Posts tagged with Ku
Never underestimate the reach of a powerhouse basketball program.
I’ve had a student from China tell me, when settling on an American university to attend, that he picked KU because he’d heard of its basketball team and thought it was cool. I know people who never attended KU who got tattoos of Jayhawks because of their love for the basketball team. This month, a more quantified example of its impact came out.
The latest “Kansas Brand Power Survey” from Wichita-based RSA Marketing Services says KU and the Jayhawks are the state’s top brand, again. According to RSA, their online survey asked 500 Kansans to name the Kansas-based brand they thought was the most famous.
Mike Snyder, COO and Principal at RSA, said in a press release that the the inclusion of “basketball” on the list (at No. 8) “definitely reflects the strong presence of KU, K-State and WSU in national basketball rankings." Surprisingly absent, RSA noted, was football powerhouse K-State, as well as Wichita State, just off two years of high-profile NCAA basketball performances.
Of course, it’s certainly possible that the survey-takers had in mind the KU campus, its research programs or other talking points the school works hard to market. But in this case, I’m putting my money on the basketball team.
The Top 10 most famous Kansas-based brands for 2015:
- Wizard of Oz
- Pizza Hut
For comparison, here’s the same list from 2014 (note: the question was slightly different, asking for “favorite” instead of “most famous” Kansas-based brands).
- Free State Brewery
- Pizza Hut
- Boulevard Brewery
- Russell Stover
- Koch Industries
Spot any other KU rankings lately, or have other tips for this blog or my KU coverage for the Journal-World? Contact me by email at email@example.com, by phone at 832-7187 or on Twitter @saramarieshep.
Today is the first day of school for KU’s Lawrence campus, and with this new school year comes a number of new things. From newly located traffic booths to multimillion-dollar new buildings to beaks on buses, here are a few worth noting:
Newly relocated traffic booths
There’s more campus access at one booth location and less access — actually, no access — at another. The traffic booth formerly at 14th Street and Jayhawk Boulevard has moved inward to Jayhawk Boulevard and Lilac Lane. So now anyone can drive onto Lilac Lane during the school day (though parking there is still by permit only).
The booth formerly on Sunflower Road at Sunnyside Avenue, next to the Prairie Acre, is gone. Instead there’s now a set of automated gates, located a bit farther up the hill on Sunflower Road, that only authorized university vehicles will be allowed through during the day, according to KU Parking. So even people with daytime Jayhawk Boulevard driving privileges will have to get there another way (myself included — I don’t get basketball tickets, but I do have a media parking pass, which is almost as good). KU Parking says those gates will open to drive-through traffic at night.
New name for Art and Design Building
KU scheduled some fanfare yesterday for the renaming of the Art and Design Building to Chalmers Hall. Read more about the last former chancellor to have a building named after him here.
New paint jobs for KU on Wheels
KU on Wheels buses have bold new paint schemes. And beaks.
Paperless parking permits (and tickets)
KU Parking today launched its fancy new e-permit system — which includes license plate-reading cameras to scope out which cars belong in a particular lot and which will be getting ticketed.
New residence halls
A total of 700 students are at home in the newly completed Oswald and Self residence halls, which I got to tour last week. The $48.6 million project features two mirror-image dorms joined by a commons area open to all Daisy Hill residents.
A new home for the School of Engineering
The Learned Engineering Expansion Project Phase 2 building, LEEP2 for short, has its first classes today. The new $65 million building is now the centerpiece of KU’s engineering complex. My favorite thing about the new building: "light wells." Full story (with explanation of what those are) here.
New KU Common Book
New lilacs (coming soon)
No one seems to be sure exactly how old the large, old lilac bushes along Lilac Lane were. But safe to say, they were old. KU tore them all out in recent weeks and plans to plant new bushes next month, which presumably will be there for decades to come.
KU Today, our annual KU edition of the Journal-World, just published yesterday and is packed with some of these plus many more stories about other new things going on at KU. Browse the KU edition here, and as always, if you have a tip about something else new at KU, let me know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, via phone at 832-7187 or on Twitter @saramarieshep.
