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spring 2016



Dean Speak: Honored to become a Jayhawk


Campus Briefs: News from around the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, including new programs, research highlights, faculty and student honors, and new faculty


Cover Story: 150 Years and Counting: College of Liberal Arts & Sciences plays major part in KU’s past, present and future


Alumni & Friends Distinguished Alumni forge careers in civic service, philanthropy and tech // 21 Alumni profiles and news: A female leader in STEM; Gazing into the universe; Making faces; College of Liberal Arts & Sciences grads recognized by KU Alumni Association// 22 Giving Back: Generosity helps students, university thrive // 25


Oread Encore Family tree firmly rooted on Mount Oread

KU Collegian is published for alumni and friends of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences by students and graduates of the University of Kansas. CONTACT: Strong Hall 1450 Jayhawk Boulevard Room 200 Lawrence, KS 66045-7535 /////////////////////////////////// P: 785.864.3661 F: 785.864.5331 ///////////////////////////////////

EDITOR: Kristi Henderson, ’03

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Christi Delaroy, ’12

DESIGN: Susan Geiger, ‘98

CONTRIBUTORS: Heather Anderson, ’08, KU Endowment, KU Marketing Communications, KU News Service, KU Office of Public Affairs, University Archives



Carl Lejuez is the 14th dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. He began his tenure on Feb. 1.

Help me learn more about how we can serve alumni interests. Take our College of Liberal Arts & Sciences alumni survey: 2016AlumniSurvey

Honored to become a Jayhawk It is with immense pleasure that I’ve begun my role as dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at KU. In my short time at KU I’ve learned quite a bit about Jayhawks. We are inventive, we solve tough problems, and we make our community and the world around us a better place. That’s what KU and the College are about. When I think about what a thriving College of Liberal Arts & Sciences looks like, I believe it’s based on our efforts to invest in our priorities. My key priorities in my first year are to enhance student recruitment throughout the entire state and across the nation; to help more students graduate with strong career possibilities by increasing hands-on experiences and targeted mentorship from the start of the College experience; and to increase seed funding for cutting-edge student and faculty research that can enhance our impact in the state and on the international stage. These aspirations are only possible if we are fostering an environment that is welcoming, supportive and inclusive to all. The College bears great responsibility in the overall excellence of KU. As the largest academic unit, we educate the most students and hire the most faculty. What we do sets a model for others to follow and we will work diligently to create lasting changes that will benefit us all. We will be very active in this domain and will report back about the ways we will be taking a lead nationally on making KU a home for everyone on campus. Already in my first few months, I’ve learned so much about what makes our College and university special. We serve our state as an incubator for future leaders and as a steward of Kansas’ rich history, culture and geography. We encourage students to apply their skills early in their careers alongside renowned researchers and through internship opportunities from local non-profits to the White House. And we teach a curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences that teaches students to be creative, critical thinkers ready to make change when they graduate. I am honored to carry on the tradition that has been built through generations and lead the College into a new era of excellence. Please feel free to reach out and stay in touch with me at or my personal cell 240-535-0467. Rock Chalk!

Carl Lejuez Dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences



A summer



Every summer, annual “dog days” cicadas make an appearance in the area, but last summer brought cicadas to Lawrence by the tens of thousands. These cicadas are periodical, living underground for 17 years before popping above ground for a brief period. “Our next opportunity to see and study (the periodical cicadas) will not come until 2032,” said Bob Hagen, assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and environmental studies. “That means that the emergence of the cicadas provides an opportunity for original research by undergraduates, as well as public outreach.” This unique opportunity led Hagen to create the cross-listed course: Biology of Cicadas (BIOL 418/EVRN 420). Students studied cicada biology and anatomy and honed research skills in a fast-paced, short course that lasted just a few weeks while the cicadas were above ground and active. “I think what makes this course unique is the fact that the subjects, in a way, are actually what teach the students, rather than just sitting in a classroom and listening to a professor give a lecture,” said Hanna Rankin, a student in the course and senior majoring in environmental studies. A major component of the course also included community education and outreach. The class participated in three events teaching the Lawrence community about these unique creatures. “The emergence of periodical cicadas always attracts public attention and provides a great opportunity to educate people about insects,” Hagen said. “One of the truths about education is that you learn best when you share your knowledge with others.” Hagen said his role in these events was to help students prepare the materials but the students were in charge of handling all the speaking and demonstration. The class spoke during Mini College, a program led by the College; an evening event in partnership with Free State brewing and Hank’s Charcuterie; and a general public show-and-tell event at the KU Field Station.

Students in the Biology of Cicadas course had a rare opportunity for hands-on learning.



The Art & Design Building has been named Chalmers Hall, recognizing Chancellor E. Laurence Chalmers (above), who led KU from 1969 to 1972. Now, all former chancellors have a building in their honor.

Hawley, Stern, van Loben Sels and former Provost Jeff Vitter.

KU presents first astronaut scholarships Two seniors are the first students at KU to be named award recipients from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF). The recognition comes with a $10,000 scholarship for each recipient: Jennifer Stern, majoring in ecology & evolutionary biology, and Jessica van Loben Sels, majoring in microbiology. The six surviving members of the Mercury 7 mission founded the ASF to encourage student pursuits of scientific endeavors and keep the U.S. leading technology. Admission into the scholarship program is highly competitive, and only the nation’s top research universities are chosen to participate. Stern and van Loben Sels were recognized during a public lecture celebrating 25 years of the Hubble Space Telescope, delivered by Steve Hawley, professor of physics & astronomy and former astronaut.


Team uncovers gate to biblical city

Above: A piece of a Philistine juglet uncovered during excavation Below: Junior Darra Stuart digs at the Safi site as part of her undergraduate research project


Sitting next to Lindley Hall, the two buildings of the Earth, Energy & Environment Center (EEEC)—Ritchie Hall and Slawson Hall—will bring together faculty, students and researchers from geology and engineering to promote the kind of crossdisciplinary research that has the ability to shape our energy- and water- hungry future. Follow the construction via livestream at

In July, a professor and team of students took part in an archaeological excavation that discovered the entrance gate and fortification wall to the ancient biblical city of Gath. Eric Welch, a visiting assistant professor of Jewish studies, and three KU students were part of a team working on the Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath. Known today by its Arabic name, Tell es-Safi, Gath, which Students, faculty and researchers is in central Israel, was first settled in the Early work in excavation area D, which is immediately inside the newly Bronze Age in about 3500 B.C. From the 12th discovered city gate. through ninth centuries B.C., it was occupied by Philistines and is referenced in the Bible as the home to the giant Goliath and later to where David fled to escape King Saul. “One of the reasons we are so excited, gates are places of administration,” Welch said. “If you look in the Bible, important things happen at city gates. That is where transactions and judgments are made. It is a major portal of the city’s comings and goings. So it is not surprising to find market, religious and industrial activity there.” Little is known about the Philistines, who were often cast as villains in the Old Testament. The uncovering of the gate and the potential to find written inscriptions on or near it could provide more clues to the Philistines’ language, religion and origin.

CLAS celebrates 16-year-old graduate 2015 was a big year for Alina Zheng; in the same year that she celebrated her sweet 16, she also earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from KU. Alina said she was able to accelerate through education from a young age, and with Advanced Placement credits and careful planning she was able to graduate from KU in just two and half years. She was honored at the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences undergraduate recognition ceremony on Dec. 13 and was greeted on stage by her father Charlie Zheng, KU professor of aerospace engineering. “The amazing thing about KU is that taking classes here wasn’t any different for me than it was for every other student. The students, peers, and professors are all very supportive in the learning experience and I was able to talk to everyone easily and, frankly, normally,” Zheng said.

16-year-old graduate Alina Zheng hugs her father, professor of aerospace engineering, during the December graduation ceremony



Field Station adds bee hotel Diminishing honeybee populations have been getting a lot of attention. But populations of wild bees, which, unlike honeybees, are largely solitary, also are declining. Factors such as habitat loss and fragmentation may adversely affect their ability to find food sources and nesting sites. In response, “bee hotels” are springing up all over North America and Europe— including one installed at the KU Field Station, just north of Lawrence. “I think it’s great,” said Daphne Mayes, a KU doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology who provided outreach education about wild bees to the group that provided the Field Station’s bee hotel. “These structures help draw public attention to the importance of native bees and our reliance on them as pollinators.” Bee hotels, which range from small boxes with a few drilled holes to cleanlined architect-designed pieces to elaborate works of art, provide nesting sites for many types of bees. Their names—leaf cutter bees, carder bees, mason bees, resin bees— Doctoral student Daphne Mayes provided outreach education for refer to the types of materials they use to construction of the bee hotel. She build nests, which are made up of series of attended the dedication of the individual brood cells. structure last spring with her family, including her young son.

