Hail to Old KU
From crunchy chicken cheddar wraps to walking down the hill, former Jayhawks reflect on their time at the University.
Josh Dupy was watching Monday night football Sept. 10, 2001.
He woke up the next day, Sept. 11, to go to class on the hill with his roommate, who was in the same class.
“I woke up and I remember everything,” he said.
Dupy’s roommate told him that they should just skip class, but Dupy decided to turn on the television prior to leaving for class.
“We turned it on, and within 20 minutes of watching, the plane took the second tower,” Dupy said.
“It seemed like America was under attack,” he said. “...people were panicking.”
On that day, terrorism and security within the United States changed for many Americans, including Jayhawks.
At the University, not much had changed, except a very strong sense of patriotism for Dupy, discussion of what happened on 9/11 and awareness of the world around Jayhawks, he said.
“I wouldn’t say things changed,” he said. “It seemed like something else was out there. [I] gained a more self awareness of things going around … we didn’t have campus issues or security, and I didn’t notice it being heightened or anything.”
Eighty-one-year old Stella (Kallof) Kartsonis remembers 9/11, but was not at the University at the time.
Kartsonis, like Dupy, spent her days at the University going to class and socializing, but Kartsonis’ time at the University was before Dupy’s tenure as a Jayhawk.
Kartsonis is a 1958 graduate of the University, and fondly remembers memories loved by her and other Jayhawks, like being dropped into the Chi Omega fountain, thrown into Potter Lake, and “panty raids,” where fraternity brothers would raid sorority houses, like Kartsonis’ Alpha Omicron Phi sorority house, for underwear and delicates.
One tradition that Kartsonis missed? Walking down the hill at graduation.
“It’s wasn’t an option for me [at the time],” she said.
Kartsonis was living away from Kansas at her new job as an occupational therapist and was unable to return to Lawrence due to expenses.
Christina (Kartsonis) Woltkamp, Kartsonis’ daughter, was able to bring back the memories of the University for Kartsonis this year, as she surprised Kartsonis with something she only has dreamt of.
“She never got to walk down the hill,” Woltkamp said. “We were going to make this happen.”
Graduation and walking down the hill was set on Mother’s Day, so Woltkamp thought it would be a perfect gift.
Earlier this year, Woltkamp was able to order a cap and gown for her mother from Josten’s. She then spoke with University alumni to ask them how the process of walking down the hill worked. Once she figured that out, the surprise was set to go for Kartsonis.
“It was quite a surprise to me,” Kartsonis said. “I didn’t know where the heck we were going [on Mother’s Day].”
Kartsonis said the word got around that a 1958 graduate was walking down the hill that day, and was greeted by graduates, students and professors alike.
Kartsonis said that one professor told her, “I think it’s great that you came back to do it!”
Kartsonis was able to hold a sign that her daughter made for her throughout the whole day, up until brunch and mimosas was served at The Oread hotel following the walk down the hill.
“Everybody was very friendly and chummy along the way,” she said. “It was an exhilarating day.”
Munching on a crunchy chicken cheddar wrap, visiting eclectic stores downtown, exploring campus and experiencing basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse were some of the highlights of Adam Drovetta’s experience at the University.
“Since I was five, I always knew I was going to KU,” he said. “I’ve loved it for so long.”
Drovetta wasn’t a typical student when he graduated in 2015. He did not begin at the University until he was 22. He was a commuter student, and faced battles with cancer until he finished his degree in English with an emphasis of creative writing. Drovetta plans to move from his native town of Gardner, Kan., to Los Angeles in the near future.
While Drovetta was a student at the University, sexual assault was prominent among students at the time, and something that was discussed often on and off campus, he said.
The conversation started in 2014 after the Huffington Post published an article about a specific case where a male student was found to have had nonconsensual sex with a female student and received a rather lenient punishment.
In response to the article, students protested on the lawn of Strong Hall and frequently held demonstrations imploring administrators to change University policies.
Drovetta said this led the University community to come together and to address the unsavory issue.
“It was good to seeing people get involved and not hiding from it, and the students [were] really saying, ‘this is our school and we gotta do something about it,’” he said.
Drovetta said that conversations changed, and student safety was emphasized more than ever before. In addition, those accused of sexual misconduct were held more accountable.
“It was good to see activism [in stopping sexual assault] on campus,” he said. “I love KU, I would do anything for that school,” he said.