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University Relations

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Aug. 10, 2006
Contact: Rachel Nyp, KU Alumni Association, (785) 864-4760; or Amanda Ostgulen, New Student Orientation, (785) 864-5461.

KU names students participating in torch ceremony at Traditions Night

LAWRENCE — Two freshmen will receive a torch in a ceremony symbolizing the passing of knowledge during the Traditions Night program next week at the University of Kansas.

Traditions Night begins at 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14, in Memorial Stadium. The event is part of Hawk Week, which precedes the opening of the new school year. Classes at KU begin Thursday, Aug. 17.

Freshmen representatives receiving the torch will be Ted Chang of Manhattan, representing first-generation Jayhawks, and Lacy Amelia Adams of Plains and Wichita, representing freshmen with generations of Jayhawks in their families. Adams’ Jayhawk legacy dates to 1914 when her maternal great-great-grandfather, Floyd B. Lee, received his first degree from KU. His daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter all attended KU.

In recent years, about 5,000 new and returning students have attended Traditions Night, along with faculty, staff and community members. The annual program includes music by the KU Marching Jayhawk Band, directed by David Clemmer. Diana Carlin, dean of KU’s Graduate School and International Programs, will be the emcee.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway; Marlesa Roney, vice provost for Student Success; Jason Boots, student body president; Melissa Horen, student body vice president; and Bonnie Henrickson, women’s basketball coach, will each speak briefly. James Carothers, KU professor of English, will talk briefly about the university’s history and traditions — including the torch ceremony. Erin Vernon, president of the Student Alumni Association, will join the KU Spirit Squad and the Marching Jayhawks in teaching new students the fight song and the Rock Chalk Chant.

The torch-passing ceremony will begin about 9:05 p.m.

Decades ago, in ceremonies similar to Traditions Night, students annually carried a torch 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. Today, the original fire basket is 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.

A representative of the Mortar Board honor society, Robert “Rob” Campbell Williams, Manhattan senior, will begin the ceremony by bringing the torch from the Rock Chalk Cairn to the senior class representative, Murtaza S. Khan of Wichita. As Khan proceeds downhill toward the stadium, he will pass the torch to the junior class representative, Jamie Sue Boyd of Underwood, Iowa. She will pass the torch to the sophomore representative, Gina Michelle Gay of Leawood, who will pass the torch to the freshmen, Chang and Adams, who will 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 students with roles in the Traditions Night program is listed below.

From Leawood (ZIP 66224)
Gina Michelle Gay, sophomore in communication studies, is the daughter of Robert and Camille Gay and a graduate of Notre Dame De Sion, Kansas City, Mo.

From Overland Park (ZIP 66209)
Melissa Elizabeth Horen, junior in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences preparing to study law, is the daughter of Jeff and Susan Horen and is a Blue Valley North High School graduate. She is student body vice president at KU.

From Prairie Village (ZIP 66208)
Lacy Adams’ maternal grandparents are Ginny Ward and Dean W. Graves of Prairie Village. For more about Adams, see Meade County.

From Plains and Wichita
Lacy Amelia Adams, freshman in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences preparing to study journalism, is a Wichita Collegiate School graduate. Her mother, Paula Graves Adams, earned an undergraduate degree in 1982 and a graduate degree in 1987, both from KU. Adams’ father, John C. Adams, attended KU with the class of 1982. Her grandparents are Ginny Ward and Dean W. Graves of Prairie Village. Her grandmother graduated from KU in 1957, and her grandfather earned an undergraduate degree in 1956 and a graduate degree in 1963, both from KU. Her maternal great-grandparents were Paul R. Ward, who graduated from KU in 1930, and Mildred Lee Ward, who attended KU with the class of 1933. Her maternal great-great-grandfather was Floyd B. Lee, who received degrees in 1914 and 1916 from KU. Her paternal grandparents are Raymond E. Adams Jr. of Maple Hill, who attended KU with the class of 1953, and Anne Gorbutt Adams of Lawrence, a 2004 KU graduate.

From Manhattan
Ted Chang, freshmen the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences preparing to study pharmacy, is the son of Yang-Ming and Shu-Ching Chang and a Manhattan High School graduate.

Robert “Rob” Campbell Williams, senior in finance and business administration, is the son of Jeffery and Lucy Williams and is a Manhattan High School graduate.

From Wichita and Plains
Lacy Adams. See Meade County.

Murtaza S. Khan, senior in biochemistry, is the son of Rahat Jan and Sardar Bahadur and a Wichita High School East graduate.

Erin Nicole Vernon, senior in journalism (strategic communications), is the daughter of Robyn Vernon and a graduate of Maize High School.

From Plano (ZIP 75075)
Jason Boots, senior majoring in business administration, is the son of Gary and Shirley Boots and is a Plano High School graduate. He is student body president at KU.


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