KU Today & Tomorrow 2020-21

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a look back 1991, KU vs. Duke

Gold for Softball Coach / Life of an Activist / Fighting Against Fascism


@MidcoSNKansas

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MidcoSN Kansas

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That uncertainty led us to commission two articles: one, a 30th anniversary look at the 1991 men’s basketball team’s journey to the NCAA National Championship against Duke; and two, a profile of KU’s softball coach, Jennifer McFalls, who also holds the title of Olympic champion. We hope these glimpses into the past and into the future will provide our readers with a taste of the sports excitement that seems in short supply this year.

Jean Teller / EDITOR Shelly Bryant / ART DIRECTOR Leslie Andres / COPY EDITOR Alex Tatro / ADVERTISING DESIGNER Joanne Morgan / ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE

JMORGAN@SUNFLOWERPUB.COM

Bill Uhler / PUBLISHER Bob Cucciniello / DIRECTOR facebook.com/Sunflower Publishing

This issue is a powerhouse of information, if I may brag a bit. You’ll learn about a Polish resistance fighter who wrote a book chronicling his experiences; a new album featuring the KU bands and choirs; a professor who loves sushi; a new book celebrating a 30-year-old title on a unique approach to social work; a study on reducing food waste; and an award-winning book on Indigenous food sovereignty. Two articles take a look at why humans love to write and all of the changes that can come about when we put pen to paper. And we take a closer look at the LaunchKU crowdfunding platform and how it has helped the entire KU system. Another article focuses on a KU professor’s efforts to help translate a new documentary on stuttering, and another puts the spotlight on a tireless advocate for the disabled who will be making an appearance on campus this fall. Whatever your interest, I’m willing to bet you’ll find something you like in this issue. We’ll see what the new year brings. I hope you and yours are staying safe and well. All the best,

KU TODAY AND TOMORROW is a publication of Sunflower Publishing, a division of Ogden Publications, Inc. and Ogden Newspapers of Kansas.

Jean Teller Editor

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As with most things in this topsy-turvy 2020, we have had to adjust our usual lineup of magazines, including KU Today and KU Basketball. The KU News Service again offered welcomed assistance, and their writers provided us with the news articles within. As for sports, we had to go a different direction since, at the time a decision needed to be made, there was no word on whether the men’s basketball team (or any other team, for that matter) would play during the 20202021 season.

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Editor helps incarcerated poets open doors to healing.

KU professor helps translate a film that aims to reduce the world-wide stigma of stuttering.

FOOD INSECURITY

KU-led project to reduce restaurant food waste continues.

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RELEVANT RECORDING

New album, featuring KU bands and choirs, articulates hope for ‘Freedom from Fear.’

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ACTIVISTS FOCUS ON FOOD

Book, co-edited by KU professor, examines Indigenous food sovereignty.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, www.spencerart.ku.edu

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A GLIMPSE BEHIND THE LINES

A Polish resistance fighter shares the history of combating fascism and saving lives during World War II.

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LAUNCH A CAMPAIGN

Helping to fill funding gaps for projects, LaunchKU is a crowdfunding platform for the entire KU system.

on the cover

WHY WE WRITE Book project provides showcase for crafting military tales.

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ROOTED IN STRENGTHS: 30 YEARS LATER

New book celebrates pervasive influence of ‘Strengths Perspective’ on social work and is available free online.

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UNIQUE TASTE SENSATION

KU prof’s quest to taste world’s oldest sushi reveals clash of ancient and modern traditions.

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EAT, SLEEP, SOFTBALL

Olympian sets new baseline for KU softball team.

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MEMORABLE RUN TO THE TOP

For the 30th anniversary, we revisit the spectacular 1990–91 basketball season for the KU Jayhawks.

Alonzo Jamison shows off his offensive hustle against Duke during the 1991 NCAA National Championship game. For his efforts during the Final Four, the 6’6” forward from California was named to the All-Defensive team by Dick Vitale for the tournament. Jamison had 80 steals for the regular season that year. Photograph courtesy Kansas Athletics

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LIFE OF AN ACTIVIST Protests, sit-ins are all in a day’s work for Judith Heumann as she continues to fight for the rights of disabled Americans.

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Research team receives grant to further knowledge on how to safeguard public internet users.

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HELPING THE DIGITALLY HOMELESS

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SPREADING THE WORD

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LETTING IT OUT

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Letting It Out Editor helps incarcerated poets open doors to healing.

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rian Daldorph doesn’t necessarily believe one has to suffer to make great art, but he admits to a particular feeling for those who have and who do. His small press brought Vietnam infantryman-turned-poet John Musgrave to the attention of PBS documentarian Ken Burns, turning him into the voice of a generation. Now the University of Kansas Department of English lecturer has edited and published “Taking On Life” by Antonio Sanchez-Day (Coal City Press, 2019), the first book of poetry by a single author from the

jailhouse writing group Daldorph has led for nearly two decades. Sanchez-Day was a member of the class until his release in 2005. Coal City Press published the collection “Douglas County Blues” by writing group participants in 2010. But Daldorph says Sanchez-Day, a former gang member who grew up in Lawrence, is different from the other writers. “There is just something special about Antonio’s writing, and everybody knows it when he reads in class,” Daldorph says, sitting next to Sanchez. “Obviously, he’s got

ARTICLE AND PHOTO BY Rick Hellman, KU News Service


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OPPOSITE Poet Antonio Sanchez-Day (left) and his editor, Brian Daldorph.

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“There is just something special about Antonio’s writing, and everybody knows it when he reads in class. Obviously, he’s got a really important story to tell. But just the way that he can tell it, the words that he can find, the sincerity of it ...”

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It’s even more so, Sanchez-Day says, considering the macho code of prisoners. “That’s exactly what it is,” he says. “They feel safe there. They can let their emotions, their dreams out—be it a sci-fi writer or a rapper or whatever, you know, it’s the same place. I like that.” Now that he’s out and a published author, SanchezDay is trying to pay it forward, serving as a mentor and friend to the current inmates at the county jail, much like Daldorph. He listens and tries to calm disruptive inmates, then steers them into writing, if possible, as an outlet for their frustrations. It’s a healing thing, he says. “I’m trying to help the inmates because I’ve been there and I know how it is,” Sanchez-Day says. “I know how it is not to have somebody come visit and not to have somebody to talk to.” So he tries to be that friendly ear. “I say write it down, man. If you don’t want it, throw it away, but at least you got it out of your head. You got it off your chest instead of acting out toward the guard. Consider that an alternative. And nine times out of 10, they go with the writing. They’ll be like ‘OK, all right.’ –Brian Daldorph Some of the guys come in with packets and packets of stuff they’ve been working on. They gotta sort through it all: ‘Oh, I have one in here.’” Sanchez-Day says his book is for “anybody who’s been incarcerated, anybody who’s dealt with addiction, anybody who’s dealt with PTSD, bipolar, anybody who’s dealt with abandonment issues, anybody who’s been sexually molested. I just hope to reach somebody that can identify maybe the door for them to start their healing. That’s what I hope to achieve with the book. I hope I can help.” Daldorph says he’s glad to aid in that process for writers like Musgrave and Sanchez-Day. “I’m drawn to people who have a story to tell and who have found ways to tell it,” he says. “John knows Antonio, and they understand that, in some ways, they’ve dealt with similar issues—in very different ways on the surface, perhaps, but they’ve been right down there and they’ve found ways of dealing with it and telling their story. And so there is a connection now, I’m sure.”

KU

a really important story to tell. But just the way that he can tell it, the words that he can find, the sincerity of it ... “I realized there was going to be a body of work there. It wasn’t just going to be three or four really good poems. With his commitment to writing and the way the poems, kept coming in, I realized that there could be 50-plus poems and it could be a book. One of the things I like in working with authors on books is if there is a theme to it—sort of (an) organic unit. With the story that Antonio is telling and the way he has organized it—chronologically about his incarceration and then getting out—I began to get an idea in my mind about how we could do this.” Sanchez-Day had been in and out of jail and state prison for most of his adult life, including a 10-year sentence for aggravated assault, until he was paroled in 2005. He says he finally used his time behind bars to shed his criminal mindset, get in touch with his Native American spiritual heritage, and to write about the mental illness and addictions that led to his incarceration. Sanchez-Day says Daldorph is an inspirational teacher. He has benefited in particular from the list of writing prompts Daldorph provides for the class every week. “I always say to the guys the hardest thing in writing is just to have something to begin with,” Daldorph says, “like ‘the best day I ever had’ or something like that. It just gets you thinking about something, and then you can go from there. I say to them, ‘Use something on this list if you just can’t think of anything to write. But if you have an idea already, then just go for that.’ And I always emphasize that you can do it any way that works for you. So we have storytellers. We have guys who do more traditional poetry. We have a lot of rappers. We have guys who do fantasy things. Everyone is just like, ‘How am I going to tell my story? How am I going to say the things that are important to me? What form am I going to use to do it?’ And that’s the way it’s worked for us over the years.” Sanchez-Day recalls “a battle rap about wizards” in one class. “The mutual respect out of that class is such that nobody laughs at nobody,” he says. “If anything, they console each other. You see a grown man hand another man a (tissue) and say, ‘Here, man, wipe the tears. It’s all good. Let it out.’ It’s just amazing.”


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Research team receives grant to further knowledge on how to safeguard public internet users.