Students part of national effort fostering youth political engagement Four students traveled to Harvard University this fall to participate in an intensive training led by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP). The seminar featured political practitioners and expert organizers on voter registration and campus political engagement. KU is a member of IOP’s National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement, a consortium of 27 colleges and universities around the country aiming to engage and encourage the next generation to improve communities through bipartisan politics and public service. “The IOP is honored to host students from across the country who will create the future of politics by driving political and civic engagement,” said Harvard IOP Director Maggie Williams. Student participants included Will Admussen, economics major, Claire Meczkowski, political science major, Christina Ostmeyer, journalism major and global & international studies minor, and Eric Pahls, journalism major and communication studies minor. They focused on voter registration outreach techniques as well as received grassroots organizing training and learned to use technology for political engagement.


Physics student earns prestigious fellowship Human senses perceive only a tiny fraction of what makes up our universe. “If you look up on a dark night—you see a lot of stars and some planets—all of that, including the billions of other stars and galaxies that are too far away to be seen with the naked eye, only forms about 4 percent of our entire universe,” said Gopolang Mohlabeng, a graduate student in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. “The rest of the universe is composed of ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy,’” he said. Mohlabeng came to KU from South Africa in 2011 and currently works on dark matter research, which he calls “one of the greatest mysteries in current physics research.” Now, that hard work has earned Mohlabeng a yearlong Fermilab Graduate Student Fellowship in Theoretical Physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Looking for a real-life love story Forget tall, dark and handsome—for some women, being a bookworm is attractive. New research shows that compared to women abroad, book club memberships play a key role in romantic relationships for American women. “American women utilized their status as readers and book club members to increase their popularity in the dating field and explained that they would never date or marry a non-reader,” said Christy Craig, doctoral candidate in sociology, who compared book clubs in the U.S. and Ireland. “Irish women did not find this as relevant, and many told me they joined book clubs because their significant others did not spend much time reading.”





is believing

Studying the impact of police policies Police reform has been a hot topic over the past year. In a new study, Shannon Portillo, associate professor in the School of Public Affairs & Administration, found stop-and-frisk polices and investigatory police stops unfairly target racial minorities and can dramatically influence people’s perception of police officers. Portillo suggests police departments should consider working more closely with local communities and use these tactics only as a last resort. “As we consider police reform, we should not focus exclusively on police accountability, but also look broadly,” Portillo said. “Police should not see their central focus as punitive, but rather as promoting public safety and the public good. They should be part of local government efforts to improve communities.”

A professor’s discovery has given voice to a legend. Michael Zogry, associate professor of religious studies, uncovered what is believed to be the only known audio recording of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball. Zogry found references to a brief radio interview with Naismith while researching his book in progress, “Religion and Basketball: Naismith’s Game.” Once Zogry, who also directs KU’s Indigenous Studies Program, established the date the interview aired, he began searching for an existing copy of the interview. The process to locate, access, then gain necessary usage permissions for and a copy of the audio recording took several months. Zogry’s graduate research assistant Katie Hobson, a KU student completing her master’s degree in religious studies, aided in the search. They received the audio file in November. The interview of Naismith was on the radio program “We the People,” hosted by Gabriel Heatter in New York, on Jan. 31, 1939. In the roughly threeminute clip, Naismith discusses setting up the first basketball game with two peach baskets in a gymnasium at the International YMCA Training School (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts, in December 1891. Naismith’s description of the roughhousing among 18 players in the first game sheds new light on the creative process that led him to draft the 13 original rules of the game, said Zogry and Naismith’s grandson, Jim Naismith, who first heard his grandfather’s voice once Zogry obtained the audio in November. “The recording suggests the gym was a laboratory for developing the game and establishing the rules,” Zogry said. “There’s also value in just hearing his voice. In this day and age of media saturation, to find something like this is surprising. No one’s heard his voice in over 75 years. When we hear him talking, we get a sense of his demeanor and his self-effacing attitude.” The recording is located in the archives of the Library of Congress, and the university has received permission to include the recording in KU’s archives at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library and to make it available to the public via a website link. The New York Times and several other international media outlets featured Zogry’s discovery in December. UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES

Victor Gonzalez, director of anatomy, asked students in Fundamentals of Human Anatomy (BIOL 240) to create an anatomyrelated project through their choice of medium—an art piece, paper or anything they could dream up. Impressed with the work, he hosted “ARTnatomy,” an event showcasing submissions in Haworth Hall.






What started as a high school project turned into five years of work and a self-published novel that’s already in its second printing. Crystal Bradshaw, sophomore majoring in creative writing, discovered through research for an assignment on family history that her great-great-great-great grandmother was part of the exoduster movement that brought former slaves to the Midwest. The book, “Eliza: A Generational Journey,” begins with Eliza’s life as a slave in Kentucky and continues through her journey of emancipation and her life in Jetmore, Kansas, where the Bradshaw family has now lived for 134 years. “Eliza, my 4-times great grandmother and protagonist of the novel, is even buried in the Jetmore cemetery. When I discovered this, I rushed my family over to the cemetery and we all stood around her grave in amazement. It was a really emotional and powerful moment for us. We had finally found our roots. They had been at our own feet the whole time,” Bradshaw said. The book has been highly praised and since its first hardcopy publication in December, more than 200 copies have been sold. An excerpt of the novel has been printed in a literary journal called the Kentucky Monthly and an e-book version is available on Amazon. “My most favorite memory would be my first public reading of the novel when it was still a manuscript. After I had finished reading and the room was dead quiet, I could feel the audience’s eyes on me. I hadn’t realized how strong the passage was until that particular moment, the words—my own words—echoing in my ears, my throat choked with emotion,” said Bradshaw. What’s next for Bradshaw? She plans to write more books but in the near future she says she’s most excited to, “walk through the campanile and down the Hill!”

“We had finally found our roots. They had been at our own feet the whole time.” —Crystal Bradshaw


This year, visual art professor Matthew Burke introduced the course, “Social and Sustainable Art Practices,” formed around projects reflecting the two biggest industries shaping the planet—food and housing. Students created a freestanding timber framed artwork and hand-woven beehives or “sun hives.”

Class documents destruction of ancient Syrian sites The Syrian civil war has created or fueled a myriad of crises including the destruction of ancient historic sites and the rise of the Islamic State group in the Middle East. Most media coverage of the destruction has focused on two 2,000-year-old temples at Palmyra. However, students in CLSX 151 Introduction to Classical Archaeology have shed light on damage to other culturally significant sites. Students used Google Earth satellite images to track conditions of four sites in northern Syria. They supplemented visual evidence they collected with whatever they could find, including news accounts, which are somewhat scarce. “For future archaeologists, I think this satellite imagery is going to be critical to try to reconstruct what happened in this terrible period in Syria’s history,” said Phil Stinson, associate professor of classics. One of the main pieces of information students gathered was that most damage is not directly Islamic State militants destroying sites but likely individuals facing hardships due to the war.


Project explores written works of Kansas athletes

Most people know Wilt Chamberlain as a basketball giant who changed the game both at KU and for several NBA franchises. Many also may know Chamberlain’s place in civil rights history in Lawrence as he faced segregation during his college years. However, fewer people are familiar with Chamberlain the author. The basketball hall of famer wrote two books, including his 1991 work “A View from Above,” in which he discusses race relations and other issues he faced during his basketball career. KU’s Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW) displayed his book and works of other Kansas sports figures as part of the Black Literary Suite in the KU Libraries. “We’re putting things together. Athletes aren’t generally recognized for their writing. You’ve got those stereotypes, and we want to push against any form of stereotype,” said Maryemma Graham, a KU distinguished professor of English and HBW founder and director. “Our focus is always on writing. These athletes have published their stories, and they are involved in helping sports to become highly visible and important to our culture. We’re stepping outside the box here to look at the broader culture of sport, its connection to KU and to Kansas.”

College takes steps toward improving diversity, inclusion In November, Chancellor Gray-Little moderated a heated town hall on race, respect and free speech, which drew more than 1,000 students, faculty and staff. During the discussion, the student group Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk took the stage and announced a list of 15 demands. Concerns included the university’s low retention rates for students of color and a lack of multicultural training on campus. As KU’s largest academic unit, the College faces similar challenges. “The town hall showed us without question that acts of insensitivity and intolerance are present on our campus,” said Carl Lejuez, dean of the College. “We must take notice, reflect, plan, act, and most importantly, we must consistently assess our progress and hold ourselves accountable to ensure diversity and inclusion are firmly integrated into the culture of our College.” During the spring semester the College launched a faculty-student mentorship program aimed at increasing retention rates and support for undergraduate students and by July 1 plans to hire a new associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion. Additionally, Dean Lejuez has charged a working group to identify opportunities for the College to be a proactive agent of change. Recommendations of the working group will be shared transparently, addressed with swift action and supported with necessary resources.