After hearing all the lilacs had suddenly disappeared from Kansas University’s Lilac Lane I thought, “No way,” and went to see for myself.
Sure enough, every bush has been ripped out, and there’s just mud where they once lined the street behind Fraser Hall. At least for this KU/Oread neighborhood alumna — who walked through them daily for years, and has a soft spot for both history and flowers (I’m not as old as that makes me sound, I promise) — it was a disconcerting sight.
Turns out there's no need for outrage.
The lilacs, which were removed last week, will be replaced with new ones around late September, KU landscape architect and project manager Marion Paulette said. She said KU planned to replace the old lilacs and decided to do it now, while work was already going on in the area for the Jayhawk Boulevard Reconstruction project.
“The ones that were there were pretty overgrown, and some were missing and very scraggly,” Paulette said. “They’ve been maintained; they just really were old and were at the end of their life.”
Paulette said she’s hoping for blooms on the new plants next spring. She said KU will plant “Penda” and “Red Pixie” lilacs, both newer cultivars of Persian lilacs, an old and fragrant variety they believe is the same as what was there in the past. Paulette said she didn’t know how old the torn-out lilacs were, but they definitely were not the original lilacs of Lilac Lane.
Lilacs first were planted there in the 1870s, when local nurseryman Joseph Savage donated them and worked with Chancellor James Marvin to plant a row to frame the east lawn of Old Fraser Hall, according to a section on Lilac Lane from KU’s application to get the KU Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
“They’re an important landscape, and very important to the character of KU, and certainly something we want to maintain and preserve,” Paulette said.
Notice anything major missing from the KU campus lately? Let me know, by email at email@example.com, by phone at 832-7187 or on Twitter @saramarieshep.
In some roles, the actor could be any race. Others really require the real thing.
The latter is true for two of Kansas University Theatre’s fall plays, but with a limited pool of theater majors of color, directors are trying to reach a broader audience about casting calls, which start Monday.
“That’s something that we’re working on building in the theater department,” said Zach Sudbury, a theater doctoral student who’s directing one of the plays. “But we also encourage people from other disciplines to audition, and that’s partly why we’re getting the word out. ... If somebody has that interest and fits the role and has the ability to stand on stage and perform, then we can work with them.”
Sudbury is directing “Detroit ’67,” by Dominique Morisseau (showing Oct. 2-8). Published in 2013 but set in the days leading up to the Detroit race riot, it was chosen for its “sharp,” fresh language and relevance to race issues happening now, Sudbury said.
The play needs two black women, two black men and one white woman. Since the play is directly about the issue of race, Sudbury said, “it is important to have people of color in those four roles and a white woman in the role for the white woman.”
The other play, “Johanna: Facing Forward,” is written and directed by Tlaloc Rivas (showing Oct. 16-25). It needs multiple Latino actors, including some who are bilingual, said Katherine Pryor, managing director for University Theatre. “We are looking for a very diverse cast for this show.”
“Johanna” is inspired by the true story of Johanna Orozco, a Cleveland teen who survived a gunshot wound to the face by her boyfriend in 2007, and the ensuing award-winning newspaper series on the story, “Facing Forward.” Pryor said the KU show would be only the second performance of “Johanna,” which, like “Detroit ’67,” she called a “really timely play.”
Open call auditions for all University Theatre fall productions are 7 to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at Crafton-Preyer Theatre. Click here for more information or to sign up for an audition time.
In the days following the United States’ bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, the then-Lawrence Daily Journal-World published accounts of the bomb’s power and the scientific breakthrough it represented. While combing the archives for clips used with today’s front-page story, "Hiroshima 70 years after the bomb: Local emotions on weapon of mass destruction still run high,” our digital editor Nick Gerik also found this headline, from Aug. 7:
“HELPED ON BOMB? Many K. U. Men Away on Secret War Work May Have Aided”
Ever the research university, KU apparently was abuzz with talk about who among the ranks may have had a role in developing the bomb. “None of the persons called away on secret work for the government has talked, but release by Washington of some of the places where research and production were carried forward indicates the probable connection of a number of K. U. people,” the article says.