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bout one-third of the U.S. population has no computer and/or broadband internet access at home, or they can connect only through mobile devices such as smartphones. Many of these individuals turn to public libraries as their primary provider of computers and internet access. While an important resource and a public good, those shared library computers have significant limitations, including the inability of users to save their functional preferences or protect their privacy and security settings. With every visit to a library, these computer users must start their digital lives anew. And some evidence suggests that marginalized, public-access internet users face a host of privacy, security, and surveillance threats. According to Matt Comi, one of the graduate student-researchers, attacks like shoulder surfing (where a passer-by steals passwords by watching the user type them in), or hardware keylogging (where a surreptitious device is plugged into a computer to record keystrokes) are more achievable in public spaces, since an adversary has easier access to the physical hardware than in a private space. Other threats, such as web-based profiling that mine troves of user data as they browse the internet, are harder to defend against on public computers because the tools that users have to defend themselves are harder to bring to bear in a public setting. A team of researchers at the University of Kansas has coined the term “digitally homeless” to describe this population’s experiences. Led by Bill Staples, professor of sociology and director of the Surveillance Studies

Research Center; Perry Alexander, AT&T Foundation distinguished professor of electrical engineering & computer science and director of the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center; and Drew Davidson, assistant professor of electrical engineering & computer science, the team has recently been awarded a new grant from the National Science Foundation titled “Safeguarding and Enhancing the Experience of Public Internet Users,” funded through NSF’s Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace program. The two-year, $516,000 grant will support research about how public internet users navigate the internet and what security threats they face. One outcome of this work will be development of a device the team calls PUPS—public user privacy and security—an isolated, portable, virtual computing environment on a USB stick. It will provide a “digital home” to users, giving them a functional, seamless computing experience from one session and device to the next. “The goal of our collaboration is to identify the relational points where computing challenges and social and economic vulnerabilities intersect,” says Staples, the lead investigator. “Our aim is to develop inexpensive, easily replicated, and scalable technology that could be adopted widely by public libraries in many different communities to address the security and functional challenges of digital homelessness.” The proposal continues research that Staples and Alexander have been conducting with support from the NSF since 2017. With that NSF grant, “Digital Inequalities

ARTICLE BY Carolyn Caine, Institute for Policy & Social Research

PHOTOGRAPH Polina Zimmerman

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Helping the Digitally Homeless


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in the Heartland: Exploring the Information Security Experiences of Marginalized Internet Users,” Staples and Alexander and their team studied how people use public library computers in two diverse communities in northeast Kansas, then developed a prototype of PUPS. Staples, Alexander, and Davidson will expand and diversify their research on public library computer users, working in new locations to observe and interview library patrons and staff. In addition, the team will conduct experiments to learn about the security and surveillance threats that these users face. For example, public computers are usually wiped between sessions, deleting cookies that track users during browser sessions. But it may be the case that they are identified across different use sessions through server-side browser tagging. “When someone visits a website, many details of the browser are sent along to that site so it can render appropriately. For example, the browser will send the size of the window, which the site might use to give a simplified ‘mobile’ version of the site. For another, the site can learn the fonts that the user has installed to make sure that the page looks as intended,” Comi says. ”While these features allow websites to personalize the page for the purposes of functionality, the diversity of configurations means each browser reports a semiunique tag. This tag could allow a website to effectively profile users. As a hypothetical example, a job site could be made to show completely different postings to a browser matching the public library’s configuration than it serves to others,” he says. This practice allows targeted

marketing and user optimization, and it may also allow for surveillance of users and discrimination based on user profiles. The team will then further develop the PUPS device, and distribute it at research sites to monitor use and evaluate its usability and efficacy. “The PUPS has the potential to offer a new resource to a particularly vulnerable population. We’ve designed the PUPS prototype specifically with the digitally homeless in mind, offering the benefits of a personal computer while taking advantage of public computer infrastructure. The advantage of an interdisciplinary collaboration like this one is that we can refine the prototype in a way that’s very responsive to our target population’s needs through continued study,” Davidson says. Their research will yield an open-source device for public computer users to maintain privacy settings, software, and secure passwords from session to session. The team also will contribute to the currently limited academic literature on digitally disenfranchised people. In addition to Staples, Alexander, and Davidson, students will be supported by the grant and gaining invaluable research experience. Contributing graduate researchers have included Comi, Walter Goettlich, Sarah Smith, and Marissa Wiley. The work of the project will be supported by KU’s Institute for Policy & Social Research, whose staff managed the previous grant, assisted with development of this proposal, and will manage this grant.


PHOTOGRAPH Pexels.com


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hen stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are completely lifted, many restaurants will reopen. When it’s back to business as usual, chances are that some of that food will be thrown out. A partnership among University of Kansas researchers, students, local restaurants and community agencies is still working to reduce food waste and food insecurity and will be ready once restaurant business returns. The researchers hope to expand the project to more restaurants and eventually make the results available as a template that communities across the country could adapt to meet their own needs. The group collaborated to determine what consumers and restaurants know about food waste, what can be donated, and how to help educate businesses and the public to keep food out of dumpsters and onto the plates of those who need it most. The partnership has developed

a strategies to help all sides reduce waste and will test it later this year when restaurants reopen at full capacity. Susan Harvey, assistant professor of health, sport & exercise sciences at KU, teaches a class that took on a food waste reduction program as a community engagement project. “One of the biggest findings was there was a lot of finger pointing coming from both sides,” Harvey says. “Consumers blamed restaurants, and the restaurants said, ‘We see what our customers are throwing out.’ It turns out it’s actually pretty equal on where the waste comes from.” The second major finding was that restaurant –Ryan Bowersox owners and employees had little awareness of tax incentives designed to encourage donation of unused food, or of laws that protect them from liability when donating food. In 1996, then-President Bill Clinton signed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which encourages donation to nonprofit organizations

“Food donations are up, but we are in a time of crisis. I want people to remember that this is a year-round, lifetime reality for a lot of our clients, and not just in a time of crisis. We will continue to educate, and, now that folks have felt it themselves, maybe they will hear it more loudly.”

ARTICLE BY Mike Krings, KU News Service

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Food Insecurity


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while minimizing donor liability. Concern about liability was commonly cited as a reason restaurants were hesitant to donate food that was prepared but not eaten. Given the findings, a group of graduate students set out to educate both groups. “We figured we could start with the restaurants. One of the questions we asked was ‘Would you be interested in learning more about reducing food waste?’ and overwhelmingly they said yes,” Harvey says. The class then partnered with several organizations, including the Kansas Department of Health & Environment, Just Food, the Douglas County Food Policy Council, several Lawrence-based restaurants, Lawrence Restaurant Association, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, Downtown Lawrence Inc., the Lawrence Solid Waste Division, and local farmers. Together, they are working to design posters for restaurants to display for employees containing information about what food can be donated, who it can be donated to, answers to frequent questions, and contact information for local authorities who can answer questions. They also learned restaurants did not want a “toolkit,” meaning a binder that would be read once and forgotten, or a website that could be difficult to find or also forgotten. Posters, then, were a good solution.

“The restaurants were doing their due diligence on reusing food when possible,” Harvey says. “They often didn’t realize, though, there was the donation side, or that there was the composting and animal reuse side, which is where farmers come in. When people think of a toolkit, it’s often something you read once and then it gathers dust. This is something we hope people will be able to use every day and apply continuously to their businesses.” The COVID-19 outbreak has forced restaurants to close or reduce their offerings to delivery or carry out, but the project will continue. The posters were delivered to restaurants this summer, and pilot testing began as restaurants slowly reopened. The pilot project’s goal is to gauge the efficacy of the measures, if donations go up, what restaurants and employees learn about donations, waste reduction and food insecurity, and how the resource can be improved. The plan is then to move to the consumer side, educating consumers on reducing food waste through table tents, fliers delivered with checks, and similar measures. Tyler Lindquist, co-chair of the Douglas County Food Policy Council, says the ongoing coronavirus crisis makes clear the importance of reducing food waste and addressing food insecurity while getting food to people who need it most. The council’s FORWARD working

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are now in need of food assistance. They may see the benefit that food recovery can have for themselves and their families and feel more buy-in to participating when things are back to normal,” says Sarah Hartsig, community health planner with Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health. “And, because restaurants are reducing their capacity or closing, many have unused stocks of food that can be donated. Hopefully, we can build relationships during this time that will continue to pave the way for food recovery later.” Even before restaurants were forced to close, they committed to reducing food waste and improving ways to get it to those who need it most. Now that many families are struggling, the work is especially important and may take on a new urgency for people who may be facing food insecurity for the first time. “I believe that this will change the idea of what being food insecure or secure means to folks, and how easily and quickly it can happen,” says Ryan Bowersox, Just Food director of marketing and outreach. “Food donations are up, but we are in a time of crisis. I want people to remember that this is a year-round, lifetime reality for a lot of our clients, and not just in a time of crisis. We will continue to educate, and, now that folks have felt it themselves, maybe they will hear it more loudly.”

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group (FOod Recovery, WAste Reduction and Diversion) aims to address food waste in the community and joined the partnership to do so. “Just Food has already seen a 283-percent increase in new client applications, and that number will likely increase as the economic effects of COVID-19 take hold,” Lindquist says. “Being able to divert healthy foods to those most vulnerable and in need should be a high priority for this community, and I hope our efforts eventually become a model for communities across the country. Bottom line, many city and rural residents are going hungry, and we need to focus on better ways of not only decreasing the amount of food going to the landfill, but also, and more importantly, addressing source reduction and strengthening our means of diverting healthy foods to organizational partners for distribution to those in need.” The closure of restaurants has meant many employees who will be implementing the measures are themselves facing food insecurity. Continuing the efforts during days of social distancing and uncertainty will likely pay off even more when dining out becomes a part of regular life again. “Many restaurants have employees who have reduced hours or who are now out of their jobs who


Relevant Recording New album, featuring KU bands and choirs, articulates hope for ‘Freedom from Fear.’

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DR and democratic socialism. Immigration and the human rights of people forced to flee across borders and oceans. What makes a heartwrenching photo go viral. The issues that inspired and, in turn, are raised by the new album “Freedom from Fear” (Naxos, 2020) featuring the University of Kansas bands and choirs are torn from the headlines of recent years.

ARTICLE BY Rick Hellman, KU News Service

“It was three years ago that we were in the process of conceptualizing it, and two years ago that we premiered it,” KU’s Director of Bands Paul Popiel says. “But every day the headlines come through, and I think this has not faded from national or international relevance. You always wonder what the staying power of a piece of art might be when political times change. But so far, it has been just as relevant.”