Jewish studies major introduced A new major in Jewish studies will allow students to explore in-depth the beliefs, history, culture and influence of one of the world’s oldest religions and multi-ethnic religious communities. The major was established in part because of the popularity of KU’s Jewish studies minor, which was introduced in 2005. “The development of three major world religions— Christianity, Judaism and Islam—is very much intertwined,” said John Younger, academic director of the Jewish Studies Program. “The new Jewish studies major can be used to better understand nearly endless aspects of ancient and modern history, such as the current political climate in the Middle East or the influence of Jewish culture in American life.” KU is the only university in the state to offer a major or minor in Jewish studies. In addition to providing the analytical and communications skills that employers seek, the new major will prepare students for graduate school in various fields, depending on their choice of electives, or to go into careers in government, business, nonprofit agencies, community organizations, private schools and more. The Jewish studies major and minor can be readily paired with other KU majors and career paths, from pre-med to archaeology. The major will be offered through the Jewish Studies Program in the Center for Global & International Studies.



Foundation professors bring expertise in chemistry, physics The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences has continued to lead KU’s efforts to recruit leading faculty members to the state’s flagship university. Two new Foundation Distinguished Professors will join the faculty of the College next year. In all, the College is home to 9 of the 12 foundation professors named at KU with support from the state.

Student shows short film at Slamdance Festival

Steven A. Soper, a professor in the departments of chemistry and biomedical engineering at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC), is a leading international researcher in developing new technologies that have important applications for disease detection. A KU alumnus, Soper will return to KU’s Department of Chemistry and hold an appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering as well. Christophe Royon, previously research director at CEA-Saclay in France, is a world leader in forward and diffractive physics. Royon’s research helps advance many disciplines by providing a better understanding of subatomic particles and their role in matter throughout the universe. He joined KU as a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy.

Course explores vampire history, legends and depictions Vampires are elusive, transfixing and terrifying. Appearing in cultural traditions all across the globe, vampires have been mystifying since the 11th century and continue to be prominent in popular culture today. This spring, the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures offered the course “The Vampire in Literature, Film, and Television.” Pulling from 19th century Russian literature to “Twilight,” the class explores the origins of the vampire, depictions of the creature over the centuries and audiences’ continued fascination with the mythical figure. “We hope this will draw students to our department. And so far we have received a lot of interest,” said Ani Kokobobo, assistant professor of Slavic languages and literatures, who teaches the class. “We are envisioning this as a gateway course with broad appeal.” Along with examining Slavic folklore and the legends of Vlad II Dracul, Kokobobo’s class studies examples of the gothic vampire in Western and Eastern Europe, vampires in film and contemporary vampire works.


Held in Park City, Utah at the same time as the notable Sundance Film Festival, Slamdance is focused on emerging filmmakers and low-budget independent films. A short film directed by film & media studies student Savannah Rodgers was an official selection of Slamdance. Rodgers’ film, “Sketches,” is one of 14 films selected for the second edition of the Fearless Filmmaking: Art on Your Own Terms category sponsored by Digital Bolex. “It is so exciting and rewarding for the entire department to have professional-level films like Savannah’s receive recognition on an international level,” said Matt Jacobsen, associate professor of film & media studies and director of photography on the short film. “It’s an opportunity to show the world what kinds of projects are created here in Kansas, at KU.” Jacobson added he thinks some people will be surprised that a student from KU produced and directed a film with both the quality and subject matter of “Sketches.” Rodgers’ film follows two women who struggle with domesticity and their opposite personalities after falling deeply in love. Along with other students from film & media studies, the film features two actors from the Department of Theatre, Ashley Kennedy and Laurie Winkel.


First doctoral student in women’s studies graduates On the first day of the fall semester, Megan Lease made history. Lease defended her dissertation, “A Strong Woman of the Lord: Performing Gender at the Intersection of Sport and Evangelical Christianity,” making her the first student at KU to receive a PhD from the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. KU is one of only 14 programs in the United States that offer a PhD in Women’s Studies. “My dissertation examines how female Christian athletes negotiate various and sometimes competing gendered expectations as Christians, women, and athletes,” said Lease.


The Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute (KWLI), a program run through KU and the U.S. State Department, brings together women from around the world for a summer of leadership development and collaboration. KWLI held a reunion and development workshop in Rabat, Morocco in January with special guest and ambassador of Morocco, Dwight L. Bush Sr. Alumni of the program met up to continue conversations, become reenergized about making change in their communities and elevate women’s voices.

Students in the Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute spend a day volunteering at a local food bank.

New institute to focus on leadership Often the word “leader” conjures up images of an executive or boss. A new institute will help promote a different approach to leadership. The Institute for Leadership Studies practices the concept of leadership as a process rather than as a position of authority. The leadership studies minor has taught this approach, known as adaptive leadership, to hundreds of students over the past decade. The institute will continue to direct the leadership studies minor as well as develop more opportunities for leadership studies courses and programs. “The idea of adaptive leadership is to prepare students to make a difference from where they are with what they have. Our goal is to help others develop the courage and leadership skills to ignite positive change, whether in their work lives, communities or personal lives,” said Mary Banwart, associate professor of communication studies and director of the Institute for Leadership Studies. Initial programming enhancements in the institute include a new online certificate, Leadership Strategies and Applications, as well as mentorship and leadership programs and a research consortium. The institute will build on the success of existing programs, such as the Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute (KWLI), which is jointly funded by the U.S. State Department and KU Endowment Association. The KWLI joins together, at KU each summer, women from several countries and from across the state of Kansas to engage in leadership courses, develop leadership competencies and learn from cultural immersion.



College Research in Review


More than 100 years ago, KU herpetologist Edward Taylor discovered a rare amphibian species in the Philippines called the Malatgan River caecilian. However, this reclusive creature has pulled a disappearing act since the 1970s. Current professor of ecology & evolutionary biology Rafe Brown has been on the hunt for the species since 1994. On a recent trip back to the area, Brown and his team finally encountered the mysterious caecilian. For the past few decades, the Malatgan caecilian held a spot on “most-wanted” lists compiled by conservationists. Brown’s two-decadelong quest to find Taylor’s caecilian was fulfilled at last, completing a circle between the mysterious species and KU herpetologists that spans a century.

Edward Taylor’s world-class collecting career began at KU, on a 1909 summer trip by wagon to western Kansas.


THE REAL IMPACT OF YOUR COFFEE ADDICTION Your morning cup of joe impacts much more than just your sleepy state. Coffee consumption has increased dramatically worldwide in the past two decades, and heavy coffee-producing nations are feeling the economic and environmental consequences. “Historically, coffee has been exploited by the West in various ways because it’s consumed in rich countries


and grown in poor ones” said Alexander Myers, doctoral candidate in sociology. “Especially these peasant farmers who maybe have a small plot of land, they rely almost exclusively on coffee sales to sustain themselves.” Studying trade and globalization, Myers found that the shift to “technified” mass production in coffee to meet the growing demand has hurt farmers and their land. Without any diversity in crop production, farmers are at the mercy of market prices. In



Demand for coffee can create rift with poorer nations 2001, when commodities prices of coffee beans dropped significantly, to around 50 cents a pound, the economies of those countries were nearly wiped out. It has also become more expensive and environmentally taxing to grow new types of coffee beans. Some researchers estimated the average cup of coffee takes 140 liters of water to grow. Fortunately, the fair trade movement has helped somewhat to offset the economic and ecological changes especially for farmers in developing countries. “What we do matters. The choices that we make, the products that we buy have an impact on somebody,” Myers said.

Tallahatchie County courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi, where the Emmett Till murder trial took place.


APP TO TELL STORY OF MURDER CASE SIGNIFICANT TO DISCUSSIONS ON RACE In the 60 years since 14-year-old AfricanAmerican Emmett Till was beaten and shot to death in the Mississippi Delta, major facts in the case are still contested. Versions of the story disagree on where the murder site was, how many people were involved in beating and killing Till and in which county his body was found. Dave Tell, associate professor of communication studies, is working on a project that would use a mobile app to tell the many-sided story. Till’s death continues to be a reference point in America’s dialogue on race. In recent years, Till’s murder has been compared to the controversial deaths of other African-American youth such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. “He has become the marker for how the civil rights movement started,” Tell said. “Rosa Parks said she was thinking of Emmett Till when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus.” More than 100 sites tied to Till’s murder will be encompassed in the app. Locations include Tallahatchie County courthouse, where the murder trial took place, Mound Bayou, Mississippi, an all-black town where the black press devised their strategy of gathering information and the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Sumner, Mississippi. Simeon Wright, Emmett Till’s cousin, stands next to Dave Tell, associate professor of communication studies.





