Posts tagged with Ku

More than 700 celebrity faces, autographs will have permanent home at KU library

Famous writers, musicians, actors, sports figures — University of Kansas associate professor of film and media studies John Tibbetts has interviewed and painted portraits of more than 700 such personalities. Those portraits, all signed by their subjects, will have a permanent home at KU’s Spencer Research Library.

KU Libraries announced this month that Tibbetts is gifting the portraits to the library through a multi-year series of donations.

Through his career as a TV and radio broadcast journalist and as a scholar at KU, Tibbetts gained interviews with hundreds of celebrities and public figures, according to KU Libraries. For more than 40 years, he created pen-and-ink and watercolor portraits of such personalities, then asked them to sign the portraits during his interviews.

John Tibbetts is pictured, along with some of the celebrity portraits he's painted and had autographed, in this 2004 Journal-World file photo. Tibbetts is an associate professor of film and media studies at the University of Kansas.

John Tibbetts is pictured, along with some of the celebrity portraits he's painted and had autographed, in this 2004 Journal-World file photo. Tibbetts is an associate professor of film and media studies at the University of Kansas. by Thad Allender/Journal-World Photo

The first installment given to the library will feature writers, musicians, broadcasters and sports figures — bandleader Cab Calloway, opera singers Kathleen Battle and Luciano Pavarotti, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and composer Philip Glass, among others, according to KU Libraries. Additional installments will feature film, television and theater performers.

Famous names from show business Tibbetts interviewed and painted through the years include Julie Andrews, Whoopie Goldberg, Gene Hackman, Michael Caine, Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Sean Connery, Spike Lee, Lauren Bacall and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A watercolor portrait of Sean Connery by John Tibbetts, associate professor of film and media studies at the University of Kansas.

A watercolor portrait of Sean Connery by John Tibbetts, associate professor of film and media studies at the University of Kansas.

Only one personage refused to sign his painting, Tibbetts told the Journal-World in a 2004 interview. That was Ralph Macchio — aka Daniel LaRusso of "Karate Kid." The 2004 Journal-World story also outlines how Tibbetts began painting the portraits in the first place:

Tibbetts first honed his skills rendering posters for the KU Film Society in the 1960s. It was during this stretch that he made his initial celebrity contact.

"I wanted to write Ray Bradbury for a long time, just to say thanks for all the wonderful stories I'd been reading as a kid," he recalls. "So I did a drawing of him (in 1966) and sent it to him with no expectation of what would happen. It came back to me, beautifully inscribed with a letter, which has initiated a correspondence which has lasted almost 40 years."

In the mid-1980s, the film critic began to spend weekends traveling to the coasts to gather in-person interviews for his various outlets. He started to explore the idea of painting stars and presenting them with the product.

"It was a way of connecting with people," he says. "It shows them that I am interested in them and put out something with my own energies to say 'thank you' or 'I'm interested to meet you.'"

Tibbetts’ paintings will join about 140 of his television interviews currently available online through KU ScholarWorks, kuscholarworks.ku.edu. Once catalogued, the paintings will be viewable by request in the Spencer Research Library reading room.

“They are a part of my life, almost my biography,” Tibbetts said, in the KU Libraries announcement, “and I hope others will enjoy the experience of the interviews, including the paintings and audio.”


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

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KU’s Multicultural Student Government proposing new path to governing-body status

The University of Kansas student organization that calls itself Multicultural Student Government is still active this semester, and is now trying a new path in hopes of becoming a separate governing body with standing equal to KU’s existing Student Senate.

On Thursday, MSG leaders asked the University Senate to establish an ad hoc committee to explore the feasibility of an actual Multicultural Student Government and, if deemed appropriate, change University Senate code to include it. Per University Senate code — which allows just one governing body per each university constituency — the current University Senate comprises representatives from Student Senate, Faculty Senate and Staff Senate.

University Senate voted to table the question until its December meeting.

Sophie Wang, a Student Senate representative on the University Senate, formally proposed the MSG committee at the end of Thursday’s meeting, during the new business portion of the agenda. The item was not on the meeting agenda, and University Senate members did not receive information about MSG or their proposal in advance. University Senate members said they wanted more time to look at the group’s information and discuss it before deciding whether to create a committee.

Wang was joined by three of MSG’s top leaders, who spoke on behalf of the proposal.