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OPPOSITE Members of the KU Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble I were joined by several soloists and conducted by Paul Popiel in April 2018 at the Kennedy Center for the premiere of “Freedom from Fear.” TOP Paul Popiel

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site visit to the Kennedy Center, the best space happened to be the Eisenhower Theater. And Jim couldn’t help but think it was providential that a group from Kansas, coming to do a symphony about the immigration crisis, would be performing it in the Eisenhower Theater at the Kennedy Center. So that’s how that happened.” Given the huge investment of time and logistics required to bring together the various student ensembles along with the instrumental and vocal soloists, Popiel says, he came to believe there was a need to record the symphony’s performance. And officials of Naxos, the world’s premier classical music record label, expressed interest in releasing a recording as soon as they heard about the project. Since the recording session nearly two years ago, there were months of editing and mixing the recording, after which it entered Naxos’ queue for a March 27, 2020, release. In Walczyk’s symphony, both Alan Kurdi and his mother come back to life, singing of their faith and their love for one another. They are voiced, respectively on the recording, by soprano and KU graduate Gretchen Pille and a then-14-year-old Lawrence resident, Ashton Rapp. In the final movement—“Sea Crossings, Mother of Exiles”—the mother’s voice merges with that of the Statue of Liberty. “When Kevin was waist-deep into the piece, there was not a planned appearance for the Statue of Liberty,” Popiel says, “until a very high-ranking federal official made some disparaging comments about the huddled masses and the type of people we don’t want coming in as immigrants. That inspired Kevin to reinvest in the dream of what the Statue of Liberty represents and the Emma Lazarus poem on its base. It ended up being quoted and sung, so the soprano transforms from the Syrian mother to later singing the inscription from the Statue of Liberty.” Popiel is pleased with how the performances and the recording of them turned out. “Very few other universities would try to do something like this, but we’ve taken it a step further and recorded it as a commercial disc released worldwide,” he says. “I think (that) speaks to the depth and strength of the music program at KU. ... We’re hoping for a Grammy nomination.”

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/ PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM OPPOSITE) Andy White / KU Marketing Communications, David McKinney/KU Office of University Relations

In addition to guiding all aspects of KU’s School of Music band program, Popiel conducts the KU Wind Ensemble, the featured group on “Freedom from Fear.” The recording also includes KU’s Men’s Chorus, Jazz Ensemble I, and several soloists. “Freedom from Fear” draws its title from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1941 Four Freedoms speech as well as the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in which it is enshrined. “It started with a good friend and donor to the university, James Zakoura, and his organization Reach Out Kansas,” Popiel says. “Jim has sponsored and supported several major pieces in the past several years. He’s an attorney and a music lover. Although his family is Middle Eastern and mine is Polish, we share a common story—like almost all of us here in America—of immigration to the United States. So in light of the immigration crisis, we started to talk about manifesting that in a musical project.” What brought the idea to a head was the 2015 viral photo of a Syrian war-refugee child named Alan Kurdi, who, along with his father, drowned trying to reach Turkey. His body had washed up, face down on a beach. “In so many ways, it told one of the common threads of this immigration crisis,” Popiel says. “That resonated with Jim and me. So we connected with a composer friend of mine, Kevin Walczyk, and ended up commissioning him to write a piece. “Kevin was interested in telling this story with a wide lens that included the Syrian immigration crisis ... but relating it to the forced removal of any (person) from their homeland to a foreign place. That’s why the piece has elements of Syrian folk song and blues and these wideranging things. But the unifying theme is immigration.” The full recording includes three works. In addition to Walczyk’s nearly 40-minute, four-movement Symphony No. 5, “Freedom from Fear—Images from the Shoreline,” the other tracks are David Maslanka’s “Liberation” and Aaron Perrine’s “In the Open Air, in the Silent Lines.” The performances were recorded at the Lied Center of Kansas just before the symphony premiered April 29, 2018, at the Kennedy Center. “Zakoura thought it needed to be premiered in a place that would deliver a message,” Popiel says. “On our


Activists Focus on Food

Book, co-edited by KU professor, examines Indigenous food sovereignty.

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ustainability. Locally sourced. Farm-to-table. These are familiar concepts to Americans who are hoping to improve their eating habits. But the term that Indigenous food activists are also adopting is “food sovereignty,” which refers to healthy and culturally appropriate food generated by a community that oversees the entire process, from production to trade to sustainability. For Devon Mihesuah, a member of the Choctaw Nation, food sovereignty has taken on an even more personal meaning. “Tribes are not sovereign and probably never will be. But we still like this term because that is our great goal: to

ARTICLE BY Jon Niccum, KU News Service

have complete control over production of our food, our environment, and our politics,” she says. Mihesuah, the Cora Lee Beers Price teaching professor in international cultural understanding at the University of Kansas, has collaborated with Elizabeth Hoover of Brown University to put together a new book titled “Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States: Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments, and Regaining Health” (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019). She describes it as “the first comprehensive volume to address the social, political, economic, religious and environmental concerns associated with Indigenous food and health.”


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“Comanches, for example—my husband’s tribe—did not farm. They don’t have memories of seeds. They’re not going to thunder across the plains after bison anymore. So what should they do? What foods do they return to?” Mihesuah herself has always been healthconscious, having grown up consuming homegrown and foraged foods. “In fact, the first novel I wrote (2000’s “Roads of My Relations”) is based on family stories where the garden was meaningful, even before we (the Choctaw) were removed in the 1830s. So I have kept this same garden going, trying to emulate the one my grandparents had in Muskogee, Oklahoma. And now my kids have learned how,” she says. Part of the challenge has been getting her own community to adopt such practices, especially following decades of poor eating habits. “I’ve become a real activist against fry bread, which makes a lot of people angry,” she says. “To me, that’s a symbol of everything that is wrong with the colonized diet tribes have adopted. Obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes have taken over. It’s like a tidal wave. And if you decide you’re going to eat fry bread every day, that’s really symbolic of the problem.” Mihesuah earned her doctorate in American history from Texas Christian University. She’s written 19 books, including five novels, and served as editor of the American Indian Quarterly for nine years. A faculty member at KU since 2005, Mihesuah focuses on Indigenous methodologies and feminism, American Indian stereotypes, and violence in American Indian territory. Currently, she is also revising and expanding her first cookbook, “Recovering Our Ancestors’ Gardens: Indigenous Recipes and Guide to Diet and Fitness.” This book won a special jury award at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2005. “We want young native people and older native people to really try to revisit their traditional ways of eating and their food ways, and to engage with those within their tribe who are knowledgeable about it,” Mihesuah said. “Ultimately, I want Indigenous people to become food activists.”

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/ PHOTOGRAPHS (FROM LEFT) Shutterstock, Devon Mihesuah/John Running

In December 2019, “Indigenous Food Sovereignty” was ranked No. 1 in the university press category by Gourmand International. The book recently won the 2020 Daniel F. Austin Award from the Society for Economic Botany. And it has been included on best-of lists by High Country News, Literary Hub, and EcoWatch. The book contains 14 essays addressing topics such as revitalizing ancestral gardens, protecting hunting and gathering rights, climate change, treaty abrogation, and racism. Mihesuah wrote three of the essays. “All of the contributors are food and environmental activists, and most of them are not in academia,” she says of the book, which incorporates tribal viewpoints from across the country, including Alaska and Hawaii. Mihesuah hopes the 390-page effort will illuminate and clarify a number of issues involving Indigenous food sovereignty, not the least of which is identifying what defines Indigenous food. “The topic that goes through many of these essays is what does traditionalism mean? What is traditional food?” she says. “And for a lot of native people, that’s fry bread. So we talked about the meaning of true, traditional, pre-contact food and how that is a connection to one’s culture.” She admits it’s easier to explain what pre-contact food isn’t than what it is. “It’s not chicken, cows, sheep, goats—so we didn’t have milk, dairy, eggs, cheese. For instance, precontact foods are elk, white-tailed deer, turkeys, corn, squash, beans, and bison,” she says. While many assume native foods to be things such as okra, black-eyed peas, and watermelon, those are all African imports that accompanied the slave trade. Pawpaws, persimmons, and black walnuts that can be foraged in Kansas represent some of the actual fare. “The importance of protecting our natural resources was one of the big themes of this book. And that includes the plants we forage for,” she says. But she also notes “Indigenous” should not be confused with vegan or vegetarian. “Gardening and farming are very important, but not every tribe has an agricultural tradition,” she says.


TOP Polish Jews travel in a railway car to a death camp during World War II. Place and date unknown, via WikiCommons. BOTTOM Piekałkiewicz, back row fourth from left, stands with his squad “Krzywda” during the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944.


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“There is a similarity now to Nazi Germany because fascism, now called populism, is becoming popular all over the world again. One cannot take democracy for granted. It has to be defended.”

ARTICLE BY Jon Niccum, KU News Service

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t 93 years old, Jarosław “Jarek” Piekałkiewicz they led to an equally committed underground to combat understands he is likely the last Polish resistance such forces. The book also details his own harrowing story, fighter to write a book about his experience from the strategies of his fellow insurgents to his personal fighting Nazis in World War II. tale of survival. Piekałkiewicz, professor emeritus of political “The first German soldier—actually a military science at the University of Kansas, has spent nearly policeman—I ever saw was some time around September two decades working on “Dance with Death” (Hamilton of ’39 when they came to the estate of my grandfather Books, 2019). where I was spending the summer,” he says. “The book is about Polish Christians helping Polish “They were told somebody from the estate was Jews during the Holocaust. That sounds like a very easy shooting at German planes, which is nonsense. They thing to do, but it was came in and interviewed dangerous. For hiding Jews everybody. I was 13, and or helping Jews, it was a I was very sick because I sentence of death,” he says. injured my foot jumping Piekałkiewicz is from the trees, stupidly.” well-versed in the hazards After a few years of challenging Hitler’s under Nazi occupation, a Third Reich. His mother healthier Piekałkiewicz felt was a member of the AK compelled to take a more (the underground “Home active role opposing the Army”) who fought in the invaders. 1944 Warsaw Uprising “I was living in a small and was executed for her town in Poland (Biała –Jarosław “Jarek” activities. This family Podlaska), and myself and Piekałkiewicz tradition was one of many my cousin came to the reasons Piekałkiewicz conclusion that nothing became a resistance fighter at the age of 15. was being done against the Germans. So we organized our “Dance with Death” brings context to the events own underground. We were basically training ourselves. leading up to the 1939 invasion of Poland that sparked My cousin’s father was a military major, and he had World War II. At the time, one-third of the world’s Jews literature and all kinds of books on training,” he says. lived in this Northern European country that bordered Piekałkiewicz’s aunt, who was also a member of the Germany. Piekałkiewicz traces how right-wing fascism underground, suspected the 15-year-old was involved in and anti-Semitism were fostered in his homeland and how amateur insurrection. But the resistance was a splintered

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A Polish resistance fighter shares the history of combating fascism and saving lives during World War II.

