Campus Happenings

Encouraging inclusivity

LGBQT students will have more scholarship opportunities thanks to a $1 million gift from KU alumnus Chad Leat. He established the Chad A. Leat Student Scholarship in 2006 to assist students who are committed to fostering a multicultural, inclusive environment. The new contribution to the fund is one of the largest gifts to KU in support of LGBTQ students. “Being able to provide opportunities to diverse students in Kansas, and LGBT students in particular, means so much to me,” Leat said.

Designing a new degree

Beginning in the fall of 2018, the KU School of Architecture & Design will offer a new Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture & Design. This innovative interdisciplinary degree program will include classes drawn from architecture, as well as visual communications and industrial design. KU alumnus David Mourning provided lead funding for this initiative.


Advancing KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center initiatives

Several Kansas City-area community members have made a combined gift commitment of $1.4 million to the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center to expand its research and double its capacity for clinical trials. The gifts will enable the KU center and its partner, the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation, to collaborate to prevent and cure the disease. 

Donors are The Gary Dickinson Family Foundation of Kansas City, Mo., John and Marny Sherman of Kansas City, Mo., and Bradley and Elizabeth Bergman of Overland Park. The gifts move the KU center closer to its goal of $2.1 million to fully fund these initiatives. Fundraising for the initiatives is ongoing. 

“Because of the generosity of donors, we are moving more quickly to a cure for those with the disease and to the day when we can work to stop it before it even starts,” said Jeffrey Burns, M.D., co-director of the center.

Gift for law scholarship and College research fund

KU alumnus William “Brad” Bradley made a $2 million gift commitment that will establish the Bradley Family Scholarships for law students and the Bradley Family Research Excellence Fund, which will grant awards to faculty in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences whose interdisciplinary research programs involve undergraduates. “It would have been very difficult for me to have done as well as I have without a college education and a legal education,” Bradley said. “And when you’ve done well, you’d like to make a contribution that would help others do well.”

Supporting student travel, naturally

KU alumna Tracy Ashlock made a $1 million gift commitment to provide international travel opportunities for students in the environmental studies department. She was inspired to create the Tracy Ashlock Environmental Studies Travel Endowment because it mixes her two biggest passions — travel and the environment. “Figure out what your passions are, regardless of your job,” Ashlock said. “Let them guide your philanthropic decisions.”

There’s no debate: team is no. 1

KU seniors Quaram Robinson and Will Katz ended the regular season as the top-ranked individual team in the country in the final College Debate Ratings. The team compiled an overall record of 55 wins and eight losses and won three tournament championships. The KU debate squad as a whole also is currently ranked second in the country in the NDT Varsity point rankings. 

Teaming up for cancer research

Last October, The University of Kansas Cancer Center joined forces with The V Foundation for Cancer Research, ESPN and the Kansas City Chiefs in the fight against cancer. Donors through LaunchKU raised over $68,000 and enabled the KU Cancer Center to secure a $100,000 challenge grant to help emerging researchers in their local communities. The Chiefs and the Hunt Family Foundation also contributed $50,000. The funding is being used to support Mary Markiewicz, Ph.D., who is conducting immunotherapy research. The unique collaboration marked the first time the V Foundation partnered with an NFL team to advance the goal of achieving victory over cancer.

Biotech education grows at KU Edwards Campus

KU is expanding its role in filling the need for biotechnology talent and students’ interest in the field. The KU Edwards Campus launched the undergraduate biotechnology program less than two years ago to prepare students for a range of biotechnology careers and is celebrating the opening of a new laboratory this spring. The lab was designed for dual use as a classroom and a laboratory and gives students unmatched opportunity for hands-on experience. 

“Both of our sons are in the engineering school. I want to further STEM initiatives.”
Jill Jenia, bachelor’s in personnel administration 1984
Leawood, Kan.

“This is intended to benefit the Watkins-Berger scholarship, which enabled me to attend KU many years ago.”
Linda Rhoads, bachelor’s in personnel administration 1971
Rockville, Md.

“Our gift is for thyroid cancer research in honor of our daughter, Mikayla, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years ago. She is doing amazing.”
Anita Kortan, bachelor’s in business 2013 and Michael Kortan, master’s in engineering management 2011
Olathe, Kan.