Sara Shepherd (KU reporter)

As the Journal-World's Kansas University reporter, I cover all things newsworthy coming out of KU, with an emphasis on the school's 25,000-student main campus here in Lawrence. I tweet KU news @LJW_KU.

Previously, I was a cops and courts reporter for The Kansas City Star, where I covered untimely death or destruction of some kind most every day for a few years. I’ve also covered suburban city government and schools for The Star and The Shawnee Dispatch, a weekly paper just up the road. My first beat at the Journal-World was features, covering food, arts, entertainment and lifestyle.

I’m a fourth-generation graduate of Kansas University, where I majored in journalism, art history and French. To reach me, call 785-832-7187 or send email to Follow me on Twitter @saramarieshep.

Recent stories

Award-winning TV journalist reminds during talk at KU, ‘Wisdom doesn’t always wear a suit’
09:11 p.m., April 23, 2015 Updated 10:44 p.m.
The people with money and power may appear to make the world go ’round, especially the way they’re reflected in the media. Not so, says Bob Dotson. Instead, take a look at the people standing behind them, or even completely out of view. Dotson, an NBC News Correspondent who carved his journalism career out of those people’s stories, gave the William Allen White Day public lecture Thursday at Kansas University, where he also accepted this year’s William Allen White Foundation National Citation. By Sara Shepherd
Big Event organizers learn from last-minute cancellation: Plan ahead for rain
12:30 p.m., April 23, 2015 Updated 10:45 p.m.
The 4,000 or so pairs of unused work gloves will keep until next year, at least. But the time that went into planning this year’s Big Event at Kansas University, the thousands of volunteers at the ready and hundreds of property owners who were counting on their help won’t. Organizers say their top suggestion for the leaders of next year’s Big Event will be to build in a big contingency plan. By Sara Shepherd
KU crime report: Drug offenses jump 65 percent; overall crime up 26 percent
09:23 a.m., April 22, 2015 Updated 10:46 p.m.
Drug offenses went up 65 percent last year at Kansas University, according to annual crime statistics the university released Wednesday.
Student’s motion in Hall v. KU case trumpets ‘academic transparency’
01:06 p.m., April 21, 2015 Updated 10:21 p.m.
The Kansas University student trying to obtain a business teacher’s emails has submitted a formal motion in the lawsuit over her records request, urging the court to let her have the documents. “The academic question is whether Plaintiff is speaking for himself or promoting an agenda, and possibly profiting, by or for, some outside source,” her motion says. By Sara Shepherd
Activist remembered for decades of efforts to raise up the downtrodden
06:21 p.m., April 20, 2015 Updated 11:10 p.m.
Caroljean “CJ” Brune was an activist of an older generation, but she wasn’t the kind that stayed stuck in the past. By Sara Shepherd
Faculty diversity ekes up at KU
Administrators credit revamped, more extensive hiring protocol
April 18, 2015
Kansas University professors are still mostly white, but slightly less white than they were a few years ago. Administrators say it’s a sign that a recently revamped and more exhaustive hiring process is helping KU meet a long-term — and highly challenging — goal of increasing faculty diversity. By Sara Shepherd
Bad weather forecast prompts cancellation of KU’s Big Event
11:54 a.m., April 17, 2015 Updated 10:37 p.m.
The Kansas University Big Event, scheduled for Saturday, has been canceled because of a bad weather forecast, organizers announced Friday. The annual volunteer event will be canceled altogether — not rescheduled — because, well, it’s too big. By Sara Shepherd
Regents report: International, out-of-state students bring big money to Kansas, but few stick around
03:49 p.m., April 16, 2015 Updated 10:32 p.m.
International and out-of-state students make a big economic impact on Kansas while they’re enrolled in Board of Regents institutions. However, only about 18 percent stick around post-graduation. After five years, only 9 percent of international students and 13 percent of other out-of-staters are still employed in Kansas. That’s according to a report presented Thursday at the Kansas Board of Regents meeting. By Sara Shepherd
Tompkins retiring from Board of Regents, successor announced
03:50 p.m., April 15, 2015 Updated 10:26 p.m.
Kansas Board of Regents President and CEO Andy Tompkins publicly announced his retirement Wednesday, after five years leading the board and more than 45 working in public education. Tompkins’ successor will be a man who already has been working closely with Tompkins, Regents vice president for workforce development, Blake Flanders. By Sara Shepherd
‘When the Tarahumara Indians Ran’: Ultra-marathon fueled excitement in early days of Kansas Relays
06:39 p.m., April 14, 2015 Updated 10:09 p.m.
When “Born to Run” hit The New York Times best-seller list in 2009, millions of readers discovered for the first time a mysterious indigenous Mexican tribe for whom hundred-mile runs on rugged canyon trails had been a way of life for generations. Little do most know, thousands in Lawrence witnessed the Tarahumara Indians’ endurance-running prowess more than 80 years earlier. By Sara Shepherd

Full story list

Recent photos

A page inside the 1927 Kansas Relays program advertises an "endurance run" by Tarahumara Indians, a special feature of that year's event. Pictured are Tomas Zaf, Jose Torres and Lolita Cuzarare at events in Texas. The program says the Tarahumara are "semi-civilized little 'iron' people from the mountain caves of Chihuahua, Mexico. The men will run forty-seven miles from Kansas City, and the women twenty-seven miles from Topeka, both finishing at Memorial Stadium sometime late in the afternoon. They expect to average between six and seven miles an hour."

A page in the 1928 Kansas Relays program highlights an endurance run by Tarahumara Indians, who visited Kansas University the previous year. According to the text, Thomas Zafiro (above), who finished third in the run, came onto the track just as anchor men of the college 2-mile relay began, led by Philip Osif of Haskell. "Sensing that he was being overtaken, Zafiro, who had run fifty some miles, spurted and kept up with the fresh half-milers, bringing a great cheer from the crowd." Lolita Cuzarare (below left) is pictured after finishing a 30.6-mile run from Topeka in 5 hours, 37 minutes, 45 seconds. Jose Torres (below right) is pictured with Mayor R.C. Rankin and KU Athletics Director F.C. "Phog" Allen after winning the 50.7-mile men's race from Kansas City in 6 hours, 46 minutes, 41 seconds.

Armed with laptop, coffee and a view, KU assistant professor of history Erik Scott works on a conference paper during the Faculty-Staff Day of Writing at the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015.

The photo of former KU student Joseph C. Liggett is among 129 photos of KU students and alumni who gave their lives in service to World War I, displayed on the sixth floor of the Kansas Union. Ray Liggett of Shawnee stumbled upon his great uncle's connection to KU and the war while doing genealogical research, but didn't previously know the Union was a memorial to him and other casualties. Ray Liggett said he learned that Joseph Liggett enlisted in October 1918 and died the next month. He was a member of KU's unit of the Student Army Training Corps but died in Lawrence in the influenza epidemic before he was ever deployed.

This small plaque, inscribed as a gift of the class of 1924, is displayed on the main level of the Kansas Union. It reads, "Kansas Memorial Union Building, erected in memory of the one hundred and twenty nine students and alumni of the University of Kansas who gave their lives in service in the world war." A few other World War I related wall displays appear on the sixth floor of the Union.

Full photo list