KU

A Glimpse Behind the Lines


unit of the underground army. On August 1, 1944, the Warsaw Uprising broke out in the city. He participated and was promoted to sergeant and decorated with the Cross of Valour. After 63 days of battle, the Poles capitulated and were given the status of POWs. “My escapes? There were three,” he says, laughing. The first breakout from captivity occurred while he was being shipped by train in a commercial cattle truck modified to house prisoners. He partnered with a professional thief to cut through a small window and hid underneath the train when it made an unscheduled stop. His last escape—the most successful one—happened during a long forced march for POWs. “We slept in the forest in snow. How I survived, I don’t know. At the beginning, if you fell, they shot you,” he says. Out of the 100 men he started with, only 30 made it

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY Jaroslaw Piekałkiewicz

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operation fraught with dangers from numerous sides. (His uncle, a Polish military doctor, had already been executed by the Soviet secret police a year earlier in the Katyn massacre.) “There was one fake group organized by Germans who arrested people if they joined it. And the other was Communist, and my aunt didn’t want me to be in that one. So she incorporated my unit into the regular resistance directed by the Polish government in exile,” he says of his unnamed band numbering around 100. In 1943, the enemy arrived at his school to enslave students for work in Germany. Piekałkiewicz escaped by jumping out the window and “running like mad.” His stay in Biała was compromised because he was hunted by German police. So his family smuggled him to Warsaw, where his mother got him placed into another


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The professor considers his area of expertise to be Eastern European communist countries, totalitarian systems, and political activity, specifically ideologies. “Dance with Death” is his sixth book. As someone familiar with the machinations of fascism, what does he think about the current political situation? “Unfortunately, you can look at my book ‘Politics of Ideocracy’ (1995) in which it gives reasons to why there was Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. One of the reasons was a split in society. And one of the reasons for that is rapid technological development. And that’s what (President Donald) Trump took advantage of,” he says. “In the United States and in Europe, rapid technological advancement—which was the industrial revolution in Germany and Italy—produces a group of people who are not employable. Coal mines are not needed anymore. Gas is cheaper, and even gas is going to lose to wind and solar. These people feel they have no place in society. And society really didn’t do anything for them.” He says, “There is a similarity now to Nazi Germany because fascism, now called populism, is becoming popular all over the world again. One cannot take democracy for granted. It has to be defended.”

KU

to the end of the march—a trek of more than 500 miles. He says, “We came to the Rhine and could hear American artillery. So they turned us around. We began marching back east. I told my friend, ‘We already saw this place. This is ridiculous.’ So we took off. But I don’t think it was a very dangerous escape because the guards were not really guarding us. The war was all but over.” He spent the remaining two weeks of World War II working on farms until the Americans liberated the region. After the war, he served in the Polish II Corps (an independent part of the British Army) in its occupation of Italy. Discharged in 1949, he studied at Trinity College Dublin thanks to the British version of the G.I. Bill. Piekałkiewicz eventually immigrated with his Irish wife to the United States. He earned his doctorate from Indiana University, then came to KU in 1963 because of its Center for Soviet and East European Institute (now called the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies). He officially retired in 2000, though he kept teaching a graduate seminar for several years afterward. Interestingly, he also was doing research in Czechoslovakia when the Soviet Union attacked in 1968. “My colleague said, ‘Wherever you go, there’s an invasion,’” he says.


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Helping to fill funding gaps for projects, LaunchKU is a crowdfunding platform for the entire KU system.

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irtually every corner of KU benefits from donor contributions, from digging up dinosaur bones to planting gardens, and the crowdfunding platform LaunchKU has helped groups across the university accomplish those tasks and more. KU Endowment initiated LaunchKU in 2015 to help students, faculty, and staff at the University of Kansas raise contributions for projects with relatively modest fundraising goals and short timelines. With most campaigns ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, LaunchKU offers donors a new way to directly support the people, schools, and programs that are most meaningful to them. To date, LaunchKU has provided a fundraising platform for more than 160 projects and raised more than $1.7 million since the first campaign. The tool uses video, social media, and updates to motivate and communicate with donors. A Donor Wall recognizes gifts as they come in. The platform also creates the opportunity to attract new donors: 1,770 donors made their first gift to the university for a LaunchKU project. KU Law used the crowdfunding platform to mobilize donors around the school’s Legal Aid Clinic, surpassing the $5,000 goal with donations from more than 50 donors. The clinic, which provides free services to the community, focused on support for urgent legal needs, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status renewal and criminal record expungement. Mindie Paget, who helped coordinate the LaunchKU campaign for the law school, says the intuitive platform made it possible for her group to communicate more effectively about its cause, share success stories, and show how gifts could make a difference. “In our case, the storyline started with the real need for free legal services in our community,” she says.

ARTICLE BY Michelle Tevis, KU Endowment

“Our project was a good match for LaunchKU because it supported a cause with emotional appeal, and donors could see how gifts of any size could go a long way toward doing tangible good.” LaunchKU is available to support projects on all KU campuses, including KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. When staff at the Dietetics and Nutrition Department in the School of Health Professions wanted to plant a community garden, they turned to the online platform to encourage donors to “give up the green.” The campaign met its goal of $1,500, and Christi Jones, the administrative assistant in the department during the campaign, says the project was easy to manage. “The overall functionality was very user friendly,” Jones says. “And the LaunchKU team was always available to answer questions and help.” Other projects that raised funds with LaunchKU include the Audio-Reader Program, which provides access to information for people who have difficulty reading standard print; the archeological dig of the fossilized remains of a juvenile female Tyrannosaurus rex in Montana; and Thrive, the food pantry located at KU Medical Center. Ashley Landis, mail and online gifts coordinator for Annual Giving at KU Endowment, encourages interested schools, units, and student organizations to reach out to KU Endowment about potential crowdfunding campaigns. “The start of each semester provides an opportunity for new ideas and unique projects to launch campaigns and benefit from the assistance of LaunchKU,” Landis says. “We want to know what is happening on campus and how we can help meet these essential needs and goals.” Contact Ashley Landis at KU Endowment at 785-8457333 or alandis@kuendowment.org for questions about LaunchKU, and find out more at www.launchku.org.

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, www.spencerart.ku.edu Communications

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Launch a Campaign


KU’s Spencer Museum of Art utilized LaunchKU to help celebrate the collection’s centennial and continue the museum’s mandate to support art at the university for another century.


PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY (FROM TOP) Keen Eye Productions, www.whenistutter.org, Ana Paula Mumy

TOP Documentarian John Gomez created “When I Stutter.” BOTTOM Ana Paula Mumy (center) spoke in October at the meeting of the Brazilian stuttering association with its current president, Luiz Fernando Ferreira (left), and its founder/director, Daniela Zackiewicz (right).


Spreading the Word

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KU professor helps translate a film that aims to reduce the world-wide stigma of stuttering.

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na Paula Mumy had been a speech-language pathologist for 15 years before her child’s bout of stuttering set her career on a whole new path working on the disorder. Now a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences & Disorders at KU, Mumy is taking her interest in the treatment of stuttering across borders, drawing on her heritage as a native of Brazil to help translate a film about stuttering into Portuguese for South America’s largest market. Mumy traveled to Brazil in October 2019 to speak about and show the film “When I Stutter” at the annual conference of the Brazilian stuttering association, Abra Gagueira. While there are many theories, Mumy says the cause of stuttering is not well understood. There is treatment, however. She hopes the new movie will increase public awareness about stuttering and its effect on those who stutter. “There are a lot of myths about what causes it—that people are just putting it on, or that they can turn off a switch and stop stuttering,” Mumy says. “There’s little tolerance for it ... even from a parent’s standpoint. They just want it to go away. And if it doesn’t, there’s often a lot of guilt or shame or other emotions—both from the family perspective and the person’s perspective. So there’s a lot of emotional baggage that goes along with it, which affects their quality of life.”

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and youths who stutter. His film had premiered a few Mumy understands the bewilderment others can feel months before that and soon thereafter screened at the when they encounter a person who stutters. Kansas International Film Festival, which is when Mumy “You may not know exactly what’s happening, like, saw it for the first time. ‘Why are they repeating?’ And sometimes it manifests “I was completely wowed by it,” she says. “Not only itself in a very visible way,” she says. “They may move their does it explain the stuttering experience, it sheds light on head or their eyes, or it might even involve their hands or many aspects that aren’t as visible or understood.” a foot tapping. It can become very visually distracting and confusing for the listener, so that Finding Her Calling creates a lot of stigma.” Mumy had worked in the field of Mumy says “When I Stutter,” speech pathology for 15 years before created between 2012 and 2016 by finding her “calling” in the treatment of fellow speech-language pathologist stuttering, which is a subset of fluency and now documentarian John disorders. Gomez, goes a long way to dispelling “I had been working in the those myths. schools, ” Mumy says, “primarily with “It has been a great teaching articulation and language.” tool in various ways,” Mumy says. Because she is trilingual—English, “My students watch the film, –Ana Paula Mumy Spanish, and Portuguese—working with which gives them an immediate multilingual students became her subunderstanding of what stuttering specialty within that field. is. They see how it manifests itself, “I came to the realization when my son began to both behaviorally and emotionally, and it connects them stutter that I needed to become a student and really figure to the stuttering experience.” this out so that I could best help him,” Mumy says. “That Mumy met Gomez in 2017, at Camp Shout Out in Holton, Michigan, a residential summer camp for children was the beginning of my journey.”

“Fluency disorders [are] near and dear to my heart in a way that [they have] not been before.”


