Cal State building named for former KU administrator; Jayhawk is Washington state poet laureate; chancellor’s husband as Santa; and other KU names in the news

Here are a few University of Kansas names in the news and some other recent updates:

• Cal State LA names building for former KU administrator: There’s a building at California State University, Los Angeles being named after a former KU associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.

James Rosser left KU and went on to become Cal State LA’s first black president, serving longer than any other president in Cal State LA’s history, 34 years, according to a Los Angeles Sentinel story. Wing B of the university’s Wallis Annenberg Integrated Sciences Complex will become the James M. Rosser Hall. 

• Rehearsal room named for revered music prof: At KU, there’s now a band rehearsal room named in honor of James Barnes, a professor of music theory and music composition who taught at KU 41 years before retiring in 2015. Murphy Hall 118 was dedicated this fall as the James Barnes Rehearsal Room. In order to name the room in Barnes’ honor, the School of Music and KU Endowment set a goal to raise $250,000 for KU band student scholarships and ended up bringing in more than $300,000, the music school recently reported.

• Caboni not headed south: KU vice chancellor for public affairs Tim Caboni was one of four candidates to become president of Valdosta State University, and he visited the palm-tree filled Georgia campus last month. Looks like Caboni will not be taking that job. Valdosta State announced last week that another finalist was recommended for the presidency, with a regents vote expected Friday.

• Washington poet laureate is KU alumnus: Tod Marshall is now the state of Washington’s poet laureate. A recent Yakima Herald article noted that Marshall is originally from Wichita and got his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Siena Heights University and Eastern Washington University, respectively, before earning a doctorate from KU.

• Does that Santa look familiar?: A Santa Claus with a striking resemblance to Shade Keys Little, husband of KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, appeared Saturday at Van Go Inc.

Van Go executive director Lynne Green said Santa had something come up Saturday and asked Little, who serves on the Van Go board, to don the red suit for him and take requests from children at the event, designed to help promote Van Go’s Adornment show and sale, open until Dec. 23 at 715 New Jersey St. Mrs. Claus apparently did not join him, but here’s a picture from Van Go’s Facebook page of Santa Shade with an adorable baby:

Seeing double

• I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at