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Lynn George
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KU announces July employees of the month

Tue, 08/19/2014

The University of Kansas has announced two Employees of the Month for July 2014:

Name: Larry Higgins
Start date: 1980s
Current job: Plumbing and boiler operations, Facilities Services

What that means: Larry Higgins ensures staff and students are supplied with heat and hot water, even when equipment fails. In addition to setting up, maintaining, trouble-shooting, and repairing boilers across campus, Higgins also sets up and monitors the chemical levels in the boiler systems to ensure the quality of the water in them. This helps save the university operating and maintenance costs. These efforts also have helped save the KU money in terms of major expenditures due to Higgins’ systematic efforts to extend the life of boiler systems well beyond their normal life expectancy.

Notable: When Facilities Services and Housing Maintenance merged in 2012, Higgins took on the daunting task of getting the KU Housing boiler systems up to the same operational levels as those in academic buildings on campus. In order to do this he had to design new chemical feed systems for all the steam boilers in these buildings. These systems were in poor condition, and now they are starting to clean up and run more efficiently. This took time and effort, and Higgins was deemed the only one on campus with the knowledge to accomplish this task. There are over 150 boilers on campus of different makes and ages, and Higgins has the ability to work on all of them.
 

Name: Natalie Parker
Start date: 2008
Title: Education program coordinator, Center for Research on Global Change

What that means: In her current role Parker provides management expertise for a major sponsored research initiative, the NSF IGERT C-CHANGE. This program engages more than 30 doctoral students, dozens of faculty across disciplines and institutions, and requires travel and site itineraries for large groups to remote places such as Greenland. 

Notable: Parker’s management skills and adaptability have helped to contribute to the success of a KU-Haskell collaboration over the past five years. In organizing the annual summer Institute with Haskell, some new challenge will typically arise. These challenges range from figuring ways to manage special purchases for Institute participates, all the way to assuming responsibility for last-minute group travel arrangements. Additionally, Parker designed a system for coordinating teaching evaluations to enable students to evaluate instructors separately, making it so every department receives their faculty evaluations. Another challenge was the C-CHANGE website. Without being asked, Parker learned web site design and management in order to update and improve the site. As a related contribution she encouraged trainees to contribute travel blog entries to the site and trained others on how to use this feature. 



Happy Kansas Day, Kansans! We caught sunflowers standing tall at the Grinter Family Farms just outside Lawrence last fall. You may wonder how the sunflower came to be the State flower in 1903 and we found an excerpt from Kansas legislation: Whereas, Kansas has a native wild flower common throughout her borders, hardy and conspicuous, of definite, unvarying and striking shape, easily sketched, moulded, and carved, having armorial capacities, ideally adapted for artistic reproduction, with its strong, distinct disk and its golden circle of clear glowing rays -- a flower that a child can draw on a slate, a woman can work in silk, or a man can carve on stone or fashion in clay; and Whereas, This flower has to all Kansans a historic symbolism which speaks of frontier days, winding trails, pathless prairies, and is full of the life and glory of the past, the pride of the present, and richly emblematic of the majesty of a golden future, and is a flower which has given Kansas the world-wide name, "the sunflower state"... Be it enacted ... that the helianthus or wild native sunflower is ... designated ... the state flower and floral emblem of the state of Kansas.

Have family visiting Lawrence? #exploreKU and take them to the @KUnhm like @ChrisCanDesign did. http://t.co/PTDSdpSakh
Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See http://bit.ly/1xjjwJj). For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See http://bit.ly/1BoL9jv) The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (http://bit.ly/14fiBPl), associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times