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“She founded what is essentially the Brazilian stuttering association, which is similar to the National Stuttering Association here,” Mumy says. “They have a website. They put out a lot of resources for families and professionals. They organize support groups. And then her clinic specializes in working with individuals who stutter.” It is at the meeting of that association that Mumy spoke and showed the film last October. A theater owner showed it for free on 14 screens across the country in honor of International Stuttering Awareness Day on October 22. It was also shown at Santa Casa University of São Paulo, which houses a speech-language pathology program. Mumy is pleased to help address the issue in this way in the country where she lived until immigrating to the United States at age 10. “The film has grown with support from different people,” she says. “We’re going to have different avenues to get it out there. The reason this is significant is because out of all communication disorders in Brazil, stuttering is probably the one that carries the most stigma. And it’s also largely misunderstood, like it is here.”

KU

Now Mumy is working on board certification as a fluency specialist. She went to Camp Shout Out in 2015 and 2017 as a trainee, returning as a facilitator in 2019. She also has become a leader of a local chapter of the National Stuttering Association. Mumy’s son, like 80 percent of youngsters who stutter (typical onset is between ages 3 and 5), recovered after a while. She says there is “a strong genetic component to stuttering, but also neurophysiological components,” and it apparently runs in her family, because her twin nephews still stutter at age 12. “They’re in the 20 percent of kids who will manage it for the rest of their lives,” Mumy says. She wants to help them and those like them through her work in the field. “Fluency disorders [are] near and dear to my heart in a way that [they have] not been before,” she says. By last year, “When I Stutter” had already been translated into Spanish and four other languages, so Mumy offered to help Gomez translate the film into Portuguese. The film contains subtitles, even in English, so for Mumy it was a matter of translating that text with the help of Daniela Zackiewicz, her colleague in Brazil, whom she had met through an online conference on fluency disorders.


PHOTOGRAPH Andrew Noh Photography

Life of an Activist Protests, sit-ins are all in a day’s work for Judith Heumann as she continues to fight for the rights of disabled Americans. ARTICLE BY Haines Eason


OPPOSITE Heumann with former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa.

Youth and Activist Roots Afflicted with polio at 18 months old, Heumann began using a wheelchair early in life. Her mother fought for Heumann’s right to attend kindergarten (she was denied access on the grounds that her wheelchair was a perceived fire hazard), and that fight was the first of many. In fourth grade, Heumann was allowed to attend a special school for disabled children, but city policy would have barred her from later attending high school. Heumann’s mother rallied other parents against this policy, and collectively they pressured the school district to reverse the policy. Heumann entered high school in 1961. Heumann’s activist spirit flourished in her preteen and teen years at Camp Jened, a camp for disabled youth in New York State’s Catskill Mountains. The camp fostered in Heumann and her fellow campers a sense of

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“I’m focused on stories … how we can take the stories of people and make change.”

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we’ve learned how to do things the right way,” Heumann says. “And when [students], or faculty, or staff, feel as though they are respected and regarded equally ... It’s a difficult job, but we’re able to [make strides] when the leadership in this country are willing to talk about these difficult issues.” Average people, Heumann says, do not see disability as their issue to understand or make room for; they see it as “someone else’s issue.” As a result, she says, we do not have appropriate legislation in place to ensure accessible housing, long-term care services and in-home care from appropriately compensated aides. The problems run deep, she admits, but she has hope when she looks to our universities. “I do believe our universities are an important source of knowledge, and these discussions [on opportunities for the disabled], because ultimately they are community discussions, really can begin to be a source of change in the next few years.” It is in these safe spaces, where knowledge can be shared and ideas challenged, that change can begin. And universities have fostered great changes in society; however, Heumann says there is more to do, and that work begins at the personal level. Asked what is one thing she would change in this world if she could, she immediately responded with “hatred.” “Hatred is the biggest issue we face. Disrespect of people,” Heumann pauses. “‘Disrespect’ is too weak a Heumann word. Disrespect because of disability or race or gender or religion or what part of the country you grew up in or whatever the particular issue is. I really think this is where we need to be rushing [to see change], not even moving, rushing.”

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udith Heumann is a force of nature. At 72, she is vivacious and passionate about her life’s work. Bespectacled, with a broad, welcoming smile and laugh to match, Heumann is that activist aunt you wish you had, one who is well traveled and who has both protested in the streets and worked for presidents. Heumann has been an activist her entire life, and she is a central — if not the most important — American figure in the fight for the rights of disabled individuals. Her actions were vital to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, and her later work in the Clinton and Obama administrations resulted in an increased focus on disability rights in international development work. When asked in a recent interview what has ensured the success of the ADA, Heumann pointed to the American legal code itself and noted how far ahead the U.S. higher educational system is in some respects when compared to international peer educational systems. According to the U.S. Department of State, the ADA was the first such legislation globally, and it has had an enormous impact around the world. “Our disability rights movement, the laws that we have in place at the federal, state and local level, just getting down to the KU level, universities in the United States by and large far exceed what goes on in [many] universities around the world,” Heumann says. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (also known –Judith as the Disabilities Treaty) launched on an international level the nondiscrimination aspects of the ADA, along with equal opportunities, accessibility and inclusion for disabled people around the world. More than 160 countries joined the Treaty. After the U.S. signed the treaty, Heumann was named the special advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State. She is clear though that the credit is due to the laws more than anything else. “[Progress occurred] because of laws like Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Would the universities have been [making this progress] without the laws? I don’t think so.” Heumann reiterates that our nation’s laws that protect so many individuals from discrimination are proof of both the existence of the behaviors that they protect individuals from and a history of discrimination that past leaders had not addressed. They also draw society’s focus and highlight “what needs to be done.” “But at the end of the day we want to be living in a society where we don’t need these laws anymore because


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the first federal civil rights law to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in programs that receive federal financial assistance, set the standard for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Section 504 requires equal opportunities for children and adults in education, employment and other settings. Any organization, program or activity that receives federal financial assistance is required to comply with Section 504’s regulations, including: •

Reasonable accommodation for disabled employees;

Accessible programs;

Modifications to program communications for people with hearing and/or vision disabilities;

Inclusion of accessibility features in new construction or alterations of older structures to include those features.

Presidents Nixon and Ford stalled progress by challenging the Section 504 regulations as written and calling for study of the proposed language. Nixon went so far as to veto the legislation in October 1972 and March 1973. In 1972, the activist group Disabled in Action, led by Heumann, drew attention to the issue by staging a sit-in, stopping traffic, on Madison Avenue in New York City. Eventually, Heumann and a wide array of other activists staged the 504 Sit-in on April 5, 1977. Activists occupied San Francisco’s federal Health, Education and Welfare Building for 25 days to force the final drafting and adoption of the longdelayed 1973 Rehabilitation Act regulations.

community and belonging many had not experienced before, as well as an awareness of their shared experiences. Heumann met youth at the camp she would know and keep in touch with for years, including individuals who joined her in the disability rights movement. Camp Jened was the focus of the 2020 documentary “Crip Camp,” which also features Heumann. A Career of Change Heumann’s professional career after college began with a lawsuit. She earned a degree in speech therapy from Long Island University and pursued a license to teach in New York City in 1970. She was denied her teaching license because the Board of Education mistakenly believed she could not help her students evacuate a building in the event of a fire. Once again, she was deemed essentially a fire hazard. Heumann won a suit against the New York Board of Education and taught elementary school for three years. In the years that followed, Heumann co-founded the World Institute on Disability, directed Washington, D.C.’s Department on Disability Services, and served in the Clinton and Obama administrations as assistant secretary of education for special education and rehabilitative services. Heumann also served at the World Bank and, until April 2019, she was a senior fellow at the Ford Foundation. In February 2020, Heumann’s book, “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist” was published. She has also been featured on the “Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and in an episode of Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.” What Comes Next Asked what she is most focused on now, Heumann is quick to reply she is “never most focused on one thing.” Though when pressed to bring one thing to the top, she says, “stories.” “I’m focused on stories, on people telling their stories, on elevating people’s stories, on looking at how we can take the stories of people and make change.” Heumann was a senior fellow at the Ford Foundation in 2017 and 2018 and wrote a paper there titled “Roadmap to Inclusion: Changing the Face of Disability in Media.” She was expecting Hillary Clinton to become president and that she herself would continue working in government. That future did not arrive, and “not one to retire,” she was honored to accept the senior fellow position when the Ford Foundation reached out. Heumann advised the foundation on its internal efforts to address issues of disability across the group’s work. Her “Roadmap to Inclusion” paper investigates representations of disabled people

ABOVE Heumann and her husband, Jorge Pineda

PHOTOGRAPH Rick Guidotti

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DISABILITIES


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“You see so much more diversity, but you hardly behind and in front of the camera — in documentaries, see disabled people. And when you do, you hardly films, television programs and other media. When she see disabled people of color. So for me, that’s what I’m began the paper she started from one hard realization: focused on. My book came out in February, and I am “What I knew when I entered this was, as a disabled a part of Netflix’s ‘Crip Camp,’ so this year between the person, I don’t see myself. Or when I do see myself, it’s book and the film and the usually in a negative way.” 30th anniversary of the ADA The thought behind and the National Disability many of these representations, Judith Heumann was originally Employment Awareness Heumann says, is “I am a scheduled to visit the University Month in October, I’m doing burden on someone else” or “I of Kansas in person Oct. 28 and a lot of public speaking, am a burden on society.” But 29. The visit is now virtual and which I hope also makes change is happening. open to anyone interested in entities recognize that not Through her work, participating. The event will include only do they need to learn Heumann learned of a a keynote address, discussion of more, but there are people in burgeoning set of organizations the documentary “Crip Camp” and their communities who are created over the past several much more. Visit accessible.ku.edu/ willing to teach.” decades that advocate for judith-heumann-2020 for a full Thanks to the support of change in how minorities schedule and other information. 60 KU and community and marginalized people are partners, Judith Heumann represented in media. will visit the University of “People came together to Kansas virtually on Oct. 28 and 29. The virtual event is raise their voices to ensure people were getting trained, to open to anyone who wishes to attend. The event will get people jobs. And you can see that now. It’s not where feature a keynote, Q&A and much more. More it needs to be yet, but you can certainly see much greater information is at accessibility.ku.edu/judithdiversity in advertising. To me, advertising represents the heumann-2020. greatest change in media that has occurred in my lifetime.

