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Archive for Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fresh faces, familiar traditions

New chancellor, KU rituals kick off school year

Kansas University’s new chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, along with KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self, wave the wheat with thousands of new students at Traditions Night on Monday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas University’s new chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, along with KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self, wave the wheat with thousands of new students at Traditions Night on Monday at Memorial Stadium.

August 18, 2009

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Students kick off fall semester at Traditions Night

Students were treated Monday night to presentations from KU men's basketball coach Bill Self and chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little at Memorial Stadium. Enlarge video

Though the skies poured rain for much of the day Monday, by evening the sun was shining on thousands of new Kansas University students for the annual Traditions Night.

Joining the new students at Memorial Stadium was KU’s new chancellor, Bernadette Gray-Little.

They gathered to learn about a number of KU traditions, including the Rock Chalk Chant, the steam whistle that signals the end of classes, the KU-Missouri rivalry and that pesky clap that goes along with the fight song.

On her first business day as chancellor, after attending meetings, lunch with faculty members and writing thank-you notes for all the flowers she received, Gray-Little briefly spoke to students — after being introduced by men’s basketball coach Bill Self as a “five-star recruit.”

Gray-Little said she’s enjoyed every day since she’s arrived in Lawrence, and has an all-new crimson and blue wardrobe, including the shoes, which she showed off to the approval of the crowd.

After the event, Gray-Little said thought she picked up everything — well, almost, anyway.

“I think I’m going to need a little more time on the clap,” she said.

Viktoriya Tulchinskaya, a freshman from Overland Park sporting her new blue Class of 2013 shirt, seconded her new chancellor’s sentiments.

“I was hoping to master the clap so I don’t look like an idiot,” she said.

By the third time, she said she felt like she was doing OK.

At the end of the program, a small group of friends, some of whom attended Maize High School near Wichita, commented on another tradition mentioned at the ceremony: the stadium itself. They’d been to Kansas State University’s stadium, but said they thought Memorial Stadium was in another class.

“This is so much better,” said Wichita freshman Evan Hurley. “It just seems more massive and awe-inspiring.

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