Most people are surprised to learn there were women guards in Nazi camps at all. About 3,500 women served across the camp system and were often perceived as treating prisoners even worse than the male guards. Shelly Cline, a May 2015 doctoral graduate in history, explored this perception in her research.

SS women camp guards are paraded for work in clearing the dead.

“They were adhering not to a predictable female code of behavior but rather to a male military code of behavior that governed camp,” Cline said. “They acted outside the gender norm.” Research into these women’s experience shows how they can be both participants in a system of brutality, while also being victims themselves. Some of the women volunteered for service, but many were drafted. Cline said it’s often a challenging balance to humanize these perpetrators while recognizing the brutality of their actions and their place in history. “They were ordinary individuals who found themselves in these extraordinary circumstances. At the same time, because they were women, their experience is not the same as the men. Theirs is not the universal experience,” Cline said. “The purpose is to understand genocide to try to prevent it in the future.”



SCIENTISTS REFINE HUNT FOR LIFE ON MARS THROUGH ROCK SAMPLES The search for life beyond Earth is one of the grandest endeavors in the history of humankind — a quest that could transform our understanding of our universe both scientifically and spiritually. With news that NASA has confirmed the presence of flowing saltwater on the surface of Mars, the hunt for life on the Red Planet has new momentum.

Petrographic thin section made from core sample.

“One of the many reasons this is exciting is that life as we currently know it requires water,” said Alison Olcott-Marshall, assistant professor of geology. “So the fact that it’s present at Mars means that the most basic and universal requirement for life was fulfilled.” Olcott-Marshall argues that probes to Mars should identify similar indicators used in her recent published analysis of Eocene rocks found in the Green River Formation in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. She found these Green River rocks have features that visually indicate the presence of life. The researchers examined cored samples of rock from 50 million years ago that included sections of “microbial mats.” The researchers said their results could be a powerful guide for sample selection on Mars.

In today’s world, the old adage “good fences make good neighbors” may be more like “good Facebook privacy settings make good neighbors,” two professors found. Germaine Halegoua, assistant professor of film & media studies and Bonnie Johnson, associate professor of urban planning, conducted a case study to see if social media could revive a struggling neighborhood association. The social media campaign didn’t go as planned and researchers worked to find out why. Study participants indicated they weren’t comfortable with neighbors seeing details of their private life, they also feared sites would exclude those who didn’t use social media and they questioned its need when face-to-face communication is the norm among neighbors.

“Participants tended to feel that once you are friends on Facebook, you open yourself up to neighbors knowing you in a different way than what you can regulate face-to-face or by closing your curtains or building a fence,” Halegoua said.



Even though military policies have changed, recommending further integration of women into combat forces, gendered practices, mindsets and assumptions are still barriers to equality. Two KU professors Alesha Doan, associate professor of political science and chair of the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Shannon Portillo, associate professor in the KU School of Public Affairs and Administration, were part of a Women’s Foundation research study called Project Diane, that was presented at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City. “We find a great deal of resistance to gender integration in the military, particularly in the elite Special Operations units,” Doan said. “While some of this is related to explicit policies regarding physical standards, many of the barriers are rooted in the traditional gender stereotypes that are often hidden and unexamined by military personnel in their everyday interactions with each other.”

“We find a great deal of resistance to gender integration in the military, particularly in the elite Special Operations units,” Doan said.

RESEARCH TRACES WWJD PHRASE TO TOPEKA When Christians began wearing bracelets with the acronym for “What would Jesus do?” in the 1990s, the phrase was a reminder to attempt to act in a way that personifies Jesus’ teachings. While most know the WWJD movement as a recent development, the wording has been around for more than 100 years as Charles M. Sheldon, a Topeka minister and evangelical Christian writer, used it in his 1897 novel, “In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?” “The idea of imitating Jesus and trying to be like Jesus is something that’s been around forever,” said Tim Miller, professor of religious studies and expert on Sheldon’s life. “What he did was create the phrase.” Miller recently finished an updated edition of his 1987 book, “Following in His Steps: A Biography of Charles M. Sheldon.” There is still widespread interest in Sheldon today, Miller said. He was a national leader in what was known as the Social Gospel movement that put social issues at the forefront of religious life. You could argue that his focus on civil rights and race relations paved the way for the Brown v. Board of Education lawsuit that originated in the Topeka school district and ended racial segregation in schools, Miller said.




Four F-15 Eagle pilots from the 3rd Wing walk to their respective jets at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.



Even with tuition prices on the rise and a competitive job market, earning a college degree will pay off in the long run. Researchers have found that, in their lifetime, male college grads earn $1.3 million more than their counterparts with a high school diploma and females earn $792,000 more (now we just have to work on that gender pay gap).

“This corroborates a college education still yields substantially more financial reward than it costs,” said ChangHwan Kim, associate professor of sociology. “Our results show higher growth rates in median earnings over the lifetime of college graduates relative to high school graduates, which suggests greater intragenerational mobility.”



CMS detector


‘LITTLEST’ QUARK-GLUON PLASMA REVEALED BY PHYSICISTS USING LARGE HADRON COLLIDER Researchers working with an international team at the Large Hadron Collider have produced quark-gluon plasma — a state of matter thought to have existed right at the birth of the universe — with fewer particles than previously thought possible. The material was discovered by colliding protons with lead nuclei at high energy inside the supercollider’s Compact Muon Solenoid detector. Physicists have dubbed the resulting plasma the “littlest liquid.” “Before the CMS experimental results, it had been thought the medium created in a proton on lead collisions would be too small to create a quarkgluon plasma,” said Quan Wang, a postdoctoral researcher in physics & astronomy working with the team at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Wang performed key analysis for a paper about the experiment recently published in APS Physics. The unexpected discovery was said by senior scientists associated with the CMS detector to shed new light on high-energy physics.


College welcomes new class of faculty At a fall reception, the College recognized faculty starting their careers at KU in the 2015 calendar year. The group includes 31 faculty, three of whom were hired as Foundation Distinguished Professors. The College also recruited faculty to two named professorships: the Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor in the Department of History and the Kansas Health Foundation Professor in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science. Cecile Accilien, Dept. of African & African-American Studies, associate professor, specializing in Haitian language and Caribbean studies; Victor Agadjanian, Dept. of Sociology, Foundation Distinguished Professor, specializing in social demography; Beth Bailey, Dept. of History, Foundation Distinguished Professor, specializing in military and societal history; Joseph Brennan, Dept. of Mathematics, assistant specialist (teaching specialist), specializing in calculus; Abel Chikanda, Dept. of Geography and Dept. of African & African-American Studies, assistant professor, specializing in African human geography; Christopher Cushing, Dept. of Applied Behavioral Science, Dept. of Psychology, Clinical Child Psychology Program and Life Span Institute, assistant professor, specializing in pediatric psychology; Andrew Denning, Dept. of History, assistant professor, specializing in modern European history; Phillip Drake, Dept. of English, assistant professor, specializing in environmental rhetoric and literature;

David Farber, Dept. of History, Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor, specializing in modern America; Vincent Francisco, Dept. of Applied Behavioral Science and Life Span Institute, Kansas Health Foundation Professor/ senior scientist, specializing in community leadership; Sarah Gross, Dept. of Visual Art, assistant professor, specializing in ceramics; Ayesha Hardison, Dept. of English and Dept. of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, associate professor, specializing in literary studies; Craig Jendza, Dept. of Classics, assistant professor, specializing in Greek literature and the classical tradition; Joo Ok Kim, Dept. of American Studies, assistant professor, specializing in Latina/o studies; Ting Lei, Dept. of Geography, assistant professor, specializing in Geographic Information Systems; Cecilia Menjivar, Dept. of Sociology, Foundation Distinguished Professor, specializing in social and family dynamics;

Joshua Miner, Dept. of Film & Media Studies, assistant professor, specializing in indigenous global media activism; Matthew Mosconi, Dept. of Applied Behavioral Science, Dept. of Psychology, Clinical Child Psychology Program and Life Span Institute, associate professor/associate scientist, specializing in autism spectrum disorders; Ashley Muddiman, Dept. of Communication Studies, assistant professor, specializing in political communication with an emphasis in social media; Christopher Perreira, Dept. of American Studies, assistant professor, specializing in Latina/o studies; Jennifer Raff, Dept. of Anthropology, assistant professor, specializing in molecular genetics of human evolution; Muhammad Raza, Child Language Program, assistant professor, specializing in neuroscience and epigentics; Peggy Schultz, Environmental Studies Program and Kansas Biological Survey, associate Specialist, specializing in environmental biology;

David Slusky, Dept. of Economics, assistant professor, specializing in labor and health economics; Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Dept. of Economics, assistant professor, specializing in energy and environmental economics; Stacey Vanderhurst, Dept. of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, assistant professor, specializing in gender, migration, and human trafficking; Navin Viswanathan, Dept. of Speech-LanguageHearing, associate professor, specializing in developmental communication disorders; Oleksandra Wallo, Dept. of Slavic Languages & Literatures, assistant professor, specializing in Ukrainian, second languages acquisition and languages pedagogy; Clayton Webb, Dept. of Political Science, assistant professor, specializing in quantitative methodology; Emily Witt, Dept. of Mathematics, assistant professor, specializing in algebra-combinatorics; Antje Ziethen, Dept. of French & Italian, assistant professor, francophone literature and culture.



