the "bury the bird" campaign get him to join the MU Alumni Assn.?

"My graduate loyalties are definitely to KU, but my undergraduate loyalties are to MU," said Wilson, now an assistant professor of Russian at Memphis State University.

"If I get the letter from MU to join the alumni association, I would probably consider it very seriously," Wilson said. "I would be a dual citizenship person."

Irvin said the campaign started about two weeks ago. He should know within four or five weeks how effective the approach has been.

"Something like this turns pretty fast or it doesn't turn at all," Irvin said.

Regardless of the outcome, one thing's for sure.

"It's definitely generated some conversation," Irvin said.

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