The article names an assistant professor of physics who’d been on leave from KU for two years, a chemist who’d been at Chicago University for the past year and several former instructors and graduates working at a plant in Oak Ridge Tennessee. And friends of some Sunflower Ordnance Works employees mysteriously sent away on other government work had heard they were engaged in “something big” and “entirely secret,” the article says.
This old news clip — speculative as it was — was right about that physics professor and his group-mates.
“Henry H. Barschall, a nuclear physicist who carried out early experiments with neutrons, helped develop the atomic bomb in World War II,” reads a 1997 New York Times news obituary on Barschall. Barschall spent most of his career at the University of Wisconsin, but prior, “In World War II, Dr. Barschall joined the team at Los Alamos, N.M., that developed the atomic bomb. On July 16, 1945, he helped monitor the shock wave from the first nuclear test, near White Sands.”
In a fascinating autobiography by Barschall (titled "Reminiscences" and shared online here via a teacher at Wisconsin), he talks about his time at KU and how he came to work on “U.S. Engineer Project ‘Y.’” Barschall’s challenges getting to Los Alamos included expediting the process of becoming a U.S. citizen (he was German), getting security clearance and — apparently — freeing himself from KU.
“The worst problem was the University of Kansas, which opposed my departure violently, including threats to use the Local Draft Board. At least the university finally promoted me from Instructor to Assistant Professor,” Barschall said in the document. “...I could not imagine the Secretary of War writing a letter on my behalf, but apparently such a letter was indeed sent, and on September 27 (1943) I was told I could leave.”
After the war, KU tried to get Barschall back, offering him a promotion to associate professor and a raise, he wrote. But Barschall had other offers. “My experiences at Kansas in the months before my departure had left an unpleasant memory. The lack of experimental facilities and the lack of a research tradition were other disincentives.” Ultimately — spurred in part by the promise that the larger of the accelerators used at Los Alamos would be shipped back to Wisconsin — Barschall took an assistant professorship there and was soon granted tenure.
“I was, however, able to help Kansas with their staffing problem by arranging for my first Wisconsin Ph.D., Worth Seagondollar, to join the faculty of the Kansas physics department as an assistant professor, the rank of instructor that I had at Kansas for two years having fallen into disuse,” Barschall wrote.
The Journal-World article also said KU students Joseph Kennedy and Ernest Klema were working with Barschall.
Kennedy, who earned his master's degree at KU, went on to head the chemistry and metallurgy division at Los Alamos, and co-discovered plutonium, according to his biography on the Atomic Heritage Foundation's website.
Klema, a student of Barschall's whom he discusses in his autobiography, completed his master's degree at KU and went to Princeton University to get a doctorate when his project was transferred to Los Alamos. Klema had a career in academia and went on to become a dean at Tufts University, according to Tufts.
These are only a few of the scientists with KU ties who worked on the Manhattan Project — some of whom KU attracted to its faculty after the war, even as Barschall was heading elsewhere. They include Barschall's student Seagondollar, Clark Eugene Bricker and William Argersinger. If your Internet spelunking turns up other names and links, go ahead and share in the comments below.
— Journal-World digital editor Nick Gerik contributed to this post.
Kansas University has set a specific date for the demolition of McCollum Hall, which we previously reported would take place sometime this fall.
Demolition is scheduled for 7 a.m. Nov. 25, according to university spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson. Further details will be firmed up and shared at a later time, she said.
McCollum is big — 10 floors and three wings — so one can only guess its implosion (assuming that's the method used) will be dramatic. Nov. 25, a Wednesday, is the first day of Thanksgiving Break, so students residing in the other Daisy Hill residence halls should be gone for the weekend and safely away from the area by then.
In the meantime, KU is dismantling the building’s interior, including removing and donating old furniture and securing new homes for the McCollum brothers’ portraits that hung in the lobby for decades. KU also is accepting submissions and posting some McCollum memories online at housing.ku.edu.
When the big day gets closer, I'm sure we’ll have more information about things like road closures and what to expect. Stay tuned.
“When I was your age,” a bearded and button-up clad Jay Pryor tells a handful of dolled-up young dancers, “my name was Janet.”
