University of Kansas, KU Alumni Association to build Jayhawk Welcome Center
Funded entirely through private gifts, the $21 million, 30,000-square-foot structure will connect to the Adams Alumni Center, headquarters of the KU Alumni Association, at 1266 Oread Ave. As the new starting point for all campus visits by prospective students and their families, the Jayhawk Welcome Center will house approximately 20 members of the KU Admissions staff. The project also will include the renovation of the Adams Center, which opened in 1983.
“The Jayhawk Welcome Center is going to be a real game-changer for our university.” — Chancellor Douglas Girod
“The Jayhawk Welcome Center is going to be a real game-changer for our university,” Chancellor Douglas Girod said. “It will be a meeting place for every member of our community, including alumni, current students and, most importantly, prospective students who are visiting our campus and deciding whether to attend the University of Kansas.
“This new facility is crucial to our university given the headwinds we’re facing in higher education. Across the nation, we are seeing fewer high school graduates, and that trend will continue for the next decade. That puts a lot of pressure on enrollment, which is why the Jayhawk Welcome Center is so important to our university and our mission.”
Matt Melvin, KU vice provost for enrollment management, said the Jayhawk Welcome Center will play a vital role in student recruitment. “When you look at the college decision-making process, there are what we call the rational drivers of choice — quality and affordability — and emotional drivers of choice — fit and feel. The campus visit is all about fit and feel,” Melvin said. “We want students who come to campus to say, ‘This is a place where I can see myself changing the trajectory of my life.’”
Heath Peterson, KU Alumni Association president, described the project as an experience that will create a competitive advantage for KU. “When a prospective student and family walk through our doors, we want them to see how KU, at every step of the way, is going to position them for success, not only as a student but as a KU alumnus,” Peterson said. “We’re excited to create modern spaces for prospective students and families, current students, alumni, faculty and staff while preserving the best of history and tradition.”
Since the Adams Alumni Center opened nearly 40 years ago, the KU alumni population has grown by more than 40%, and the Alumni Association has transformed its programs and services. The Student Alumni Network has grown to nearly 6,000 members; it’s the largest student organization on campus and the largest of its kind in the Big 12. The Jayhawk Career Network, launched in 2018, connects current students with successful alumni worldwide for mentorship and career resources.
Features of the Jayhawk Welcome Center and renovated Adams Alumni Center will include:
- expansive views of campus, including David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, the World War II Memorial Campanile, Dyche Hall and the iconic flags atop Fraser Hall
- a two-story LED screen that will offer personalized greetings for visitors and customized videos, photo slideshows, animations and social media feeds; visitors will receive individual QR codes, which they can scan at each digital display to see content tailored to their academic, geographic or professional interests
- a 360-degree virtual exhibit that captures experiences in classrooms, laboratories and Allen Field House as well as the walk down the Hill at Commencement
- interactive displays of the global Jayhawk alumni network that feature alumni mentors, KU-led companies and career resources available through the Jayhawk Career Network
- exhibits highlighting KU research, discoveries and innovations and KU’s economic impact
- stories of KU leaders and accomplished alumni, including recent graduates and notable Jayhawks throughout history
- exhibits and artifacts that capture KU traditions and history
- dedicated space for Student Alumni Network programs, the Student Alumni Leadership Board and Jayhawk Career Network programs
For more information on the Jayhawk Welcome Center, including construction progress, building features and donor support, visit JayhawkWelcomeCenter.org.