150 Years & Counting 14


The University of Kansas and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences go way back. From the time there has been a KU, liberal arts and sciences has been there in one way or another. When KU first opened its doors on September 12, 1866, classes started with just three faculty members teaching courses in Belles Lettres (fine writing) and Mental and Moral Philosophy; Languages; and Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Nearly 150 years later, though department names have changed, those original subjects remain as mainstays in the College.

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences plays major part in KU’s past, present and future

As KU celebrates its sesquicentennial, the College’s influence is evident. Our faculty, staff, students and alumni built traditions that have lasted through generations. They’ve made discoveries that have changed the world around us. And they’ve reached the highest levels of achievement in a variety of fields, raising the profile of KU and the College around the globe.





Classes at KU started with just three professors teaching in one building. Elial J. Rice, David H. Robinson and Francis Huntington Snow were paid $1,600 each in that first year to teach KU’s 49 original students. Rice served as chair of Belles Lettres and Mental and Moral Philosophy; Robinson, as chair of Languages; and Snow, as chair of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. For Snow, the appointment came with an opportunity to change course; he was a Congregationalist minister who applied to teach languages and instead was asked to teach math and science. He quickly found himself drawn to his new subjects, especially entomology. By 1887, the Department of Science, Literature and the Arts had been established. A few years later, in 1891, KU reorganized and established the next configuration of liberal arts, now called the School of the Arts. In 1904, the name was changed to one that has stuck for more than a century—the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The College started with 15 majors in 1887: Biology, Chemistry, English literature, French, German, German and French Combination, Greek, Greek and Latin Combination, History, Latin, Mathematics, Mineralogy, Philosophy, Physics, and Political Science. Students in the College still have majors similar to many of these to choose from, plus dozens more that have been added over the past century. The College now offers degrees in more than 50 departments, programs and centers. Courses are taught and research is conducted by about 800 faculty in more than 20 buildings across campus. Enrollment has grown to more than 13,000 students.

As culture and society have changed, so, too, have the areas of study available to students. KU was at the leading edge of sociology instruction in the United States. The oldest sociology course in the nation has been taught in the College at KU since 1890 when Professor Frank Wilson Blackmar taught the first “Elements of Sociology” class; a course by that title has been taught at KU every semester since. One of the greatest challenges for the College came after World War II, when enrollment tripled in just three years. During that time, the College added faculty and redeveloped curriculum. Among the changes were classes to reflect the “coming of peace.” Students were offered classes such as “Survey of Soviet Culture” and “History of American Foreign Policy, 1776 to the Present.” Also following World War II, new departments were created to help students examine the complexity of a more interconnected world. The Western Civilization Program was established in 1945, with the goal to help students understand history of American and Western Civilization and avoid repeating mistakes of the past. A few years later, in 1949, an American Civilization program (now American Studies) was formed. As the Cold War era progressed, national leaders understood the importance of training more international experts, especially in less commonly taught languages. In1958, Congress voted to provide funding at U.S. universities to build foreign language and area studies programs. KU was an early leader, launching its Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) in 1959. Nearly 60 years later, the College is home to five total area studies centers: CEAS; Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies;

One of the greatest challenges for the College came after World War II, when enrollment tripled in just three years.



Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies; Center for Global & International Studies; and Kansas African Studies Center. The 1960s and ’70s brought broad social movements to the U.S. and university campuses, including civil rights, women’s rights, and anti-war concerns. KU students and faculty were involved in protests to demand access and opportunities more broadly across the student body, especially for women and African-American students. In 1969, upon creation of the Student Senate, one of the governing body’s first actions was to call for a Department of African Studies (now African and African-American Studies). In 1972, a group that came to be known as the February Sisters occupied the East Asian Studies building on campus as a “means of obtaining the resources to meet the pressing needs of women.” The group sought more female administrators, campus day care and more curricula in women’s studies. By 1973, the Women’s Studies Program (now Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies) was in place, along with several other changes requested by the protesters. At the same time, growing concern about the environment led to the creation of an Environmental Studies Program in 1971, making it one of the oldest in the U.S. More recent additions to the College continue to reflect interests of the populace: UKanTeach (2007), which provides training for students to fill the growing need for STEM teachers; a major in human sexuality (2014), allowing students to study how sexual identity and practices contribute to significant contemporary social issues such as human trafficking, family violence and health inequality; and the Center for Global & International Studies (2009) and School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures (2015), demonstrating continued research strength and student interest in being informed global citizens.

MAKING DISCOVERIES THAT CHANGE THE WORLD Nature is filled with mystery. Whether it’s new species tucked away in unexplored waters and forests, elements in the air and ground around us, or unknown reaches of the universe, faculty and alumni in the College make discoveries that reveal more about the world around us. From Pluto, with love: A three billion-mile journey that reached its target this summer connected the far reaches of our solar system with the Jayhawk universe. In July, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made the agency’s first flight by Pluto—carrying with it ashes of the KU alumnus who first identified the planet. Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930 while working for the Lowell Observatory in Arizona as he earned money to pay for his freshman year at KU. For that discovery, he was awarded a scholarship by KU, where he completed a bachelor’s degree in 1936 and a master’s in 1939. Although Pluto was downgraded from the ninth planet in our solar system to a dwarf planet in 2006, early images sent back by the New Horizons spacecraft revealed a “love note” of sorts from the planet. A “heart,” about 1,000 miles across at its widest point, is one of the planet’s most distinctive features. The region near the heart was informally named “Tombaugh Regio” (Tombaugh Region), cementing Pluto’s place in Jayhawks’ hearts. Today, KU faculty continue to discover more about the universe. For instance, Gregory Rudnick, associate professor of physics & astronomy, was part of a team that detected the most-distant-known example of a lensing galaxy. And Adrian Melott, professor of physics & astronomy, is part of a team awarded $500,000 by NASA to assess the potential damage from a near-Earth supernova, or explosion of a star.



A gaseous discovery: In 1905, two KU chemistry professors were the first to discover a gas that scientists previously thought didn’t exist on Earth. Two years earlier, in Cowley County, Kansas, a new well brought forth a strange natural gas that wouldn’t burn. Curious about this new gas, geology professor Erasmus Haworth brought samples back to KU. Two chemistry professors, Hamilton P. Cady and David F. McFarland began to study the mystery gas using an air compressor and liquefier (the only one west of the Mississippi River at the time). On Dec. 7, 1905, they uncovered the mystery—the gas was helium. Previously, scientists assumed helium was present only in the Sun and in trace amounts of a mineral called clevite. The discovery, made in Bailey Hall, didn’t immediately yield ground-breaking results. Not knowing any applications for helium, the professors’ three tubes of the gas sat untouched in Bailey Hall for years. Aside from filling birthday balloons everywhere, helium has since played a part in major advancements in military, medical and industrial applications, including nonflammable helium-filled blimps in World War II. Scientists in the College continue that tradition of groundbreaking discovery. Among those is a newly hired Foundation Distinguished Professor. Steven Soper, professor in the departments of Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, will return to his alma mater to join the Department of Chemistry next academic year. Often referred to as lab-on-a-chip technologies, Soper’s efforts pinpoint diagnostics for cancer, stroke and infectious diseases as well as bringing diagnostics to the point-of-care. Alongside the Department of Chemistry, the Departments of Molecular Biosciences, Physics & Astronomy and the Bioinformatics Program are active in chemical, medical and nanotechnology advancements.