That’s from an online trailer advertising a new episode of “Dance Moms” featuring choreography inspired by the story of Pryor’s transformation from woman to man. The episode is scheduled to air tonight at 9/8c on Lifetime.
Pryor, a KU grad, lives in Lawrence with his wife and two children and works as a life-coach, including teaching women's empowerment seminars. (The Journal-World featured him in 2009 and quoted him in a recent story reacting to Olympian and TV star Bruce Jenner’s transformation into Caitlyn.) He said his own journey included a suicidal period that landed him in a psychiatric unit and that he has had close friends commit suicide after changing genders. He said he hopes his story will help LGBT youth who are struggling and he's glad for the opportunity to share it with the millions of people who watch "Dance Moms."
"I'm also nervous," he said. "It's my life in front of millions of people. I'm feeling a little vulnerable. But more than anything I feel blessed by the opportunity to make a difference."
Here’s how Pryor’s experience meandered its way to what would seem the most unlikely of stages — a reality TV show featuring tweens in the competitive dance world, and their moms.
A few years back, Pryor shared his story when the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles stopped in Lawrence during a touring stage show inspired by the It Gets Better Project, which supports LGBT teens, he said. Eventually — after a follow-up with the director and some additional interviews — his story became the inspiration for an original song by Danish artists Kier and Sascha DuPont titled "Run, Run, Run," which the chorus performed during later stage shows. Show director Liesel Reinhart summarized in a Huffington Post blog last week: "The song is intended to capture the push and pull of forces that Jay experiences as a young trans person, first running away from something and then realizing he was running toward something else." "Dance Moms" took notice and picked the Pryor-inspired song for the show.
Pryor flew to Los Angeles, where he met the girls who would be dancing to his song (for you "Dance Moms" fans, they're from the Candy Apple's team). They'd never met a transgendered person, he said, but they were "so sweet," hardworking and talented dancers. During rehearsal, he not only saw the choreography but he also heard the song he inspired for the first time.
"I bawled like a baby," Pryor said. "I was very moved."
In the trailer, Pryor tearfully tells the girls about friends of his who committed suicide after struggling emotionally with their sexuality. “You guys are saving lives by doing this ... I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate that.”
Pryor isn't sure how much, if any, he'll appear in tonight's episode. But he was in Los Angeles for taping and saw who wins the dance competition — of course, he's not allowed to tell.
Kansas University classics professor emeritus Stanley Lombardo’s dramatic reading of his translation of “Inferno” at this weekend’s Fringe Festival KC may be abridged, but he doesn’t leave out author Dante Alighieri’s famously ominous line, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
Over the next 45 minutes — the max time allowed for Fringe performances — Lombardo, his drum and a walking stick will transport the audience through the 14th-century poem’s circles of hell, complete with sodomites wandering beneath an eternal rain of fire flakes and sinners in a frozen lake gnawing on one another’s skulls.
Not your typical poetry slam material.
We asked Lombardo a little more about himself and his unusual craft. Five things to know:
1 — Who is he?
Lombardo, 72, retired in May 2014 after 37 years at KU. He’s renowned for translating ancient epics. Since his own college days, he said, he wanted to write poetry and study Greek. He started with Homer.
2 — What does translation have to do with performance?
When it comes to ancient poets like Homer, a lot. “Homer composed for performance — for generations, it wasn’t written down,” Lombardo said, explaining that he takes that to heart in his written translations. “If it doesn’t work as a performance for me, it won’t work on the page ... I want it to come to life.”
3 — Why Dante?
Lombardo’s done a lot of Homer performances, but only excerpts here and there from Dante — nothing this “elaborate.” His director for “The Inferno,” KU theater professor John Gronbeck-Tedesco, suggested it. Plus, Fringe material has to be new.
4 — Favorite thing about performing?
“Occupying the mind of the original author in the most intimate way,” Lombardo said. “For me, translation has always been not just, ‘What do these words mean?’ but ‘What is the mind that produced this amazing piece of poetry?’”
5 — What else is he up to these days?
Translating “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” which has required studying Akkadian (an extinct east Semitic language). Also continuing to perform dramatic readings at colleges campuses across the country.