It’s Personal.

www.cekinsurance.com Home & Auto


Why We Write Book project provides showcase for crafting military tales.

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uring the 1940s, the U.S. government commissioned a series of documentary films called “Why We Fight” to spur public support for World War II. Now two Army veterans have launched their own creative project titled “Why We Write: Craft Essays on Writing War” (Middle West Press, 2019). The new anthology features dozens of contributors who share their military tales and offer advice to others they hope will do the same.

ARTICLE BY Jon Niccum, KU News Service

The book is co-written and edited by Steve Leonard, a retired senior U.S. Army strategist and program director in organizational leadership at the University of Kansas, and Randy Brown, an Army veteran and former journalist. “This is a call to action for people to tell their stories,” Leonard says. “I encourage others to get over their fear of writing and just try it. Get your stories out there, because if you


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We Write”—although he pilfered the title from Leonard, whose essay originally bore that heading. Leonard said Brown did the heavy lifting in terms of editing and formatting while he primarily concentrated on recruiting the writers. Many of the contributors are members of the Military Writers Guild, a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping those who want to write about the subject. Prior to his academic career, Leonard served as an Army officer from 1987–2015, much of which was spent as a strategist. “A lot of times you just keep a strategist around because you need a big thinker. You need somebody in the room who can listen to everything that’s said, distill it down to two or three key points, and say, ‘This is what’s important,’” says the retired colonel. The Idaho native has spent the last five years at KU, where he specializes in leadership, strategy, and the science of decision-making. Leonard has provided chapters to the books “Strategy Strikes Back: How ‘Star Wars’ Explains Modern Military Conflict” and “Winning Westeros: How ‘Game of Thrones’ Explains Modern Military Conflict.” He’s the creative force behind the subversive web comic “Doctrine Man!!” and its four collected volumes. He’s also a senior fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point and co-founder of the podcast “The Smell of Victory.” “My hope is that ‘Why We Write’ inspires an entire new generation to get their stories out. We’ve all got interesting stories to tell, and it drives me crazy when I talk to somebody and they say, ‘I would like to write about this but I’m afraid to do it because I’m not a good writer,’” Leonard says. “But it’s like spinning a basketball on the end of your finger: You’re not going to get any better until you start.”

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/ PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, www.dvidshub.net

don’t, then your story ends with you. If Hemingway hadn’t told his stories, we wouldn’t know about Hemingway.” Leonard also contributes the book’s first chapter (“Get Your Legacy in Writing”), recounting how a professor convinced him to pursue English in addition to his engineering major. While this decision delayed his graduation, it also set the template for Leonard’s later pursuits, which include writing a handful of books. Aspiring essayists have far more advantages now than in previous generations, Leonard says. “The advent of social media gives you an array of tools and opportunities to tell your stories in ways earlier generations couldn’t. Now you don’t have an excuse to say, ‘I don’t want to write anything because it’ll never get published.’ Anybody can publish something,” he says. “Why We Write” assembles an impressive and diverse group of contributors. These include noted authors Max Brooks (“World War Z”), Phil Klay (National Book Award winner for “Redeployment”), and Kate Germano (“Fight Like a Girl”). “We wanted to pick out some really good exemplars,” Leonard says. “We have great stories by great storytellers, so we built around that core of writers. Then we had people who maybe weren’t as experienced or didn’t have the same level of exposure and gave them an opportunity to tell what motivates them within their particular genres.” And which essay is his favorite? “I keep coming back to Carmen Gentile’s piece (‘Some True Lies about Conflict Reporting’) just because his personal story is so absolutely fantastic. I cannot imagine having an eye shot out by an RPG in Afghanistan and being able to laugh about it. He has continued to push his craft and be a true inspiration.” Co-editor Brown came up with the concept for “Why


2021 / 2020 |

New book celebrates pervasive influence of ‘Strengths Perspective’ on social work and is available free online.

T

hirty years ago, authors in the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare published an article that formalized and named a burgeoning movement in social work: Focusing on people’s strengths to help them solve problems. Now, KU authors have edited a new book celebrating three decades of that influential model: the strengths perspective. “Rooted in Strengths: 30 Years of the Strengths Perspective in Social Work” was published in April and made available free to anyone online at kuscholarworks. ku.edu. The book, edited by Michelle Mohr Carney and Amy Mendenhall, dean and associate dean of KU’s School of Social Welfare, gathers chapters from scholars around the world in how the Strengths Perspective has influenced their research, teaching, and service. Jenni Atwood, KU School of Social Welfare research office manager, is the book’s managing editor. In 1989, former KU Social Welfare Dean Ann Weick and several colleagues published the seminal article “A Strengths Perspective for Social Work Practice.” The article reframed how social work can serve people and communities. Since its inception, social work had approached problems from a deficit mindset: assuming the problem was the main focus and prioritizing how to fix it. “The Strengths Perspective emphasizes the human capacity for resilience and resourcefulness and recognizes the need for individuals and communities to form and achieve their own goals and aspirations,” Mohr Carney and Mendenhall wrote in the preface for “Rooted in Strengths.” ARTICLE BY Mike Krings, KU News Service

“While acknowledging the difficulties that clients experience, the Strengths Perspective reframes obstacles as challenges, opportunities, and motivators for change, and places social workers as collaborators with clients, their families, and communities in the change process.” “When we realized it was the 30th anniversary of the emergence of the Strengths Perspective from within our school, we wanted to do something to mark it,” Mendenhall says. “The perspective has been so influential, we said, ‘What about a book?’ A lot of our scholars’ work is very applicable to the practice, so we wanted a book that would be available to anyone.” The editors collaborated with KU Libraries, widely recognized as leaders in open access to research. The libraries are making the book available for free online. They are also partnering with Jayhawk Ink, a bookstore in the Kansas Union, to make print copies available for purchase on demand. The book’s publication was also celebrated as part of KU’s Social Work Day, an online conference held this past April. “KU Libraries have a strong tradition of supporting open access to research. In keeping with that tradition, the Digital Publishing Services unit is pleased to help our colleagues at the School of Social Welfare make this book a reality,” says Marianne Reed, digital initiatives manager for KU Libraries. “By making it publicly available online through KU ScholarWorks—at no cost to readers—this important research will be accessed and read all over the world.”

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY KU News Service

34 | TOM ORROW & TO DAY KU

Rooted in Strengths: 30 Years Later


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The book opens with a reprinting of the seminal article, including a reflection from Charles Rapp, one of the original authors and a former faculty member in the KU social welfare school. Authors then share how the Strengths Perspective has influenced and guided them in their work. In four sections, authors write about the perspective in education, macropractice, micropractice, and in practice with specific populations. The book’s section on education features chapters on how it has influenced teaching and how teachers can use the perspective to focus on their students’ strengths in maximizing their education. The macropractice section discusses how the perspective can be used when working with large groups such as governmental agencies and companies, as well as in policy and advocacy work. The micropractice section discusses the perspective’s role in working with people one-on-one, and the final section examines how it can be used with specific populations. For example, Megan Paceley, assistant professor of social welfare at KU, contributed a chapter on shifting from a focus on risks among rural LGBTQ+ youths. “The Strengths Perspective is a very broad scope people can use to frame their work in a wide array of ways,” Mendenhall says. “We wanted to capture that. It’s one of the first things students learn in a social work program now, but it didn’t used to be that way. Our school had a key role in formalizing it and then disseminating it through research and practice in the field. We’re very proud of that.”

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OISHII THE HISTORY OF SUSHI

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY Eric Rath

E R I C C. R AT H

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Funazushi sellers await customers; Eric Rath’s new book, “Oishii: The History of Sushi,” will be published at the end of the year; Funazushi with roe; a Funazushi sandwich with Havarti cheese; the publication “Gastronomica”; and author Eric Rath.


ARTICLE BY Jon Niccum, KU News Service

2021 / 2020 | TOM ORROW & TO DAY

“I grew up in a very similar area and had to go to a breakfast club like in the movie—although it was all guys,” he says. “Yet that iconic sushi scene stuck with me when one of the other characters says, ‘You won’t accept a guy’s tongue in your mouth, and you’re going to eat that?’ I was in high school and thought, ‘Oh, we have to try this.’” So he convinced a friend to join him for sushi at a nearby restaurant. “We got it, and it was beautiful. And we looked at each other and didn’t know what to do. ‘How did we eat this?’ Fortunately, the waiter came over and politely explained,” he says. America’s ignorance about this cultural dish still lingers 35 years later. “People assume sushi means raw fish, and that’s incorrect in a lot of ways because it doesn’t necessarily have to be fish. And the fish we get is not raw; it’s been frozen. It has to be frozen for quite a long time at quite a low temperature—according to law—to kill parasites. So it’s not exactly ‘fresh,’” he says. A KU professor for more than 20 years, Rath has written extensively about Japanese food and culture, including the books “Japan’s Cuisines: Food, Place and Identity,” “Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan,” and “Japanese Foodways, Past and Present” (with Stephanie Assmann). He teaches a KU course on the history of sushi. Rath plans on incorporating his funazushi experience into a section of an upcoming book focusing on the history of sushi. “Oishii: The History of Sushi” (Reaktion Books) will be available at the end of the year. The cover image is a 1983 painting by KU emeritus professor Roger Shimomura, ‘Dinner Conversation with Nancy,’ which can be seen in the Spencer Museum of Art’s collection. “As a historian of food, I can do things other people can’t do,” says Rath, who spoke at the University of Toronto in March about taste in food history. “If I was studying battles, I could only walk the battle site to get a feel for it. But I can actually try stuff that is still around. Taste adds another dimension to our understanding if we can integrate that into our academic work.” He’s not done seeking out unusual Japanese fare. Rath says, “There’s a type of sushi in Wakayama Prefecture that uses a fish called Pacific Saury. There’s this version that’s 30 years old, in which the sushi and the rice (are allowed to age for that long to) become practically a liquid. It was on the menu at a restaurant I went to. But I just … couldn’t. Now I have another reason to come back.”