A plethora of flora and fauna: This year, KU’s Natural History Museum was named the top natural history museum among public universities by Best College Reviews. From Lewis Lindsay Dyche’s expeditions around the turn of the 20th century to now, faculty with joint appointments in the College and KU Research have played an integral role in building the impressive array of millions of species of flora and fauna on display and stored in the museum’s collections. Faculty in several departments conduct research on archaeological cultures, dinosaurs, birds, reptiles, insects and plants through their appointment with the Biodiversity Institute, the parent organization of the museum. The Departments of Anthropology, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and Geology are particularly prolific in such discoveries. In 2015, a research team led by an alumnus announced the discovery of a new giant raptor, the largest specimen ever found with wing feathers. The Dakotaraptor expedition in South Dakota was led by KU graduate Robert DePalma, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History and lead author of the research. Co-authors of the research include KU Biodiversity Institute paleontologists David Burnham and Larry Martin, former KU paleontology professor and curator who died in 2014, and served as an advisor to DePalma. If you come across a whirligig beetle in an Alabama forest, you could be looking at a Jayhawk discovery. Last year, KU alumnus Grey Gustafson found the first definitively new species of the whirligig family (Gyrinidae) to be described in the U.S. since 1991. Gustafson named it “Dineutus short” after Andrew Short, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and associate curator at the Biodiversity Institute.

In 1905, two KU chemistry professors were the first to discover helium. Scientists previously thought it didn't exist on Earth. 18



Several traditions Jayhawks hold dear were born out of the creativity of College faculty and alumni.

Rock Chalk Chant:

The cheer that President Theodore Roosevelt once dubbed “the greatest college cheer ever devised” all started with a chemistry professor. In 1886, KU’s Science Club was trying to create a cheer. E. H. S. Bailey (namesake of Bailey Hall), suggested the phrase “Rah, Rah, Jay Hawk, KSU.” The club adopted Professor Bailey’s cheer and it soon became popular among the whole student body. Not long after, about a year, the chant became what it is today: “Rock Chalk.” Although the exact authors of the alteration are unknown, Bailey gave credit to geology professors, inspired by the “chalk rock” found throughout Kansas and Mount Oread.


1912 Jayhawk:

The first Jayhawk recognized by the university was drawn by a student in the College, Henry Maloy. Maloy’s illustration first appeared in the University Daily Kansan and then the Jayhawker Yearbook. Although students and faculty began to identify as Jayhawks starting in 1886 with the first iteration of the Rock Chalk Chant, there was no university-endorsed version of the mythical bird until Maloy’s illustration. In fact, the football team was known to use a pitbull or a pig as its mascot in the early 20th century. Although Maloy’s version didn’t last as the official Jayhawk, it can be credited as the first version to feature shoes, a trait all other versions, except the 1920 Jayhawk, shared. Maloy graduated from the College in 1912.


"Academic Jay" and "Moses":

Elden Tefft, a professor of art at KU for 40 years, sculpted two of the most recognizable sculptures on campus. The “Academic Jay,” which currently stands outside Strong Hall was commissioned by the Class of 1956. Tefft said he was inspired by the “fighting Jayhawks” that were mascots from 1929 to 1946. The sculpture was placed at sites near the Kansas Union first, then moved to Strong Hall at the suggestion of Chancellor Archie Dykes in 1975. Another iconic sculpture created by Tefft brings the University of Kansas seal to life in three dimensions. Tefft created the “Moses” sculpture outside Smith Hall. It’s sited in front of the “Burning Bush” stained-glass window, with the Moses sculpture kneeling before it, much like the scene depicted in the university’s seal. Fire symbolizes knowledge in many stories and myths. Moses is thought to represent the humble attitude of the scholar who recognizes the unquenchable nature of the pursuit of truth and knowledge. The sculpture was dedicated in 1982.


Good Luck Charm:

As anxiety mounts on campus before finals week, students employ a variety of rituals and good luck charms to boost their confidence. One of the most popular may be rubbing the nose on the bust of Chancellor Ernest H. Lindley. The sculpture was placed in the late 1950s, commissioned by leftover money from the class of 1929. In 1969, the Lawrence Journal-World first reported on the tradition of rubbing the former chancellor’s nose for good luck. The tradition is so popular that the nose has been replaced seven times, each time after the nose has been rubbed to the point it becomes much shinier than the rest of the bronze sculpture. The bust sits, fittingly, in Lindley Hall, home to the College’s Departments of Geology; Geography & Atmospheric Science; and Environmental Studies.



READY TO SUCCEED From KU’s first graduate to Nobel Prize-winning alumni, a liberal arts and sciences education has been the starting point for generations of accomplished Jayhawks. KU’s first valedictorian, Flora Ellen Richardson, graduated in 1873. She was a “Classical Collegiate” major, studying subjects such as Greek and Latin, trigonometry, physics, philosophy and theology. She and three other students graduated in that first class. About 20 years later, the university’s first doctoral degree was earned by a graduate student in the College. Arnold Emch, a Swiss student, earned his doctoral degree, in mathematics, in 1895. Fast-forward more than 100 years and students in the College continue to make history for KU. A total of 26 KU students have been selected for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, which fully funds two years of study at Oxford University in England. All of those students have majored in the College; Kelsey Murrell was the most recent KU Rhodes Scholar, in 2011. In the past several years, KU debaters have made a name for themselves at the national level. In 2009, the team of Brett Bricker and Nate Johnson won the National Debate Tournament, the fifth championship for a KU team. Four years later, in 2013, the team of Jyleesa Hampton and Quaram Robinson made history as the first KU team selected for the National Debate Tournament that was composed of two women and two African-Americans. Once graduates leave campus to start their careers, they continue to make history. A look at recent recipients of the College’s Distinguished Alumni Award demonstrates the range of accomplishment: »» Ann Hamilton, internationally recognized visual artist and MacArthur “Genius” Grant awardee (one of just seven KU alumni to be recognized); »» Steven Hawley, astronaut who flew five space shuttle missions and now professor of physics & astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at KU; »» Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia and the first KU graduate elected as head of state of any nation; »» Kathleen Sebelius, former Secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services and former governor of Kansas; »» Vernon Smith, Nobel laureate and experimental economist.


In the 150 years since its founding, the University of Kansas has made an impact in the lives of its students and the world around us. Through educational opportunities, research breakthroughs and a vast alumni network, the College has contributed significantly throughout KU’s history. As the university enters into its next 150 years, the College stands ready to create opportunities and take on the challenges that will continue a tradition of excellence that has been built by generations of Jayhawks.

About the Artwork The artwork for the cover and cover story was created by Kiel Johnson, an alumnus based in Los Angeles. Johnson completed a BFA in sculpture and drawing from KU in 1998 and an MFA in drawing and painting from California State University-Long Beach in 2000. His drawings and sculptures tell tales; layered narratives speak of his travels and adventures through everyday life. A limited edition archival print of the work is available on his site,

SOURCES Research for this story was compiled from a variety of sources. The following served as primary sources:, University Archives, “The University of Kansas: A History” by Clifford S. Griffin, “KU 150: The Story of the University of Kansas” by Monroe Dodd, KU Building Directory,,


Each year, distinguished alumni are chosen for the award by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Alumni Advisory Board. The award recognizes our graduates’ outstanding contributions to KU, their professions or their communities in a wide range of disciplines. This year’s honorees have made significant contributions in the fields of social justice, philanthropy and technology.


Distinguished Alumni

ANNE LEVINSON KU degree: Bachelor’s in political science, ’80 “In my era, guidance counselors did not have ‘professional sports team owner’, deputy mayor, utility commissioner or judge on the list of career paths that they encouraged young women to consider. And most certainly no career path included fighting for the rights of LGBT individuals. But it was those formative leadership experiences involving Title IX at KU that set me on a path to public service and social justice.” Working to open doors so that more people can have opportunities has characterized Levinson’s life and shaped her impressive career. A seemingly minor episode of trying out for a boys’ baseball team in junior high foreshadowed the trailblazing endeavors that Levinson would undertake at the University of Kansas and beyond. Judge Levinson (Ret.) has had an exceptional career in public service and advocacy, including efforts in women’s equity in athletics at KU, as well as serving as a public official, judge, WNBA team owner, civic leader and champion for social justice.

MAJOR DAN ROONEY KU degrees: Bachelor’s in geography, ’96; master’s in education, ’97 “I’m most proud of using my talents to have a positive impact on families of our fallen and disabled soldiers.” Major Rooney, an F-16 pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, was on a commercial flight in 2006 that would end up changing his life and guiding his future. The flight was carrying the remains of Corporal Brock Bucklin, killed in the line of duty in Iraq. Major Rooney watched as Corporal Bucklin’s flag-covered casket was unloaded to his grieving family and young son, Jacob. He’d seen combat but witnessing the other, more intimate side of war through Jacob’s eyes was life-altering. Major Rooney decided his mission was to help the family he had seen that night on the tarmac. To achieve this goal, Major Rooney turned to his other passion—golf. In 2007, he gathered golfers and asked them to donate an extra dollar in greens fees to help fund scholarships for the families of killed or disabled veterans. Today his non-profit, Folds of Honor, has raised more than $5.4 million for scholarships including one that went to Corporal Bucklin’s son, Jacob.