MSG has fashioned its leadership positions after those of a governing body, with a board instead of typical club officer positions, said Omaha senior Alex Kinkead, vice chair of the MSG board. Other board members present were Emporia senior Mercedes Bounthapanya, board treasurer, and Wichita senior Christian Roberson, board secretary. Student Trinity Carpenter, who wasn't present Thursday, is the MSG board chair and also a School of Social Welfare representative on Student Senate.

“We’re coming to University Senate because we’d like to work with you in tandem and have conversations,” Kinkead said. “We are a legit entity, and we are functioning as a student government. The only thing we are not is functioning within the University Senate.”

Kinkead said a separate governing body is needed because the current university governance system inherently oppresses students from marginalized backgrounds who don’t “access spaces” the same way other students do.

“We have significantly less barriers and hoops that multicultural students have to jump through,” Kinkead said of MSG. “We’re centering marginalized identities and multicultural groups.”

In spring 2016, Student Senate voted to allocate about $180,000 in required student fees — $90,000 to pay officers and fund other operations, plus another $90,000 to disseminate to other multicultural student groups — to establish and empower MSG, which had just registered as a student club. Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little vetoed that funding because MSG was not actually a recognized governing body. She added, in a letter explaining the veto, that she did not think MSG was “an optimal way to achieve the goals we have for diversity and inclusion at the university and, indeed, may lead to greater divisiveness.”

Speaking to the Kansas University Student Senate, Jameelah Jones is joined by dozens of students and supporters of the Multicultural Student Government initiative during the Student Senate's meeting Wednesday evening March 9, 2016, at the Kansas Union.

Speaking to the Kansas University Student Senate, Jameelah Jones is joined by dozens of students and supporters of the Multicultural Student Government initiative during the Student Senate's meeting Wednesday evening March 9, 2016, at the Kansas Union. by John Young


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

Reply 1 comment from Reid Hollander

Postcard from KU: Photos of major things being built, dug up while you’re away for the summer

For the Kansas University community members who’ve left campus for the summer, here are just a few snapshots of what’s going on construction-wise while you’re away.

This should enable you a glimpse of the unusually high amount of construction activity without having to maneuver the labyrinth that is campus with all its summer road closures and dead ends — or hiking up the hill in the seemingly incessant heat advisories we’ve had lately in Lawrence.

Framing is up on the EEEC building, which is dramatically going to change the look of the corner of 15th and Naismith. It used to be a parking lot.

Construction on KU's new Earth, Energy and Environment Center, or EEEC, on the northeast corner of 15th Street and Naismith Drive, is pictured on Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Adjacent to Lindley Hall, the building — featuring two towers, Ritchie Hall and Slawson Hall — is scheduled for completion in fall 2017.

Construction on KU's new Earth, Energy and Environment Center, or EEEC, on the northeast corner of 15th Street and Naismith Drive, is pictured on Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Adjacent to Lindley Hall, the building — featuring two towers, Ritchie Hall and Slawson Hall — is scheduled for completion in fall 2017. by Sara Shepherd

This is the vacant field on Daisy Hill formerly home to McCollum Hall. Look close and you can see curbs for a parking lot taking shape.

Debris has been hauled off and crews are working to build a parking lot in the space on Daisy Hill where McCollum Hall once stood, pictured Wednesday, July 6, 2016.

Debris has been hauled off and crews are working to build a parking lot in the space on Daisy Hill where McCollum Hall once stood, pictured Wednesday, July 6, 2016. by Sara Shepherd

There’s a lot of activity in KU’s Central District where the old Burge Union used to be, just west of Anschutz Sports Pavilion. This sea of dirt will eventually be home to a new student union, an integrated science building and a parking garage.

Construction in KU's Central District is pictured Wednesday, July 6, 2016. This area will be home to a new student union and integrated science building.

Construction in KU's Central District is pictured Wednesday, July 6, 2016. This area will be home to a new student union and integrated science building. by Sara Shepherd

Concrete has been poured for the new Central District residence and dining hall, going up behind Oliver Hall. (There’s also a new student apartment complex going up at 19th and Ousdahl, but with 19th Street closed and construction fences blocking the area from the other side, I couldn’t very well get over there to see its status.)

Work has begun on the new residence and dining hall behind Oliver Hall on the KU campus, pictured Wednesday, July 6, 2016.

Work has begun on the new residence and dining hall behind Oliver Hall on the KU campus, pictured Wednesday, July 6, 2016. by Sara Shepherd

Finally, Memorial Drive is out of commission this summer as crews work to reconstruct it, along with the portion of West Campus Road just past the Chi Omega Fountain.