KU

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ric Rath will never forget the time he tried an oversized candy sucker when he was a child. “I remember popping it in my mouth and feeling it totally overwhelm me with its sour flavor. But there was a hint of sweetness,” says Rath, a professor of history at the University of Kansas. “Take that hint of sweetness away, and you have funazushi.” That’s how he describes the taste of this legendary delicacy with origins dating to the eighth century. His quest to eat it is documented in “Some Tasting Notes on Year-Old Sushi: Funazushi, Japan’s Most Ancient and Potentially Its Most Upto-Date Sushi.” The article appears in the Spring 2020 issue of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food Studies. During a 2019 research trip to Japan, Rath headed to the Shiga Prefecture, centrally located by the country’s enormous Lake Biwa. He vowed to spend several days consuming as much of the dish as possible. Funazushi, a fermented food made with the lake’s crucian carp, is often described as “Japan’s most ancient form of sushi.” Yet it’s also gained a reputation for its “disagreeable” taste. “I saw one 2015 survey that said only 5.9 percent of people in Japan had ever tried funazushi. Despite being the most representative ‘local sushi’ out there, you have to actually go to the place to try it,” he says. “But no one talks about the taste, which made me very curious. It’s either they don’t want to discuss it out of fear of offending somebody or they never tried it themselves.” As for the flavor that conjured memories of giant sour candy from his youth, the Chicago-area native describes the “mouthfeel as having a sausage texture.” A cheesy aftertaste ranges from a cheddar to a blue cheese. “I grew up in the Midwest eating summer sausage, and somehow this sensation of summer sausage and cheese was nostalgic for me,” he says. He claimed some of the preparations of the dish were indeed off-putting. However, one little family restaurant called Biwako Daughters took a funazushi slice, combined it with Havarti cheese, and served it on Italian bread. “That was a game-changer in my view,” he says. “It was remarkable and without any sourness, either.” Rath’s first introduction to sushi was courtesy of the 1985 teen comedy “The Breakfast Club.” It features a scene where the preppy character played by Molly Ringwald brings a sushi lunch to her weekend detention.

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KU prof’s quest to taste world’s oldest sushi reveals clash of ancient and modern traditions.

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Unique Taste Sensation


PHOTOGRAPHS Abbi Kaye Craig

TOP Shelby Gayre swings for the fence. BOTTOM Coach Jennifer McFalls makes a visit to the mound.


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39 | TOM ORROW & TO DAY

Olympian sets new baseline for KU softball team.

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t the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, the USA softball team had lost three games in a row— something unexpected of the “very dominating” team. “I think when we lost the first two games, we just realized that we’ve got to do whatever it takes to find a way to win,” says Jennifer McFalls, University of Kansas head softball coach. “I don’t think [there was] anyone on our team [who] was selfish or started to worry about their own personal performance.” Rather, the women drew closer to figure out next steps to bring home the gold. “I remember standing on second base when we only had one out,” McFalls says, “and we were actually already in the bottom of eighth inning playing, so we had gone into extra innings. At that point, it was just like—all I can say is I feel like I can still hear it quietly in my mind that moment, what it felt like—the power of believing in each other that was so incredible.” McFalls helped secure the team’s gold medal victory, and two years ago, the Olympian brought the tactics that pushed the 2000 team to gold to the Jayhawks.

ARTICLE BY Kari Williams

When she joined the KU coaching staff in 2018, the softball team had a 27–25 overall record and a 2–16 conference record. McFalls says she has been proud of how the team has been “all in and really coachable.” They have been open to change, but also have a “big voice, and it needs to be heard,” according to the coach. It’s important, McFalls says, to help the team understand the “why” behind her approach. “We put together a really, really tough schedule this past year,” she says. “When the girls started realizing they’re not so far off, their confidence just grew every day.” Shelby Gayre, last year’s starting pitcher, blew out her elbow during McFalls’ first year, but McFalls says that when Gayre returned, she was “so committed.” “Her leaps that she made in a short period of time were amazing,” McFalls says, “and I just admire and respect her commitment to discipline.” Gayre says McFalls brought a competitive edge to the team, paired with a community of togetherness. “I think she also is trying to have a culture of family,” Gayre says, “and it wasn’t like that before.” McFalls’ Olympic background, Gayre says, is like

KU

Eat, Sleep, Softball


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Becoming a Jayhawk McFalls says her addition to the softball program was “perfect timing.” She had been mulling her next career move after the head coach at her previous college, the University of Texas, retired. “It just felt like it was a great challenge and opportunity to really [help] improve this program,” McFalls says. And the women at KU, according to McFalls, were “really hungry to improve.” Miranda Rodriguez, who plays second base, says McFalls has done a good job “creating and cultivating a family atmosphere.” “Even when we’re not together out

on field, we find way to be with teammates one way or another,” Rodriguez says. The former Olympian also brings her work ethic to the team—and the motivation to succeed, Rodriguez says. While the record books might not show the best statistics for McFalls’ first year (15–36 overall, 3–15 conference), Rodriguez says their actual play time reflected differently. “I think we’ve improved a lot [since she] came in,” Rodriquez says. “We didn’t have best record on the field [our] first year with her. If you were to come out every single game, you wouldn’t have thought the record portrayed how we were.” While the results might not have always been what the team wanted, McFalls says, their confidence grew by “leaps and bounds.”

PHOTOGRAPHS Abbi Kaye Craig

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“bragging rights” and brings respect to the team. “It’s just really cool to see what she’s going to do … in the next few years she’s here and further on down the road,” Gayre says.

LEFT Gayre fields a hit as a teammate moves in for an assist if needed. RIGHT A team conference with Coach McFalls.

10 Women’s sports (basketball,

cross country, golf, rowing, soccer, softball, swim and dive, tennis, track and field, volleyball)

244 Female

athletes on 2020–21 rosters

24 Female coaches

in women’s sports for the 2020–21 seasons

7 KU women’s basketball

regular season conference titles; KU soccer appearances in the NCAA tournament

13 KU women’s

basketball NCAA tournament appearances

9 WNBA

5 KU women’s tennis conference

singles and doubles championships; women’s track and field athletes who have competed in the Olympics

players to come from KU

6 Number of Big 8 tournament victories for KU women’s basketball; KU women’s soccer All-Americans

SIDEBAR SOURCE KU Athletics, KU History, KU Library

KU WOMEN’S ATHLETICS BY THE NUMBERS


Post-Olympic Career After the Olympics, other opportunities like commentary and sideline reporting came her way, but McFalls said that those positions didn’t feel right. She then had the opportunity to coach at an all-girls private school in Dallas. “They were highly educated, and none of them were going to go off and play softball in college,” McFalls says. “There wasn’t an expectation to build a championship team.” Even so, through her coaching, the team made its way to conference championships in her first year. “It was so rewarding to know I could impact those girls … It wasn’t about winning,” she says, “It all goes back to not having self-doubt.” From there, she coached at a larger high school in Texas, then the University of Texas under Connie Clark. “I admired her passion, and her philosophy was amazing,” McFalls says, “and she taught me so much about how to be a great coach, how to be patient, but yet how to truly lead by example.” When Gayre returned from her injury, she says it was McFalls’ encouragement and advice that helped her through. “When I was coming back last year, I was super frustrated all the time because my mind was there with softball, but my body couldn’t catch up just yet,” Gayre says. Her coach’s leadership, according to Gayre, has taken the team to another level. And because of McFalls, Gayre says she believes the team will compete in the World Series. “She knows that we have the potential, and [she] believes and trusts in us so we can believe in ourselves to get to that next level,” Gayre says. Looking forward, McFalls says her goal for the team is that they become more competitive every season and become a top-ranked team in the Big 12. “Probably one of the most difficult things for athletes in general is self-doubt,” McFalls says, “especially female athletes … When you’re competing at a level, whether it’s collegiately or at the Olympic level, you’ve got to constantly believe that you will find a way to persevere through any call that might present.”

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1912: The Women’s Athletic Association was organized. 1968: Women’s sports began at KU: basketball, softball, volleyball, swimming, gymnastics, and field hockey. 1974: The first year coaches for women’s teams were paid. 1975: KU offered the first athletic scholarships to women, and women’s track became a varsity sport. 1979: Men’s and women’s athletic departments merged. 1980: Beth Miller founded the KU women’s soccer club. 1995: Women’s soccer became a varsity sport.

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1903: KU Director of Physical Education James Naismith began coaching intercollegiate women’s basketball. Even with a 6–2 record that year, the team did not play again. It would be more than six decades before women’s basketball returned.

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1893: Female students had the opportunity to participate in physical training.

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Finding the Olympic Dream McFalls’ interest in softball started with family members though it wasn’t until her early teens that she began playing competitively. Olympic goals didn’t surface until her junior year of college in 1993—the same year she made AllAmerican at Texas A&M University. Softball did not become an Olympic sport until 1996. “There was so much buzz about it in ’93, ’94,” McFalls says. “One of my assistant coaches one day asked if I had considered trying out for the team. Fortunately, I did get an invite, and was playing nationally and doing the things that I think I needed to do to get the exposure.” She was named an alternate to the 1996 Olympic team and used that opportunity to learn and observe. “I just fell in love with the game even more from a whole other level of competition,” McFalls says. She then played on the USA National team for four years, putting her in a good position to try out for the 2000 Olympic team. “I was just getting the opportunity to go out and be a part of something that was so much bigger than anything I dreamed about in terms of sports,” she says, “being able to represent the United States at the highest level.” At that point, there weren’t a lot of female role models, but softball was becoming a “big buzz,” she says. “I think more than anything, you started asking yourself what [do] you want your legacy to be?” McFalls says, “and to have the opportunity to really impact our sport, impact so many young, little girls [who] started to have dreams of playing at the next level was just huge.”

AN EARLY HISTORY OF KU WOMEN’S ATHLETICS

KU

“I’m just really happy with where we’ve gotten so far in two seasons,” McFalls says.


KU’s Alonzo Jamison (24) in action vs Duke at Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, during the 1991 NCAA National Championship.


For the 30th anniversary, we revisit the spectacular 1990–91 basketball season for the KU Jayhawks.

