Heard on the Hill: Gingrich stops at Natural History Museum for tour; Daily Kansan names spring editor; two benefit events happening this weekend

Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• We’ve reported before that former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is an outspoken fan of KU’s Natural History Museum, having called it “possibly the finest natural history museum in the country.”

He backed up those words Wednesday by taking an hourlong tour of the museum before appearing at an evening event at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Museum spokeswoman Jen Humphrey said the museum was Gingrich’s first stop after he left the airport Wednesday.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich examines an ichthyornis skeleton along with vertebrate paleontology collections manager Desui Miao at the KU Natural History Museum on Wednesday.

Gingrich, who Humphrey said is a “huge dinosaur fan,” examined some fossils in the museum’s vertebrate paleontology division, looked at some bird specimens in the ornithology division and saw a couple of monitor lizards in the herpetology section.

He asked lots of questions the whole way through, Humphrey said.

She shared a photo of Gingrich looking at a fossil skeleton, at left.

• The University Daily Kansan has a new editor-in-chief for the spring semester: Hannah Wise, a junior from Wichita. After reading that news in the paper, I gave her a call so I could tell you a bit about her.

She’s worked a whole pile of different jobs at The Kansan since she started as a freshman, and she was a reporting intern for the Kansas City Star this past summer.

In May she published an in-depth look at accessibility on campus for students with disabilities, which she told me is now competing for a Hearst Journalism Award (one of the so-called “Pulitzers of college journalism”). She also built the KU Journalism School’s new resource site about post-traumatic stress.

She told me she’s hoping to increase the Kansan’s multimedia offerings and improve its use of social media.

• I’ll share a couple fundraising events going on this weekend: one to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and one to help preserve KU’s Potter Lake.

The KU student group Young Americans for Liberty, along with Ecumenical Campus Ministries, College Republicans and Young Democrats, will put on a formal charity dinner for the Wounded Warrior Project tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Big 12 Room of the Kansas Union. Speakers will include state legislators Barbara Ballard, Tom Sloan and Marci Francisco. If you want to go, you should register here. You can make a donation at the door if you want.

And from noon to 5 p.m. at Potter Lake on Sunday, you can catch three student bands, some slam poetry and speakers from around campus at a benefit concert put on by KU Environs. The group suggests a $3 donation, and all funds will go to the restoration of the lake, including planting native plants to battle pollution and otherwise improving its health.

• All KU news tips sent to merickson@ljworld.com will go directly toward the restoration of Heard on the Hill.