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Campus Happenings - Spring 2020
KU Endowment selects new vice chair, trustee

Lorie A. Bowman and M.D. “Mike” Michaelis

The KU Endowment Board of Trustees elected M.D. “Mike” Michaelis as vice chair and welcomed Lorie A. Bowman as a trustee at their annual meeting. Michaelis received a bachelor’s in business administration in 1968 and a master’s in finance in 1969. He is president of Emprise Financial Corporation. Bowman graduated in 1980 with a bachelor’s in environmental design. She is principal architect and president of BBN Architects, Inc.

Cystic fibrosis discovery

A new drug recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration is believed to be a game-changer for people battling cystic fibrosis. The drug significantly improved patients’ lung function and showed strong signs of targeting the root cause of the disease. “This is a breakthrough and what many are calling a game-changer in the disease,” said Dr. Deepika Polineni, a pulmonologist at KU Medical Center who was the site principal investigator on a multi-center clinical trial for the drug. Doctors think the treatment could benefit 90% of people with the disease. The drug, known by its brand name, Trikafta, was produced by Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

Engineering professor receives presidential honor

Shannon Blunt

Shannon Blunt, KU professor of electrical engineering and computer science, was appointed to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The Council includes distinguished individuals who provide advice about science, technology, education and innovation. Internationally recognized for his expertise in radar and remote sensing, Blunt also serves as director of the university’s Kansas Applied Research Lab and the Radar Systems Lab.

Hope for bladder cancer patients

The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s product development arm, the Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation, is bringing a new drug for treating bladder cancer to market. The drug, called Fosciclopirox, targets high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, which accounts for about 75% of bladder cancers. “I am most grateful for the research efforts at KU Cancer Center,” said Dale Willey, bladder cancer patient and donor. “I feel blessed for my good health, and I credit Dr. John Taylor III for my life-saving surgery.” Bladder cancer is a common cancer diagnosis in the U.S., and despite its prevalence, more than 20 years have passed since a new treatment was introduced. Fosciclopirox is the first University of Kansas-invented cancer drug to go from bench to bedside.

Dancing around the world

A three-part hybrid dance-audio-video project created by KU professors James Moreno and Benjamin Rosenthal continues to echo around the globe. “Human, Next” was staged first on the KU campus with the University Dance Company in 2013, followed by performances with professional dancers in New York City in 2014 and Chicago in 2016. The audio-video portions have appeared at festivals and events internationally ever since, including recently at the Images in Motion exhibition in Brazil. The project was developed thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Hall Center for the Humanities.

Directorship honors legendary researcher

An anonymous donor has committed $900,000 to endow the directorship for the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum. The gift was inspired by the leadership of internationally distinguished paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Leonard “Kris” Krishtalka. He will retire at the end of 2020 after 25 years of advancing the institute’s mission of revolutionizing the study of life on our planet for the future of the environment and human well-being. The fund will provide resources for the director to advance the collection, conduct research and develop educational programs at the institute and museum.

New study center at the Spencer Museum of Art

A $900,000 gift from the J.K. and Ingrid Lee Foundation will establish a study center at the Spencer Museum of Art that will grant students and scholars unprecedented access to three-dimensional works of art from the Spencer’s collection. The late J.K. Lee, a native of Hong Kong, was associate chair and professor in KU’s Department of Chemistry from 1956 to 1980. The center will be a hybrid space for teaching and research and distinguishes the Spencer as a leader among university art museums.

You said it

“My gift is for out-of-state students, like my granddaughter who graduated from KU.”

Carole Swenson | Lees Summit, Mo.

“I am giving to KU School of Nursing because I was a student there and am grateful for my education.”

Emily Day, bachelor’s in Nursing 2007, master’s in nursing 2013 | Westwood, Kan.

“I went to KU and feel it’s important to give back.”

Katy Hayden, bachelor’s in education & human sciences 1995, master’s in education 2001 | Lawrence, Kan.

“I want to benefit a law student who has a financial need for tuition for law school.”

John Kelly Jr., bachelor’s in business 1968, J.D. 1971 | Katy, Texas

“I cherish my memories of KU and want to make the same excellent education available for others.”

Diane Rowley, bachelor’s in English and linguistics 1975 | Tempe, Ariz.

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