The Memorial Drive reconstruction project is pictured Wednesday, July 6, 2016.

The Memorial Drive reconstruction project is pictured Wednesday, July 6, 2016. by Sara Shepherd


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

Reply 2 comments from Daniel Kennamore Clara Westphal

Plaintiff adds new complaints against KU coach in Jayhawker Towers rape lawsuit

Former Kansas University rower Daisy Tackett has added a couple of new allegations to her lawsuit against KU, in which she said a football player raped her in Jayhawker Towers and that KU failed to comply with Title IX after she reported the incident. Specifically the new accusations take aim at the KU rowing coach and his “history of Title IX gender discrimination.”

Title IX is the federal law prohibiting gender-based discrimination in education, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. Tackett, in her suit, says KU took too long to investigate her rape report and allowed her attacker to intimidate her on campus and her rowing coach to retaliate against her after she reported, in October 2015, about a year after the incident occurred (and about the same time fellow KU rower Sarah McClure — who also has since sued KU under the name Jane Doe 7 — reported to KU that the same football player had raped her).

Tackett's new filing says KU knew that rowing coach Rob Catloth systematically denied her opportunities to participate on the rowing team after she reported her rape, and that KU knew of Catloth's prior gender-based discrimination against female rowers, specifically inappropriately calling them “fat.” On Friday, Tackett filed amendments to her original complaint saying that:

• KU officials had actual knowledge that, prior to October 2015, KU medical staff had attempted to implement a policy requiring Coach Catloth to refer female rowing teams members to a nutritionist if he viewed their weight as a performance issue, instead of calling them “fat.”

• KU officials had actual knowledge that Coach Catloth was not abiding by the policy.

• KU officials, including Debbie Van Saun, the administrator who was supposed to have the duty to monitor Title IX compliance and gender equity, chose not to make Coach Catloth comply with the policy.

KU has moved to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that university isn’t liable unless it’s aware of ongoing peer-on-peer sexual harassment and remains “deliberately indifferent” to it. KU investigated and ultimately expelled the football player.

In addition to the amendments Tackett filed Friday, she also responded to KU’s motion to dismiss. Tackett, who withdrew from KU early in the spring 2016 semester before the football player was expelled, says the harassment she experienced was “severe and offensive” enough to deprive her of her educational opportunity.

“This is not a quibble with the punishment KU ultimately agreed to dole out to this KU football player (after permitting him to finish out the football season); it is a critique of KU’s failure to implement specific available options to protect Daisy Tackett on campus and indeed the other women forced to bear the cost of KU’s deliberate indifference,” wrote her attorneys, Sarah Brown and Dan Curry of Brown and Curry LLC in Kansas City, Mo.

KU is expected to file another response later this summer, before the court rules on whether to dismiss or proceed with the lawsuit, according to federal court records.

Daisy Tackett

Daisy Tackett


• In K-State Title IX lawsuit news: The federal government, in “statement of interest” documents filed Friday, has come down hard against K-State’s argument that it’s not responsible for investigating student-on-student rape at off-campus fraternity houses. (Two women have sued K-State, both saying they were raped at fraternities but that K-State refused to investigate their reports.)

The New York Times has a full story here. I read the filing in the Weckhorst case, and it’s quite clear that the authors — including U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division attorneys and U.S. Department of Education attorneys — think K-State was in the wrong by claiming the fraternity houses are outside its jurisdiction for sexual violence investigations. They spend nearly 40 pages explaining why.


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

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One made national news, another sued — how many other KU faculty lose their appointments each year?

You don’t normally hear much about the junior faculty members who don’t get tenure and, basically, subsequently disappear from Kansas University after just a couple years on the Hill.

This semester was different.

Two assistant professors didn't get reappointed and made the news: Andrea Quenette in communication studies, because her non-reappointment came after she’d been all over national media (following the Journal-World’s reports, of course) for saying the N-word during a class discussion, and Catherine Joritz in film and media studies, because she filed a lawsuit against KU over her non-reappointment.

That made me wonder how many faculty members this happens to each year. Were they the only ones? Are there dozens each year, or more? I filed a records request to find out, asking KU for lists from the past three years. (Details about the reviews would not be available because they’re personnel issues, but under KU’s policy on promotion and tenure, the chancellor’s final decision on these matters is public.)