PHOTOGRAPH Getty Images/John W. McDonough

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t’s been 30 years since the 1990–91 University of Kansas basketball team captured the minds and hearts of Jayhawk fans with its inspiring play and a magical and improbable run to the national championship game. Coach Roy Williams, in his third year at Kansas, had emerged as one of the nation’s best young coaches. The previous season, Williams led KU to a 30–5 record with Kansas ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the polls for 13 straight weeks. However, entering the 1990–91 season, few experts predicted Williams to win big. KU had lost four starters and was unranked entering the year. Williams knew there were several question marks. “Losing the players that we did, it would be hard to match the performance of last year’s team,” he said in preseason. “There is a lot of uncertainty. How will some players respond to playing 25–30 minutes a game after playing 10–15 minutes a game last season? We need significant contributions from [sophomore point guard] Adonis Jordan, [junior forward] Alonzo Jamison, [senior guard] Terry Brown and others.

ARTICLE BY David Garfield

2021 / 2020 |

43 | TOM ORROW & TO DAY

TOP

KU

MEMORABLE RUN TO THE


2021

“Nobody cared who’s getting all the credit, it was all about winning games,” says Richey, who works from home in Olathe as a territory account manager for Core4 Technologies, a manufacturer rep agency in the electrical industry. “When you get 10, 12 people like that together, all on the same page, good things usually happen.” After its 10-game winning streak, Kansas lost three of its last six games entering the NCAA Tournament. However, KU captured a share of the Big Eight title [10–4] with Oklahoma State, Williams’ first at Kansas. With the late-season struggles, Kansas wasn’t expected to create damage entering the Big Dance, where the 22–7 Jayhawks earned a No. 3 seed in the Southeast Regional. After KU’s loss to Nebraska in the Big Eight Tournament, Randall and Maddox gave a motivational speech. “[They] basically said, ‘It doesn’t matter what’s happened throughout the season,’” Richey recalls. “‘We’re starting a whole new season now in the NCAA Tournament.’ Just kind of told everyone to refocus. Mark [said], ‘If we execute our plays and do what Coach has been telling us all year long, this stuff is going to work.’ We came together at the right time. Everyone was on the same page when the tournament started.” Brown, who works as a paraprofessional at Minnetonka [Minnesota] High School, elaborated on KU’s mindset entering the NCAA tourney.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY Kansas Athletics

/ 2020 |

44 | TOM ORROW & TO DAY KU

“Some of the newcomers are going to have to step forward. That will be key for us.” The road to Indianapolis and the Final Four had a rocky start as Kansas lost a 70–68 season opener at Arizona State. KU fell again, 88–71, at Kentucky two weeks later. KU next won five straight and eclipsed the 100-point mark three straight games. However, Kansas went 0–2 in Big Eight play with road losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State before winning 10 straight contests and climbing to No. 8 in the AP poll. It was a balanced squad with great chemistry, and the players were family both on and off the court. KU went nine deep with no player averaging more than 29.8 minutes per game. Brown [16.0 points per game] and senior center Mark Randall [15.0 ppg] led the attack. Randall finished his career as the school’s all-time leading field goal percentage leader [62.0], a mark that stood for 29 years. One of the nation’s best three-point shooters, Brown held KU’s singleseason record—111 threes—for 27 years. Rounding out the lineup was senior forward Mike Maddox, Jordan, and Jamison, who established himself as one of the best defensive players in KU history. The bench included rising freshmen Richard Scott, Patrick Richey, and Steve Woodberry, and junior guard Sean Tunstall. This wasn’t the most talented team in the Williams’ era, but they were selfless and great shooters [51.8 field goal percentage].

The 1991 University of Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team.


2021 / 2020 |

45 | TOM ORROW & TO DAY

After overcoming great odds, KU was now one of the last four teams standing with UNLV, Duke, and North Carolina in Indianapolis, Williams’ first Final Four at Kansas. In the April 1, 1991, issue of Sports Illustrated, Randall graced the cover with the headline: Can Kansas? The subheading read, “Mark Randall Leads the Cinderella Jayhawks into a Formidable Final Four.” Kansas savored every moment. “I remember getting an escort to a practice from our hotel. A cop was escorting our bus, and everybody on the highway was pulling over to let us through and all we were doing was going to practice,” says Richey, who also played in the 1993 Final Four. “It was like the president was in the bus. I got spoiled really early [as a freshman], but I didn’t take it for granted.” “It was like a dream come true,” Brown added. The first Final Four game matched Kansas and No. 4 North Carolina and coach Dean Smith, whom Williams served under as an assistant coach for 10 years. In front of 47,100 fans at the Hoosier Dome, UNC led 24–15 before a 17–1 KU run as the Jayhawks went up 43–34 at halftime. The Tar Heels rallied and trailed by just one point [58–57] before Kansas scored seven straight points in the next minute and a half and won, 79–73. KU was finally in the NCAA championship game awaiting the winner of the UNLV–Duke game. The No. 1 Runnin’ Rebels were 34–0, the defending national champions, and had won 45 straight games dating back to the previous season. “I was just so happy and ecstatic to get to the national championship game, it didn’t matter who we were going to play,” Richey says. “We were so confident as a team. We felt whoever we were going to play, we could beat them.” No. 6 Duke, which featured All-American Christian Laettner, future Hall of Famer Grant Hill, and future NBA point guard Bobby Hurley, upset Vegas and marched to the national title game against No. 12 KU. In college basketball’s biggest game of the year with 30.4 million household viewers [the sixth-most watched college or pro basketball contest in history at the time], Duke jumped to a 7–1 lead as KU played behind for 40 minutes. Duke led 42–34 at halftime before Kansas cut the deficit to 44–40 early in the second half. The Blue Devils, though, eventually pushed the lead to 71–59, withstood a late KU rally, and won 72–65. Randall, who was named to the NCAA AllTournament Team, led KU in his college finale with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Brown added 16 points in his swan song. “We just happened to run into a Duke team that got hot from the three-point line,” Richey says. “If Billy McCaffrey doesn’t get hot [16 points], there’s a good chance we win that game.”

KU

“We went back to practice,” he says. “All that negative stuff that was going around because we got beat in the Big Eight Tournament, that fired everybody up. We corrected our mistakes, and then tried to improve on the things we needed to prepare for the tournament. We played hard every night and didn’t leave anything on the floor. The pressure wasn’t on us; the pressure was on the other teams. We didn’t have anything to lose, so why not just go out and play our hardest and see what happens, and that’s what we did.” Kansas opened the NCAA Tournament against No. 14 seed New Orleans in Louisville, Kentucky. Some observers predicted an upset, but KU prevailed in a hardfought, defensive-minded game, 54–49. Next up was No. 6 seed Pittsburgh. Kansas led by just two points at halftime, but won, 77–66, to earn a Sweet 16 berth. KU went to Charlotte, North Carolina, a homecoming of sorts for Williams, an Asheville, North Carolina, native. Kansas wasn’t given much of a chance against No. 2 seed/No. 3 ranked Indiana, but the Jayhawks stormed to a 26–6 lead en route to an easy 83–65 victory. Knight knew he couldn’t stop KU. “[Referee] John Cloughery came over to me with about five minutes gone and said there was a screw loose in the floor,” Knight told Sports Illustrated. “I said, ‘Why don’t we start over again tomorrow?’” KU was just one game from the Final Four with a battle against No. 1 seed/No. 2 ranked Arkansas and its famed “40 minutes of hell.” The Razorbacks cruised to a 12-point lead at halftime. But behind Jamison’s career-high 26 points, the Jayhawks outscored UA 58–34 in the second half and won 93–81 during one of the best KU comebacks in its NCAA history. “I was in a zone,” recalls Jamison, who works as section manager at Hallmark Cards in Lawrence. “I just felt the rim was a little bit bigger than what everybody else was looking at.” Jamison, the Southeast Regional MVP, remembers “Sean Tunstall’s three-pointer when (UA center) Oliver Miller was lying on the floor. We went up four or five and never looked back after that.” Kansas had extra incentive to beat the Razorbacks with locker room bulletin board material. “I’m disappointed,” Miller told Sports Illustrated after KU beat Indiana. “I’ve always wanted to play against a Bob Knight team. [Kansas has] good talent—I’m not going to downgrade any team or any coach—but I wanted to go out there and brutally beat [Indiana] with Arkansas-style ball. “Kansas stepped up. Now, they’re going to have to take the beating Indiana was going to take.” Richey remembers arriving back at Lawrence that night and the wild party along Jayhawk Boulevard on campus. “[They were] climbing trees and celebrating,” Richey says. “I was like, ‘Holy cow, this is a pretty big moment for all of us.’ It just kind of made it feel surreal.”


2021 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY Kansas Athletics

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Many years later, Richey still feels the pain. “It’s pretty devastating because if you win a national championship, it changes your life forever,” Richey says. “Unfortunately, to get that close and not [win], I still lose some sleep over that every now and then. I think about it pretty regularly. You never really get over it. I’ve hated Duke ever since.” Richey and KU, though, are comforted with “one of the most unbelievable runs you can have,” by beating heavyweights Indiana, Arkansas, and North Carolina ... “the accomplishments of getting that far and playing in a

national championship game and realize how special that team really was.” Thirty years after Kansas silenced the doubters, the 1990–91 team was a pivotal start of Williams’ dynasty at KU. Kansas, which went to Final Fours again in 1993, 2002, and 2003 under Williams, was the winningest team [286–60] in college basketball during the 1990s with also the best winning percentage [82.7]. The Jayhawks [27–8 that year] will never forget that magical 1990–91 season and their dramatic and unlikely journey to the Final Four in Indianapolis. “At the start of the season, we weren’t ranked in the top 25, and the expectations were a little lower,” Richey says. “But what people couldn’t really measure was the heart and resiliency of that team and everybody really understood what their role was and lived up to their roles to perfection. We had great leadership from our seniors. We believed in each other. What [we] did really well, we could execute teams to death. With great coaching from Roy Williams and [to] do what [he] was telling us to do, everything worked out great when we did that.” Richey calls playing in the Final Four and national title game one of the greatest moments of his life. “That was an experience you wish everybody in the United States would be able to go through because it is second to none, other than [the birth of] my daughter, of course,” Richey says. “All the media hype and the excitement and having millions of people watch you on TV, it’s just unbelievable.”


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