BRAD GARLINGHOUSE KU degree: Bachelor’s in economics, ’94 “I knew I wanted to be a part of something that could (please indulge the cliché) change the world. We’re living in an amazing time, when almost anyone can say that and mean it. I never wanted to work somewhere that was focused on doing things the way they’ve always been done. I discovered that I always want to be looking for the next thing, rather than getting comfortable in what I’m doing today.” Brad Garlinghouse has held senior positions at some of the nation’s most well-known tech companies, including AOL and Yahoo. He is currently chief operating officer of Ripple, an online payment and exchange network. He has many years of experience working with startup companies and was CEO of Hightail, a file-sharing site. He’s also known in the industry for authoring the “Peanut Butter Manifesto,” a philosophy of efficiency he wrote during his tenure at Yahoo that he has since brought to other companies.



Alumna recognized among 100 inspiring women in STEM Geologist Anita Csoma is honored for her work in the field and dedication to encouraging young women scientists As diversity continues to be an important issue on our campus, it’s also a significant issue nationally – especially in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Anita Csoma was recently recognized among 100 Inspiring Women in STEM by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for her contributions to the industry and mentorship of a new generation. After earning her Ph.D. in geology from KU, Csoma has worked with major oil companies ConocoPhillips and Shell. “I am very humbled and touched to be able to stand amongst the 100 Inspiring Women in STEM who were selected by Insight Into Diversity magazine this year. Most

of the recognized women are from academia; are deans of universities and established professors. Standing with them is really amazing,” Csoma said. “This nomination encourages me to continue my path to create opportunities for communal creativity over individual creativity in our technical work environment. In addition it enforces my belief that we, women, need to mentor and encourage the new generation of women to take leading roles in STEM.” Csoma didn’t always know she was going to be a scientist. She grew up in East Hungary and was trained to become a violinist until age 14. Just before submitting her application for

Anita Csoma

a music conservatory, she changed her mind and signed up for a math and physics specialty high school in another town. “Even though math and music go hand in hand, the change was significant,” Csoma said. “What this change taught me is the endless possibilities in life.”

Alumnus makes discovery of galactic proportions Astronomer Stuartt Corder captures planet formation High in the mountains just outside Santiago, Chile, a group of scientists are looking toward the sky, capturing information about every corner of our universe. Led by KU alumnus Stuartt Corder (B.S. in physics, mathematics, and astronomy), astronomers at ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/ submillimeter Array) have been able to uncover never-before-seen features of space. “It has been a challenge to go from working in the details to being a generalist but it has also forced me to have a broader vision of how observatories impact the science community and the world,” Corder said. Recently, they’ve captured the clearest picture ever taken of planet


formation around an infant star. The revolutionary image shows in great detail the planet-forming disk surrounding HL Tau, a sun-like star located approximately 450 lightyears from Earth in the constellation Taurus. It shows concentric rings that suggest planet formation is already occurring around this young star. Previously, this level of detail was only achieved through computer models and artist concepts. When talking about what inspires him, Corder said, “the everyday promise of seeing something that no one has ever seen before that may give us understanding of our origins… that really gets me moving when I let myself think about it!”

This photo is the clearest picture ever taken of planet formation around an infant star.


Fanciful faces Alumna’s facial transformations wow at NYX Face Awards “Elsa Rhae” Pageler—the facepainting sensation who skyrocketed to fame on YouTube and was featured on the cover of Kansas Alumni magazine’s issue No. 5, 2014—put her best face forward to make the finals in the fourth-annual, video-based NYX Face Awards Aug. 22 in Los Angeles. More than 3,000 hopefuls submitted entries that showcased their talents as makeup artists to compete for the title of Beauty Vlogger of the Year. Pageler, who received her bachelor’s degree in

theatre in 2013, made it through the semifinals and three rounds of public voting into the final cut of six, garnering hundreds of fan votes to beat out the competition in three different video challenges: timeless beauty, paranormal activity and mermaid/merman. Although she didn’t take home top honors, she did receive a $10,000 first prize, not to mention a wealth of love and support from her Internet fans. For more fantastic faces visit or



KU Black Alumni Network honors leaders and innovators Six CLAS alumni were honored with award at biennial reunion „ Nedra Patton Bonds,

„ Ralph Crowder, Riverside,

„ Alferdteen Harrison, Jackson,

Kansas City, Kansas, bachelor’s in American studies, 1970. Bonds is an artist, civic activist and educator. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, and her quilts are on display in prominent Kansas City locations, including the NelsonAtkins Museum of Art. She also has participated in the AIDS Memorial Quilt and Quilts of Valor. Last fall, Bonds was inducted in Kansas City, Kansas, public schools’ Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll. She continues to conduct workshops and classes for adults and children.

California, doctorate in history, 1995. Crowder joined the history faculty at the University of California-Riverside and led the ethnic studies department as chair. He also served as a mentor for faculty and at-risk youths. In July 2012, he retired as professor emeritus. Crowder has widely published and presented his research on 19th- and 20th-century African-American history, Pan-African history and the Black Indian experience. His most notable books include “John Edward Bruce: Politician, Journalist, and Self-Trained Historian of the African Diaspora and Black History Month: Reclaiming a Lost Legacy.”

Mississippi, doctorate in history, 1971. Harrison was the first AfricanAmerican to earn a doctorate from KU’s Department of History, and she helped lay the groundwork for the university’s African and AfricanAmerican Studies department. As faculty at Jackson State University in her home state of Mississippi, she created the university’s academic program in public history, the first established among historically black colleges and universities. She spearheaded the development of the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, the first state museum to highlight African-Americans in Mississippi. Harrison also transformed Jackson State’s Institute for the Study of Life and Culture into the Margaret Walker Alexander Research Center, a prominent museum and archives. Harrison received the 2012 Thad Cochran Humanities Award for her contributions to Mississippi history and culture.

„ Mickey Brown, Atchison, bachelor’s degree in chemistry, 1959; master’s degree in microbiology, 1965. Brown has served as a leader in his community for years. During his time in the Chicago area, he was involved in the local chapter of the NAACP and Community and Youth Development, an organization that provides mentoring programs for disadvantaged children. Brown is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and participated in the Mu Mu Lambda chapter’s educational initiative “Go to High School, Go to College.” As a scientist he has published several articles and earned recognition for his work with Abbott Laboratories, Argonne National Laboratory and Altria Group Inc.

„ Cynthia Harris, Tallahassee, Florida, bachelor’s degree in biology, 1978; master’s degree in genetics, 1982. Harris directs the Institute for Public Health at Florida A&M University. She completed her doctorate in biomedical sciences at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, she became the first African-American to serve as branch chief for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a coordinating agency of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. She created the first doctoral program in public health in Florida, and she designed the online master’s degree program, a first for the university and among all historically black colleges and universities. Front row from left: Evelyn Welton, Alferdteen Harrison, Mickey Brown, Amber Reagan-Kendrick (on behalf of Nathan Davis), Audrey Lee Back row from left: Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little; Erica Hawthorne-Manon; Bill Tuttle (on behalf of Ralph Crowder); Cynthia Harris; Nedra Patton Bonds; Cherie Suther (granddaughter of Bertram Caruthers Sr.); Quinton McField (on behalf of Alversa Milan); Julie Johnson Staples


„ Evelyn Welton, Kansas City, Kansas, a 1949 graduate from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Welton devoted her career to epidemiological and pediatric studies. She retired after 35 years as a medical technologist for the Veterans Administration. In her community, she advocates for older residents and leads the Center City AARP Chapter No. 1544 as president. She also serves on the city’s executive board of the NAACP. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and a founding member of the Kansas City chapter of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs. Welton is an active member in St. Paul Presbyterian Church in Kansas City.