I learned that Quenette and Joritz were not the only faculty to be notified of non-reappointment this year, but they were among just a handful. Four total faculty were notified this spring that they would not be reappointed, according to the list I got back from KU. In spring 2015, there were three. In spring 2014, there were four. (I did check Douglas County court records, incidentally, and Joritz is the only one to have sued KU.)

Faculty typically undergo a progress toward tenure review during their third year at KU, according to KU’s policy on promotion and tenure. On average 49 faculty per year, for the past three years, went through such reviews, according to university spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson.

For those that aren’t let go through non-reappointment, there are two other possible outcomes of progress toward tenure reviews, Barcomb-Peterson said. Faculty either continue their tenure-track appointment or are scheduled for a probationary review in the next year.

Non-reappointed faculty don’t lose their jobs immediately. Depending how long they’ve worked at the university, they’ll continue being employed from three months to more than a year after they’ve been notified of non-reappointment, according to KU's policy. Quenette, for example, will continue to be employed by KU through the 2016-17 school year, although when I talked to her for the last story we did, she was still unsure what duties she’d be assigned for spring 2017.

A few more related bits from KU’s policy:

Ultimately, pursuant to Kansas Board of Regents policy, the probationary period for tenure track faculty may not exceed seven years. The sixth year is their “mandatory review year,” so if a faculty member does not receive tenure the seventh year becomes his or her last. If a faculty member is denied tenure during the mandatory review year, that constitutes a decision of non-reappointment.

Some Kansas University students filed a discrimination complaint with KU against assistant professor Andrea M. Quenette, who they accused of using racist language, in November 2015.

Some Kansas University students filed a discrimination complaint with KU against assistant professor Andrea M. Quenette, who they accused of using racist language, in November 2015. by Mike Yoder

• Non-reappointed prof in NYT: Speaking of Andrea Quenette being in national news, just this week she made another prominent appearance. Quenette is in the lead of a New York Times article posted online Wednesday with the headline “Studies in the First Amendment, Playing Out on Campus.”

The story begins: “Ask Andrea M. Quenette if she thinks that colleges and universities are doing a good job refereeing the debate over free speech, and she’ll respond with an emphatic ‘no.’”

The article goes on to discuss the background of Quenette’s case, results of polls asking students about “trigger warnings” and their support of free speech on campus, and free speech disputes at several other universities.


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage at KUToday.com. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

Reply 3 comments from Jennifer Forth Clara Westphal Scott Quenette

A broken window already at the brand new DeBruce Center — a more scientific explanation of what happened

My Tuesday post about the broken glass pane at Kansas University’s new DeBruce Center being attributed to shifting seems to have caused some alarm. KU Memorial Union and construction people felt like a more scientific explanation was needed.

Here goes.

The building isn’t sinking and falling down (which certainly would be alarming), but rather the breakage probably resulted from expansions and contractions on a much more minute level. Lisa Kring, KU Memorial Unions director of building services, said a flaw in the glass is the likely culprit.

In the glass world this kind of failure is referred to as “spontaneous glass breakage,” though technically there is a cause.

A shattered glass pane on the Naismith Drive side of Kansas University's DeBruce Center is pictured Monday, June 20, 2016.

A shattered glass pane on the Naismith Drive side of Kansas University's DeBruce Center is pictured Monday, June 20, 2016. by Sara Shepherd

According to a couple articles that I read (here's one, another and another), such shattering for no apparent reason can stem from a tiny (smaller than a tenth of a millimeter) flaw in the glass called a nickel sulfide inclusion. The impurity can weaken the glass enough to make it susceptible to even slight pressures that wouldn’t affect a pane of glass without such an imperfection.

Bob Rombach of KU Design and Construction Management, the special project manager for DeBruce, said such pressures could include expansion or contraction due to heat, or even one of the bolts holding the pane in place being a little bit too tight. (I think it’s fair to assume that building shifting, should it occur, also would put a flawed glass pane over the edge.)

“The reason why it failed is a little bit of a mystery,” Rombach said. “Every once in a while one of them will fail. It’s covered under warranty, and it gets replaced.”

Rombach said the panel broke about a week ago and that it was removed Wednesday morning. Each panel is double-paned, so there’s still one pane of intact glass in the space. Since each panel is custom made, it will take nine weeks or more to get a new one shipped and put in. Rombach said they followed the same process for the other panel that shattered, during the building’s construction.

