Lilac tradition makes return to campus; update on KU leader in running for president’s position
photo by: Sara Shepherd
Despite most of the old overgrown lilac bushes being torn out and replaced last summer, Kansas University’s iconic Lilac Lane won’t go a spring without blooms.
New bushes planted in September are in bloom their first season in the ground, as university landscapers had hoped when I talked to them last fall. The new bushes are small — on top of being young, the more than six dozen planted along the sidewalk are a dwarf variety. But between those and a handful of large, old bushes remaining closer to Fraser Hall, there are enough flowers that the scent of lilacs wafts through the air along the sidewalk.
photo by: Sara Shepherd
It’s fantastic, and definitely worth taking a walk in the next week or so while the bushes are still in bloom.
Considering the nearly 150-year history of Lilac Lane, it’s fun to think about how many generations of students, faculty and even chancellors — The Outlook, home to KU chancellors since 1939, lies at the end of Lilac Lane — have done the same thing this time of year.
A few more recent campus updates to know about:
• Vice chancellor not hired at GSU: KU vice chancellor for public affairs Tim Caboni was a finalist to become president of Georgia Southern University, but it looks like he won’t be headed there. The University System of Georgia announced Wednesday that Jaimie Hebert of Sam Houston State University would be Georgia Southern’s new president.
• Ecology and evolutionary biology professor dies: A KU professor known for his work in aquatic ecology, biofuels and the ecology of infectious diseases died last week. Val Smith, 65, a professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, died April 2 at his home in Lawrence, according to KU.
“I join the University of Kansas community in mourning the death of Professor Val Smith, whose teaching and research contributed significantly to his field and helped elevate the reputation of the university and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology,” KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a statement from the university.
Visitation is planned for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th St., according to Smith’s obituary.
• I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at email@example.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.