Archive for Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Heard on the Hill: New boxing champion gives love to KU; KU looking to hire new university registrar; UPenn prof pays homage to a KU Chinese professor and his typewriter

April 19, 2011


• Victor Ortiz is the new World Boxing Council welterweight world champion after winning the title from Andre Berto on Saturday. And, yes, those are Jayhawks on his trunks.

Robert Rodriguez is a boxing aficionado and a former director of KU’s McNair Scholars Program, which works with low-income, first-generation college students. Today, Rodriguez is working as a political science professor at Texas A&M; University at Commerce, but he knew Ortiz from his time at KU.

Ortiz has never attended school at KU, but he does have a great deal of pride for the institution and his Kansas roots, Rodriguez said. Many of his friends attend KU, and he hopes to attend the university after he gets done with his boxing career.

He is a Garden City native who had a rough childhood — to say the least.

“He’s a serious rags-to-riches story,” Rodriguez said.

Ortiz has gone from living in a “totally decrepit trailer in Garden City,” Rodriguez said, after both parents walked out on him, to being a few victories away from being a millionaire.

Rodriguez told me he has met Ortiz on several occasions and added that he is a very nice fellow, with a good sense of humor and a very down-to-earth attitude.

The welterweight title Ortiz now owns has been held in the past by boxing champions Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Oscar de la Hoya, Rodriguez said.

“He has a lot of potential to go really far,” Rodriguez said.

• Are you any good at registraring? Well, KU has the position for you.

Cindy Derritt, who had been the university registrar, is now working as the assistant vice provost for data analytics and technology.

And so, KU is hiring a new university registrar, the position that oversees enrollment, course scheduling and the academic records of the university.

Personally, I’m hoping they find a person who uses a middle initial in his or her name.

• Here’s a fun blog post by Victor Mair, a professor of Chinese language and literature at the University of Pennsylvania.

Fun because he talks about the KU professor Wallace Johnson, who taught East Asian languages and cultures at KU for 42 years before his death in 2007.

And also fun because he talks about Johnson’s Chinese typewriter, along with including some photos of Johnson using the extremely complicated device from in the 1970s.

To start with, the typist faced the enormous challenge of seeing the characters backwards and upside down. The main tray alone holds 2,000 characters, and many more can be retrieved if necessary.

“Add to this challenging orientation the fact that the pieces of type are tiny and all of a single metallic shade, it becomes a maddening task to find the right character,” Mair wrote in his Language Log blog post. “But that is not all, since there is also the problem of the principle (or lack thereof) upon which the characters are ordered in the tray. By radical? By total stroke count? Both of these methods would result in numerous characters under the same heading. By rough frequency? By telegraph code?”

Unfortunately, he added, “nobody seems to have thought to use the easiest and most user-friendly method of arranging the characters according to their pronunciation.”

Electronic input has made this process easier, he said, but I imagine it’s still a bit of a headache.

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Paul R Getto 7 years ago

Good luck, Victor Ortiz and congratulations on your victory. Garden City, Jayhawk Nation and all of Kansas is proud of you.

lily 7 years ago

Congratulations Victor.
KU sure seems to be creating a lot of new positions and none of the good ole regular guys are getting any raises.

riverdrifter 7 years ago

I've met Victor. He's a good guy and so far is unchanged by his success. Solid person. He's really been flying under the radar of the Journal World sports department, BTW.

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