A shattered glass pane on the Naismith Drive side of Kansas University's DeBruce Center is pictured Monday, June 20, 2016.

A shattered glass pane on the Naismith Drive side of Kansas University's DeBruce Center is pictured Monday, June 20, 2016. by Sara Shepherd

As for other buildings on campus with the same type of glass, Rombach said he was unaware of any. While sketches for the new Central District student union and integrated science buildings show buildings with large sections of glass, Rombach said it’s highly unlikely they’ll use the same fancy glass, from a company called Novum, and “structural glazing” installation system as the DeBruce Center — which makes it look like a glass box instead of just a building with big glass windows.

“This was a donor building,” Rombach said. “The donor wanted a very special Kauffman Center (for the Performing Arts), museum-level of construction,” he said. “It’s high-end stuff.”

The $21.7 million DeBruce Center, all donor-funded, opened in April at 1647 Naismith Drive, connected to Allen Fieldhouse. The building houses James Naismith’s original rules of “Basket Ball.”

I did call J.E. Dunn Construction Co., which built the Kauffman Center, to ask if they'd had breakage problems with the all-glass portion of the building. A company spokeswoman said a small percentage of glass failure due to nickel sulfide inclusion is expected, but that the Kauffman Center has had only a couple panels break since construction was completed in 2011.

Hopefully DeBruce didn't end up with a bad batch of glass or something. Time will tell. Let me know if you see any more broken windows.


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage at KUToday.com. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

Reply 1 comment from Michael Kort

A broken window already at the brand new DeBruce Center — what happened?

UPDATE: KU construction officials say "spontaneous glass breakage" is actually to blame. Click here to read more.


When a building is entirely made of sleek glass panels, it’s pretty obvious when one of them is not like the others. So the large shattered panel on probably the most prominent wall of Kansas University’s DeBruce Center, indeed, sticks out like a sore thumb.

I heard from a couple friends who visited DeBruce with family over Father's Day weekend, spotted the broken window and wondered what happened.

I worked in downtown Kansas City, Mo., when The Kansas City Star’s new all-glass press plant opened, as well as the glass bowl that is the Sprint Center. Both have had multiple windows suspected of being shot out by vandals who apparently couldn’t resist temptation.

Fortunately (I think most would agree, at least from a public safety standpoint) that’s not what happened to the DeBruce Center.

A shattered glass pane on the Naismith Drive side of Kansas University's DeBruce Center is pictured Monday, June 20, 2016. The building settling caused the pane to break, and it should be replaced in a few weeks, according to the center director.

A shattered glass pane on the Naismith Drive side of Kansas University's DeBruce Center is pictured Monday, June 20, 2016. The building settling caused the pane to break, and it should be replaced in a few weeks, according to the center director. by Sara Shepherd

“It’s not vandalism, it’s not anything hitting it, it’s the building shifting and settling,” DeBruce Center director Curtis Marsh said.

While “frustrating,” he said, this is something builders indicated was a possibility, although not an expected one. Joints between the large glass panels — Marsh and I are guesstimating each panel is about 12 feet tall and 5 or 6 feet wide — are made to withstand a fair amount of shifting, he said, but apparently there was enough to push this panel beyond its limits.

Marsh said the same thing has happened once before, before the building opened.

As part of the contract with the builder, crews should be out to replace the pane in the next few weeks, Marsh said. In the meantime, there are orange cones and safety tape to keep people from walking directly below it. Marsh said there’s a safety glass-like coating designed to keep the panes together but that the cones are there as an extra precautionary measure.

A shattered glass pane on the Naismith Drive side of Kansas University's DeBruce Center is pictured Monday, June 20, 2016. The building settling caused the pane to break, and it should be replaced in a few weeks, according to the center director.

A shattered glass pane on the Naismith Drive side of Kansas University's DeBruce Center is pictured Monday, June 20, 2016. The building settling caused the pane to break, and it should be replaced in a few weeks, according to the center director. by Sara Shepherd

The $21.7 million DeBruce Center, all donor-funded, opened in April at 1647 Naismith Drive, connected to Allen Fieldhouse. The building houses James Naismith’s original rules of “Basket Ball.”


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage at KUToday.com. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

Reply 1 comment from Kristine Bailey

Here’s what KU’s new Central District student union and science building will look like

With this post, I think I now will have shared with you at some point or another images of all the main new buildings that are up or will go up in Kansas University’s Central District, and around the perimeter of it.

