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University Relations

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August 12, 2005
Contact: Ann Eversole, Dean of Students office, (785) 864-4060 or Jennifer Sanner, KU Alumni Association (785) 864-4760

2 fifth-generation freshmen Jayhawks to receive torch in KU ceremony Monday

LAWRENCE - Two freshmen, both fifth-generation Jayhawks, will receive a torch in a ceremony symbolizing the passing of knowledge during the Traditions Night program at 8 p.m. Monday Aug. 15, in Memorial Stadium.

Drew Robert Miller of Iola and Richard "Richie" H. Wagstaff IV of Prairie Village each had more than one great-great grandparent attend KU in the late 1800s. KU opened in 1866.

Four of Wagstaff's paternal great-great grandparents attended KU: Robert Barnard Wagstaff was a member of Class of 1895; Clara Butler Wheeler Wagstaff attended with the Class of 1892; Charles Sumner Gleed, who received a bachelor's degree at KU in 1880; and Mabel Gore Gleed, who earned a bachelor's of music in 1887.

Miller is the great-great grandson of Luther Stover, who attended KU with the Class of 1895 and of Madge Fisher Stover, a member of the Class of 1897.

About 2,000 new and returning students as well as faculty, staff and the public annually attend Traditions Night. Diana Carlin, dean of KU's Graduate School and International Programs, will emcee the program that will include music by the KU Marching Jayhawk Band, directed by James Hudson, conductor.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway; Marlesa Roney, vice provost for Student Success; Nick Sterner, student body president; Jim Marchiony, associate director of athletics and Bonnie Henrickson, women's basketball coach will each speak briefly.James Carothers, KU professor of English, will talk briefly about KU's history and traditions - including the torch ceremony. Michael Davis, the Kansas Alumni Association's senior vice president for alumni programs, will teach new students the fight song and the Rock Chalk Chant

Decades ago, in ceremonies similar to Traditions Night, a torch was carried annually from the Mortar Board Fire Basket at North College, KU's first building, to the Rock Chalk Cairn, a stone heap created through efforts of Omicron Delta Kappa honor society members. The original fire basket is located on a commemorative plot near Gertrude Sellards Pearson and Corbin residence halls, the site of the Old North College. The cairn, now a fire grate, sits near the flagpole between Memorial Stadium and the campanile. KU staff reintroduced the torch passing ceremony in the 1980s as part of the Traditions Night program.

The 2005 passing of the torch will begin about 8:55 p.m. with a representative of the Mortar Board honor society, Audrey Worthing, Dallas, Texas, bringing the torch from the Rock Chalk Cairn to pass it to the senior class represent, Whitney Ryan, Tulsa, Okla. As Ryan proceeds downhill toward the stadium, she will pass the torch to the junior class representative, Mark Gdowski Fremont, Neb. He will pass the torch to the sophomore representative, Jessica Fleming, Omaha, Neb., who will pass the torch to the freshmen, Miller and Wagstaff, to carry it into the stadium.

KU's Traditions Night program has received national recognition as an exemplary practice that actively engages students in learning about the culture and traditions of the campus. A report from the Institute for Effective Education Practice at the University of Indiana noted that Traditions Night brings freshmen into the stadium for an introductory ceremony where they also will participate in a commencement ceremony in a few years.

Following the passing of the torch, everyone in the stadium is invited to join in singing the Alma Mater, followed by the Rock Chalk Chant and the KU fight song.

More information about the fifth-generation freshmen receiving the torch and hometown information for all students in the torch passing ceremony follows:

From Iola
Drew Robert Miller, freshman, son of Edward Jay and Karen Jones Miller Jr. Both parents attended KU with the Class of 1981. Both of Drew's grandfathers are KU graduates: Edward J. Miller, Iola, business 1955; and Robert L. Jones, Topeka, architecture 1953. Drew's great-grandparents, the late Horace L. and Madge Stover Miller attended KU with the classes of 1924 and 1925. His great-grandmother's parents, Luther and Madge Fisher Stover, were the first generation of Jayhawks as members of the classes of 1895 and 1897.

From Prairie Village
Richard "Richie" H. Wagstaff IV, freshman, is the son of R.H. and K. Bridget Gaughan Wagstaff and of Jane Hedrick Lake of Hutchinson. His father received a bachelor's degree in journalism from KU in 1980 and his stepmother is a member of the Class of 1979. His mother attended KU from 1980 to 1982. Richie's maternal grandparents, Dr. Kenneth E. and Joanne Lowry Hedrick of Hutchinson, are KU graduates. Dr. Hedrick received a medical degree in 1958, and Mrs. Hedrick a nursing degree in 1952. Richie's paternal grandparents, Richard H. and Carolyn C. Wagstaff Jr. of Lawrence, also are KU graduates. His grandfather received a degree in business in 1950, and his grandmother is a 1954 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Richie's great-grandparents, the late Richard and Joanna Gleed Wagstaff, also were Jayhawks. He attended KU with the Class of 1918, and she received a bachelor of music degree in 1921. Four of Richie's great-great-grandparents attended KU in the 1800s: Robert Barnard and Clara Butler Wheeler Wagstaff, and Charles Sumner and Mabel Gore Gleed.


From Hutchinson
See: Johnson County, Richard "Richie" H. Wagstaff

From Fremont
Mark Gdowski, junior majoring in microbiology and a middle distance runner on the Track and Field Team, is the son of Carol Gdowski.

From Omaha
Jessica Fleming, sophomore majoring in psychology and political science and a Hawklink guide is the daughter of Geralyn Fleming.

From Tulsa
Whitney Ryan, Board of Class Officers president and senior majoring in psychology, is the daughter of Phillip and Charlotte Ryan.

From Dallas
Audrey Worthington, Mortar Board President and senior in journalism program for advertising and public relations, is the daughter of Kevin and Janet Worthington.


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