If you go
Lombardo will perform ‘The Inferno’ at 6 p.m. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and 9 p.m. July 25 at Westport Coffee House, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave. in Kansas City, Mo. Find a full Fringe schedule online at kcfringe.org. Read about other highlights in Lawrence.com’s latest Kansas City Connection column.
For five years, Kansas University's University Senate has been studying the issue of domestic partner benefits, urging KU to offer them, and basically getting nowhere. The new U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage — obviously — is not a mere suggestion. It's causing real change, and swiftly.
Just three months ago I reported the University Senate was formally recommending that KU offer benefits to employees’ domestic partners, following a report from the Senate’s Domestic Partner Benefits Committee. At the time, I got the sense that senators didn't think that would happen anytime soon but they wanted their stance on the record, nonetheless. (Note that their recommendation was for domestic partner benefits because they wanted benefits for same-sex spouses as well as non-married partners, same or opposite sex.) A snip from that story:
“KU does offer a few benefits to domestic partners — including gym access and bereavement leave for various definitions of partners — but not the most valuable benefits, which are medical and dental insurance, according to the report.”
Back in 2010 we reported that the initial Domestic Partner Benefits Committee was launching its first study. That resulted in more or less the same conclusions and the same University Senate support — and also the same lack of real effect. Again, from my April story:
“The university has cited state and federal laws, as well as challenging tax and regulatory implications to providing domestic partner benefits, as roadblocks, according to the report.”
Enter the June 26 Supreme Court ruling that all states must legally recognize same-sex marriage.
Today, KU Provost Jeff Vitter addressed the issue of same-sex spouse benefits in his e-newsletter, saying:
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling on marriage equality affects University of Kansas faculty and staff, as well as our families, friends, and neighbors. Recent news reports highlighted that all 105 counties in Kansas will now issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Today, we received the very good news that state agencies involved with revising policies are reaching out to clarify how and when benefits will be extended to spouses and dependents of state employees affected by the decision. Human Resources Management will share detailed information with faculty and staff as soon as it learns the date of implementation from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Division of Health Care Finance.”
So while paperwork may not be in order for employees to sign up today, it appears that at least for same-sex married couples the option is imminent — and no longer just a suggestion.
It’s as if an entire section of the Free State Festival was made for the academic types of Kansas University: ideas. KU faculty are populating a great many of next week’s three dozen or so “idea” sessions planned in conjunction with the Free State Festival — these people are experts on everything from flying drones to saving newspapers, from the reptiles of Madagascar to human geography as it relates to legalizing pot.
The Free State Festival idea sessions kick off Monday and are planned through June 28. Sessions include talks, panels and community forums. In addition to KU professors, featured speakers include faculty from other schools, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, some of Lawrence’s best chefs and even a couple world-famous people (George Clinton, for one).
Below are the first five sessions featuring KU experts. For a full schedule of ideas and other Free State Festival events, go online to freestatefestival.org.
Health Information Technology and Privacy
6-7:15 p.m. Monday at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St.
Featuring Norbert Belz, clinical assistant professor and director of the KU Medical Center’s Department of Health Information Management; and Lauren Pulino, clinical assistant professor of the Department of Health Information Management.
KU Research: Speed Dating Edition (in partnership with Nerd Nite Lawrence)
6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday at Cider Gallery, 810 Pennsylvania St.
Featuring multiple KU experts in the areas of bumper stickers, Madagascar herpetology, Neanderthal jewelry and more.
High Profits: The Commercialization of Cannabis
7:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at John Brown’s Underground, 7 E. Seventh St.
Featuring Barney Warf, KU professor of geography and “a human geographer with wide-ranging interests.”
Kansas Startup Culture
7:30-8:45 p.m. Tuesday at Lawrence Arts Center
Featuring G.R. Underwood, president and COO of KU’s Bioscience and Technology Business Center; and Wallace Meyer, lecturer and director of entrepreneurship programs at the KU School of Business.
Technology in Higher Education
4:30-5:45 p.m. Wednesday at Lawrence Arts Center
Featuring James Basham, associate professor in the KU Department of Special Education.