The latest images, which I requested from KU Memorial Unions, are of the new Central District student union and next-door integrated science building. They will be constructed just west of where the Burge Union stood; the 280,000-square-foot science building will be on Irving Hill Road, with the 30,000-square-foot union between it and Anschutz Sports Pavilion. They’re slated for completion in summer 2018, in time to open for fall 2018 classes.

One observation about the look of the Central District: A lot of new buildings going up at once it is, architectural variety it isn’t.

Not that I actually expected any stone buildings with grotesques, owls and relief sculpture — à la Dyche, Spooner and Twente halls in KU’s historic district along Jayhawk Boulevard. (I wonder how much it would cost to duplicate a building like Dyche these days, assuming you could even find capable stone carvers? Hey, we old building nerds can always daydream about them making a comeback.)

But while the new buildings may not feature the artistry and variety of the buildings up on the Hill, the Central District’s modern, boxy and glass-heavy style does offer a major benefit those older ones do not: lots of natural light and open spaces. The new union and science building will follow suit.

This rendering shows what Kansas University's new Central District student union (at left) and integrated science building are planned to look like. Both buildings, located on Irving Hill Road just west of where the recently razed Burge Union stood, are expected to open in time for fall 2018 classes.

This rendering shows what Kansas University's new Central District student union (at left) and integrated science building are planned to look like. Both buildings, located on Irving Hill Road just west of where the recently razed Burge Union stood, are expected to open in time for fall 2018 classes.

An underground path will connect the science building and the union, KU Memorial Unions director David Mucci said. Above ground, the Jayhawk Trail will pass through a green space between the two buildings. Glass-walled buildings are hoped to encourage science building students, teachers and conference-goers or other visitors to come and go freely.

“We expect people to be moving across that corridor,” Mucci said. “The idea is to make them inviting and open to each other.”

This rendering shows how the interior new Central District student union, being constructed to replace Burge Union, may appear.

This rendering shows how the interior new Central District student union, being constructed to replace Burge Union, may appear.

This rendering shows how the interior new Central District student union, being constructed to replace Burge Union, may appear.

This rendering shows how the interior new Central District student union, being constructed to replace Burge Union, may appear.

Central District plans also call for a nearby parking garage. Mucci said that will go up just southwest of the union, and a covered walkway will lead from the garage into the union.

The 1979 Burge Union was razed in late spring. In addition to a ballroom and other meeting rooms, plans call for the new Central District union to house Legal Services for Students, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center, the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity, a Reflection Room for prayer and meditation, a coffee shop, convenience store and lounge space.

The Burge Union, shown on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, is slated to be razed and rebuilt and part of Kansas University's Central District redevelopment plans.

The Burge Union, shown on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, is slated to be razed and rebuilt and part of Kansas University's Central District redevelopment plans. by Nick Krug

In case you’ve missed past stories, here’s a roundup of other new or coming-soon buildings in and around the Central District. Click them to read more and see pictures.

Central District residence hall and apartment complex

Earth, Energy and Environment Center (Lots more images are on KU's website, here)

Capitol Federal Hall

DeBruce Center

McCarthy Hall (looks-wise, this stone apartment building is an exception)

LEEP2

• Oswald and Self residence halls


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage at KUToday.com. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

Reply 18 comments from Mike Green Kevin Kelly Clara Westphal JM Andy David Holroyd Ralph Gage Mn Lindeman Bob Hiller William Pilgrim Tracy Bedell and 1 others

Engineering professor, paleobotanist and piano instructor who recently died taught decades at KU

The Kansas University community recently lost faculty members in engineering, paleobotany and piano who had taught at the university for decades. The three teachers died in April and May.


Nancy Kinnersley, associate professor in the department of electrical engineering and computer science, died May 18 in Kansas City, Kan., at age 71, according to her Journal-World obituary. Services had not been planned.

Kinnersley, who joined the KU faculty in 1989, researched design and analysis of algorithms, graph theory and graph algorithms, and discrete mathematics, according to KU. She was KU Faculty Senate President for the 2013-14 school year.

“Nancy Kinnersley was an outstanding educator, and her service to the electrical engineering and computer science department was exemplary,” Michael Branicky, dean of the School of Engineering, said in a news release from KU. “Through her close association with Engineering Diversity and Women’s Programs as co-adviser to the Society of Women Engineers, she helped provide guidance and support to countless female engineering students.”


