KU kicks off homecoming week festivities; here are the upcoming events

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KU is celebrating its 111th homecoming this week, and numerous events are planned on the theme of “Rah Rah Jayhawk.”

The theme is “a nod to the origins of the Rock Chalk chant and Jayhawk nostalgia,” according to a KU news release.

The festivities kicked off Monday evening with a gathering at the Jayhawk Welcome Center, and they will culminate with the KU football game against Oklahoma on Saturday.

Here are more events on the calendar, according to KU’s news release and the homecoming website:

• 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26: KU will host a building dedication ceremony for Gray-Little Hall. The university is naming its premier Lawrence research facility in honor of former Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, who made it a reality.

• 10 p.m. to midnight Tuesday, Oct. 24: “Glowtopia at Royal Crest Lanes, 933 Iowa St. Enjoy a neon-bright night of bowling, complete with free food and prizes, all in a spectacular, glow-in-the-dark setting. KU students and alumni bowl free.”

• 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25: “Hawktober Movie Night at Central Field by Stouffer Place Apartments. Head outdoors for an entertainment-filled fall evening featuring a showing of the movie “Haunted Mansion” (2023) plus food, games and a Halloween costume contest.”

• 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26: “Alumni Trivia Night at Wayne & Larry’s, 933 Iowa St. Test your knowledge of KU history for prizes, plus enjoy networking opportunities and more with the KU Alumni Association.”

• 6:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26: “Mike and Joyce Shinn African American Leaders and Innovators Award reception at the Jayhawk Welcome Center. The KU Black Alumni Network will host this event recognizing and celebrating Black alumni. There will be a meet-and-greet with Chancellor Douglas A. Girod, and dinner will be served. Get more details and register.” (Meet the 18 honorees in this article from Friday.)

• 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27: “Home Football Friday: Homecoming Fest! at the Jayhawk Welcome Center. Get in the spirit for Saturday’s football game against Oklahoma with activities hosted by the KU Alumni Association’s Student Alumni Network and Student Union Activities, including music from DJ Mac, refreshments from Pickleman’s and a 360 photo booth experience presented by Truity Credit Union.”

• 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27: “KU Black Alumni Network Reunion Weekend activities at the Jayhawk Welcome Center. Connect with students and alumni on tours of campus and the Jayhawk Welcome Center and during a special Mocktails and Mingle gathering featuring an alumni panel, food and beverages.”

• 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27: “Rock Chalk Block Party on Mass Street. Join fellow Jayhawks for an evening of music, games and activities, including the Homecoming Pep Rally and a concert by country artist Michael Ray. The free event, hosted by Kansas Athletics, is presented by Central Bank and supported by Adidas.” (See photos from last year’s party at this link.)

• 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28: “Gameday at the Jayhawk Welcome Center. All Jayhawks are welcome to stop by and enjoy a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere ahead of KU’s matchup against Oklahoma. At 9:30, artist Megh Knappenberger will be unveiling a new series of paintings for the recently renovated Adams Alumni Center. A cash bar and light snacks will be available.”

August Rudisell/Lawrence Times Haley Berger, Miss Kansas USA 2023, is pursuing a doctorate of pharmacy and an MBA at KU.

Homecoming game

The homecoming game kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks (5-2) will return from their bye week to take on the No. 6 ranked Oklahoma (7-0). Some tickets were still available as of Monday afternoon.

“FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff will make its first appearance in Lawrence as the pregame show hosted by Rob Stone previews the day’s top games, while providing detailed analysis of the Big Noon Saturday matchup from analysts Urban Meyer, Brady Quinn, Matt Leinart and Mark Ingram II,” according to a KU Athletics news release.

Fans can watch the game on Fox, listen at kuathletics.leanplayer.com and keep an eye on live stats during the game at this link.

At halftime, KU will announced the winners of the 2023 Konica Minolta Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership (ExCEL) Award and the Jennifer Alderdice Homecoming Award, according to the release.

“Nominees for the ExCEL Award were selected based on their leadership, communication skills, involvement at KU and in the Lawrence community, academic scholarship, and ability to work with a variety of students and organizations,” according to the release. “The Jennifer Alderdice Homecoming Award recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding loyalty and dedication to the university.”

The selection committee — which included representatives from the KU Alumni Association, Student Involvement & Leadership Center, Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, Student Union Activities/Kansas Memorial Union and the Homecoming Steering Committee — selected 14 student finalists for this year’s awards, according to the release:

  • Ahmad Azhar, a senior in mechanical engineering and communication studies from Mailsi, Pakistan
  • Camden Baxter, a senior in economics with minors in math and Spanish from Andover
  • David Betts, a senior in information systems from Brooklyn, New York
  • Cooper Curtin, a junior in finance with minors in Spanish and entrepreneurship from Centennial, Colorado
  • Taylor Durst, a junior in psychology and sport management from Hills, Minnesota
  • DaNae Estabine, a junior in psychology and philosophy from Olathe
  • Libby Frost, a senior in business administration on the pre-med track from WaKeeney
  • Jordan Nevels, a senior in theatre performance with a minor in film & media from Overland Park
  • Thanh Tan Nguyen, a senior in business analytics and supply chain management from Phu Yen, Vietnam
  • Yash Prajapati, a junior in applied mathematics and interdisciplinary computing in economics from Gujarat, India
  • Emma Saville, a junior in multimedia journalism with a minor in photography from Mulvane
  • Aarush Sehgal, a junior in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from Chandigarh, India
  • Navya Singh, a senior in biochemistry from Chandigarh, India
  • Selia Walton, a junior in project management and environmental studies with a minor in strategic communications from Blue Springs, Missouri

Find a full calendar of homecoming events, including some at the Edwards Campus in Overland Park, at kualumni.org/homecoming.

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