Alumni and faculty generosity enhances opportunities for students, research


Gift weaves together generations of Jayhawks

Dorris Fair Carey would be smiling if she were alive today. David designed the quilt with a computer algorithm, Carey studied textiles and weaving at the University of Kansas purchased fabric and went to work. Within weeks, the quilt in the 1920s. Her husband, Robert Carey, earned a bachelor’s filled her living room. By the time her final project went on degree in mechanical engineering from KU in 1930. When Mrs. display, it could have completely covered the front of her Carey died in 1983, she left the bulk of her estate—$2 million—to house. The first time she saw the entire quilt at once was establish endowed scholarships in textiles when she unrolled it in the gallery of KU’s and mechanical engineering. Chalmers Hall (Art & Design Building). To date, these scholarships have provided “There’s nothing that could prepare me “These experiences more than $3.5 million in support to more for the scale of it,” David said. “It just kept have taught me than 1,000 KU students. During the past unrolling and unrolling. It was kind of crazy. that nothing is three decades, the principal of the Carey There were things that surprised me. For impossible, and that estate gift has more than doubled in value. instance, the lighter pattern in the middle. I it’s never too late to A recent recipient of Carey textiles felt like that gave it a little spark.” go back to school.” scholarships is Jaime David, who earned The quilt represents David’s success— a MFA in textiles this past spring. A nonstitched together from her dream of majoring traditional student, David had been out of in textiles and backed with generous college for 10 years when she enrolled in graduate school at scholarship support. KU. Thanks to scholarship support and part-time work, David “Because of the support through the Carey scholarship graduated nearly debt-free. and a student award, I had incredible opportunities to attend Chances are, Mrs. Carey would have been tickled pink, textile conferences, to study in Japan and complete my largeor rather, crimson and blue, if she could have seen “Color scale thesis project,” David said. “These experiences have Machine,” David’s giant quilt of 187 colors that measures 10 taught me that nothing is impossible, and that it’s never too feet tall by 47 feet wide. late to go back to school.” REPRINTED FROM THE FALL 2015 ISSUE OF KU GIVING MAGAZINE, PUBLISHED BY KU ENDOWMENT ASSOCIATION



Keeping science fiction a reality James Gunn thanks KU for lifetime of opportunity with gifts that support legacy of creative output I can’t remember when KU wasn’t a part of my life. Officially, it began when my brother, Richard, enrolled as a junior in 1939, having combined his last two years of high school and his first two years of college in three high-school years in what was known as the “New Plan.” He kept combining—his senior year as a pre-med student with his first year of medical school, and then finished up his medical degree (with the help of the U.S. Army) in two and a half years during World War II. I enrolled at KU in 1942 as a junior as well, having attended junior college in each of the Kansas Cities (my parents, who never attended high school but were well-informed, selfeducated people, could not afford university expenses for both sons on a printer’s wages), and as a grant from the U.S. Navy to defer my service for a year after I volunteered for the Navy Air Corps. And then, after the war, I returned to finish my journalism degree, get married, do some graduate work in playwriting, and start a writing career in 1948. I kept returning, coming back in the summer of 1949 to begin work on a master’s degree in English (and to write my thesis on science fiction and get a good part of it published in a pulp magazine). And then, after a brief career as an editor and a longer one as a freelance fiction writer, I moved my growing family back to Lawrence in 1955 and was invited into one affiliation with KU after another—first as an assistant instructor of English, then as the managing editor of alumni publications, then a feature writer for the university, and the following year as Administrative Assistant to the Chancellor for University Relations. I survived the turbulent ’60s in that position, working first for Franklin Murphy and then Clarke Wescoe, until I made a decision on my own, to resign and join the English Department as a full-time instructor if the department would have me. Fatefully, Prof. George Worth, chair of the department, when he came to tell me that the department had approved my request, added that some of the younger members of the faculty hoped I would be willing to teach a course in science fiction. It was that kind of reception that led to 23 years of my life spent teaching fiction writing and science fiction and trying to put to use the good will of the department to “let Jim Gunn teach whatever he wants to teach.” Along the way I was allowed to create a Center for the Study of Science Fiction to provide a focus for the various projects I was working on, taught a marvelous group of students, some of whom came to KU for the express purpose of studying science fiction, and saw them go on to careers in teaching and award-winning writing. Even after retirement in 1993, I continued working in the summer with the writers workshop I had created and the two-week intensive program in science-fiction literature, originally for teachers.


KU not only changed my life; it became my life. I met my late wife in the journalism school here and formed friendships that lasted for a lifetime. I had two sons who attended KU for undergraduate and graduate study, one of whom, Christopher, died too soon. It seemed natural and appropriate to honor his memory with scholarships in sociology and English. The Center for the Study of Science Fiction had been named for my parents after my brother contributed an endowment in our father’s memory and left half of his estate to the center and the other half to a lecture fund for the English Department. Two wonderful people, both former students, have taken over the science-fiction work and the center, Chris McKitterick and Kij Johnson. One thing that I’ve always thought would enhance the stature and accomplishments of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction was a named professorship. With the support of the English Department, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the university, I approached several of the most successful and famous writers in the science-fiction field. Alas, they always had other commitments. So it seemed natural and appropriate for me to leave a provision in my estate for a professorship in science fiction, a field that I have always felt, even in the early days when one professor called it “at best sub-literary,” had great promise as a medium of literature and of ideas and of a different way of considering the human condition, and, at its best, as the quintessential interdisciplinary field, a bridge between the humanities and the sciences. With the help of the KU Endowment Association and its program for deferred giving, in time there will be a James E. and Jane F. Gunn Professor of Science Fiction.

James Gunn, an emeritus professor of English, is a lauded and still active science fiction writer. He has published or edited 44 books, more than 100 short stories, and uncounted articles. His accolades include a Damon Knight Grand Master award and induction into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. The second volume in his “Transcendental” trilogy, “Transgalactic,” was published in March, and the third volume, “Transformation,” has been accepted by his publisher.




Ernest D. Klema ventured into Ivy League halls and the labs of Los Alamos during his academic and professional career, but his roots were planted at the University of Kansas. Klema, who died in 2008, made a $1.8 million estate gift to establish the J.D. Stranathan Professorship of Experimental Physics in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The gift comes from the estate of Klema and his wife, Virginia Klema, who died in 2015. Both Ernest and Virginia Klema had illustrious academic careers. Virginia Klema was a principal research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ernest Klema worked on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where the atomic bomb was developed. He also worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Argonne National Laboratory and taught at the university level. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in 1941. He then went on to receive a master’s degree in physics from the university in 1942. The professorship carries the name of J.D. Stranathan, a KU professor and chair in the Department of Physics, who retired in 1969. Klema studied under him as a graduate student.

What do “The West Wing,” “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland,” and “House of Cards” all have in common? Film & media studies alumnus Alex Graves has directed all four television shows. Graves’ time at KU left an indelible mark on him. One professor in particular made a distinct impression. “Chuck Berg did three simple things that any young student needs,” Graves said. “He inspired, educated and ultimately encouraged me not only with his knowledge of film and its history, but with his enthusiasm and passion.” Berg has taught film and American studies classes at KU since 1977. His mentorship prompted Graves to establish a scholarship in Berg’s name for a film & media studies student. “I saw in Chuck what I have since put into practice many times—the best way to be successful at what you’re doing is to spread your own enthusiasm. People are looking for it, and it’s contagious,” Graves said. ALEX GRAVES


Alex Graves and a White Walker from “Game of Thrones”

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Clyde Toland reflects on more than a century of Jayhawk family tradition

Photos, from top: Clyde Toland, receiving the first College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award with Sen. Nancy Kassebaum. Clyde Toland, senior at KU. Clyde and Nancy Toland at their wedding celebration in Watkins Room of the Kansas Union.


It will come as no surprise to fellow alumni that many families truly seem to have KU in their DNA. Their family trees have generations of Jayhawks filling their branches. Clyde Toland (c’69, l’75) is proud to have 34 Jayhawks in his tree. “I believe in the importance of knowing your family’s roots in order to have a greater appreciation of who each person is,” Toland said. “Of particular interest are experiences we have in common, such as our shared KU heritage.” Toland’s KU legacy began 110 years ago with his great-aunt, who graduated in 1906, and continues today with a second cousin currently in the School of Business. His family members have degrees from nearly all of the schools at KU, but more than half are graduates of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. While it’s impossible to know exactly why so many of his family members have chosen to be Jayhawks over the course of the last century, Toland knows the quality of education and the hope of a secure future was part of it. “KU provided an environment that I thrived in as an undergraduate—social and leadership opportunities, great faculty, a beautiful and historic campus, and KU basketball, of course,” Toland said. KU was not only the academic foundation of so many of Toland’s family, but also love and future generations of Jayhawks. Eight couples started their futures together after meeting at KU and marrying, including Toland and his wife, Nancy (g’74). Toland regards his formative years at KU as “one of the happiest periods” of his life, and it has been so natural and easy to continue to be passionate about KU for nearly 50 years. He fondly remembers his team winning the KU College Bowl Grand Championship in 1968 and proudly accepted one of the first Distinguished Alumni Awards by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in 1996. “The impact of attending KU so many years ago continues to this day,” Toland said.

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KU Collegian, Spring 2016  

The KU Collegian is the annual alumni magazine of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Kansas.

KU Collegian, Spring 2016  

The KU Collegian is the annual alumni magazine of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Kansas.