Tom Taylor died April 28 at home in Lawrence, at age 78, according to his obituary. A memorial celebration is planned for 3 p.m. June 11 at the KU Natural History Museum.

Taylor, who joined the KU faculty in 1995, was the Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, and a curator of paleobotany for the Biodiversity Institute and the KU Natural History Museum, according to KU. He is survived by his wife, Edith Taylor, KU professor emerita of ecology and evolutionary biology.

Biodiversity Institute director Leonard Krishtalka said, in a news release from KU, that Tom Taylor, along with his wife, brought “world-class” paleobotany to KU, establishing the university as the global center for research and collections on the evolution of plants and fungi in Antarctica, where he made numerous expeditions. “To quote Isaac Newton, all current and future students of paleobotany and the evolution of plants on Earth will stand on the shoulders of Tom Taylor."


Alice Downs died April 30 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital at age 79, according to her obituary. Services were held in May. She is survived by her husband, Cal Downs, KU professor emeritus of communication studies.

Downs was a KU faculty member for 29 years, teaching piano, according to the obituary. She started playing at age 3, and over the next 70 years performed all over the United States and numerous foreign countries, giving her final concert at KU in 2003. She was passionate about teaching, active in multiple community music organizations and also deeply spiritual.

“Her faith and grace were the resources she drew on to enjoy 10 years of life following paralysis from a stroke which required 24-hour care," her obituary said. "She lived her life with grace and charm and, despite the stroke, she lived the abundant life going to hear the Kansas City Symphony and celebrating good times with family and friends.”


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage at KUToday.com. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

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KU faculty: Who’s retiring, who got tenure and who’ll be out of the office next year

This time of year, thousands of Kansas University students graduate and enter a new phase of life: the working world. At the same time, there’s a slice of the KU community clocking out of the working world for good — for some after no less than half a century at the university.

KU recently recognized retiring faculty and academic staff members. I’m listing the long-timers here — those who worked at KU 45 years or more, according to the university — but there are many other names on the list many of you KU readers will recognize. To see the entire list of recently recognized retirees, click here for KU’s full press release.

• Gary Grunewald, medicinal chemistry, 50 years

• Allan Hanson, anthropology, 50 years

• Martin Dickinson, law, 48 years

• Don Marquis, philosophy, 48 years

• Zamir Bavel, information processing studies, 47 years

• John Bricke, philosophy, 47 years

• Harold Godwin, pharmacy practice, 47 years

• James Carothers, English, 46 years (See related story here: "Yoknapatawpha, baseball and ‘a good life’: Retiring English professor reflects on 46 years at KU")

• Philip McKnight, curriculum and teaching, humanities and Western civilization, 45 years

Kansas University English professor Jim Carothers, an expert on Faulkner and Hemingway, reflects on his 46-year teaching career at the university after retiring at the end of the most recent semester.

Kansas University English professor Jim Carothers, an expert on Faulkner and Hemingway, reflects on his 46-year teaching career at the university after retiring at the end of the most recent semester. by Richard Gwin

The university also recognized recently retired unclassified professional staff and university support staff. Here are staffers who worked at KU 40 or more years, according to the university. To see the full list of staff retirees, click here.

• Peggy B. Palmer, Campus Administration & Operations SSC, 44 years

• Wesley R. Hubert, Information Technology, 43 years

• Joy E. Sodders, Libraries-General, 43 years

• Ralph Virgil Oliver, Public Safety Office, 42 years

• Bayliss C. Harsh, Libraries-General, 41 years

• Robert H. Marvin, Libraries-General, 40 years

• William J. Pesek, Jr., Information Technology, 40 years

• Tenure time: Also around this time, the chancellor announces promotions and tenure appointments for the upcoming year. This year, 70 faculty members were promoted or tenured at the KU Lawrence and Edwards campuses, and 66 at KU Medical Center campuses, according to KU. To see the full list, click here.

• On sabbatical: KU also recently announced the names of 55 KU faculty members who will be on sabbatical this fall, spring 2017 or the entire academic year. If you don’t see your favorite professor around for a while next year, check this list — he or she might be on sabbatical.

Among those who will be away this fall is Hall Center for the Humanities director Victor Bailey, who plans to work on a book he began researching in 1999 on criminal justice policy in England during the 20th century, according to a recent Hall Center update. Associate director Sally Utech will be acting director of the Hall Center during Bailey’s leave.


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage at KUToday.com. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

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