The KU School of Architecture & Design is excited to welcome Jayhawks back to Lawrence during KU Homecoming Week this October. Fall colors will be at their peak, town and campus will be buzzing, and we have a lot planned.

School events will kick off on Thursday, October 24th in Downtown Lawrence with an alumni welcome party and celebration of the 2019 Alumni Award winners. Events continue on Friday with 12K Day Alumni Design Forum talks, exhibitions, open studios, student organization fair, and more. On Saturday, the doors to the School will be open. Walk the halls, see new studio spaces, check out exhibitions, and enjoy the Homecoming atmosphere on the Hill. See below for more information. 

Hope to see you in October!




Thursday, October 24, 2019

5:30pm – 8:30pm | Welcome Party & Alumni Awards at The Eldridge Hotel

Join us for refreshments and hors d’oeuvres as we welcome alumni back to Lawrence and toast the winners of the 2019 Alumni Awards--Rick Embers, Jaimie Koval and Kate Renner. 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award honoree, David Hill, will provide keynote remarks. Connect with fellow alumni, meet current students, faculty and staff, then spill out onto Massachusetts Street.  

Friday, October 25, 2019

9:30am - 12:30pm | 12K DAY Alumni Design Forum: the Intersections of Education & Practice

Eight fast-paced presentations by a multidisciplinary group of KU alumni design leaders punctuated by faculty and student-instigated discussions on the ways educational institutions and the design professions work together to drive innovation.

More event & speaker information below. 

Registration not required, but seating is limited. 

CEU credits available.

12:30 - 2:00pm | Food Trucks Out Back

1:30pm - 5:00pm (ongoing) | Architecture & Design at KU Showcase

Student Organization Fair, Gallery Exhibition, Studio Tours, Portraits

1:30pm | Student Leadership Panel

Student organizations will be available to present membership information to current students and share their organizational missions with alumni.

2:30pm | DEMOS: Letterpress and Robotics LAB 

3:00pm | DEMOS: Risograph and Virtual Reality 

4:00pm | Gallery Talks

Ten-minute faculty presentations on their research.

5:30 | Final Friday Networking Event

Students, alumni, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to attend a Final Friday Happy Hour in Downtown Lawrence. Nametag prompts will be used for networking purposes. “Ask me about internships”…”Ask me about my studio project”…


Room blocks have been set up at three Lawrence hotels for out of town guests. Attendees should contact the hotels directly to secure reservations. Reservation blocks will be released after September 23, 2019. 

The Eldridge Hotel

Dates: October 23 – 24

Reservations: 785-749-5011

Reference: KU Architecture & Design


The Oread Hotel

Dates: October 23 – 24

Reservations: 785-843-1200

Reference: KU Architecture & Design


DoubleTree Hotel

Dates: October 23 – 25




All events are FREE. CEU credits are available. 




12K Day is a day that we will explore the network of 12,000 alumni, students, faculty, and staff connected by KU and the drive to create. We have invited an accomplished group of alumni design leaders from around the country to share their insights and engage in discussions with students, faculty, staff, and alumni.


David Altis | Executive Design Director, VMLY&R
Design is not a solo mission
The transformational power of product and service design has forever changed modern business. Many companies mold design cultures customized to their unique needs but the one constant is that design at scale is a team endeavor, and you should check your title at the door. Join Dave Altis, VMLY&R Executive Design Director as he explores a modern design team and how they work together to deliver design at velocity.

Amber Goodvin | Social Content Leader, Hallmark
Making + Motherhood
My first 14 years at Hallmark gave me a deep education in hand lettering, studying under a team of master artists and learning the art of communicating emotion through lettering and illustration. Becoming a mother, while disruptive to my creative process (and identity!), has ultimately brought more depth to my work. In my new role as Social Content Leader for Hallmark Baby, I develop strategic content using my skills as a creative, and draw on all my (joyful/awful) experiences with motherhood to attract new consumers + tell the story of our brand.

Stephen Hopkins | President, Shield Healthcare and Sport
Architects: Go the F@$& to Sleep
The worst kept secret across many university campuses is that architecture students get very little sleep. Marvin Hall is adorably named The Lighthouse and students routinely brag about their late nights. The culture of architectural education is one of fatigue. Too frequently this carries into the professional ranks as well. Why do we insist on glorifying this weakness?

Dana Karwas | Director, Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, Yale University
Cross-Disciplinary Intelligence 
Increased collaboration across disciplines has introduced a cross-disciplinary intelligence within design practice; illuminating the creative pressure on existing disciplines while making new forms of design communication visible.  By viewing interdisciplinary work through a culture of technology and experimentation this presentation will interrogate the following lines of inquiry: how is work initiated across mediums? how can interdisciplinary context, resources, and methods be introduced into pedagogy and practice? and how can collaboration support an atmosphere of freedom and experimentation? In this discussion, these questions and others will be articulated through a series of projects, prototypes, and historical references. 

Brandon Kent | Associate Principal, Gould Evans
Hire the person, not the portfolio
At Gould Evans we have launched EDCO a client strategy that uses research, pedagogy, and space design strategies to prepare today’s students, employees, and employers for the rapidly evolving world of work. Our approach prepares clients for the future, supporting institutional resiliency and encouraging 21st-century skillsets.
The skillsets that employers seek are more collaborative, built around problem solving, grit and cognitive flexibility. No longer are the days that a portfolio is the key ingredient to find talented designers. I will explore the impact of our research on our own hiring process and discuss the need for critical thinkers mixed with talent. A beautiful portfolio does not guarantee success as rendering software becomes more accessible and portfolios start to look the same. The differentiator is soft skills.

Shaun Lang  Photographer, Ayzenberg Group
The Value of Photography in the Digital Age
Photographers have had to evolve. Social media, virtual reality, 3D rendering/printing, and apps like Cinema 4D have forever altered the public and therefore the client perception of photography and the fundamental value of the photographer. Although this change began with the advent of digital it accelerated exponentially with the iPhone and Instagram. I am going to discuss how creatives and educators can evolve with the ever-changing industry by embracing these challenges instead of fighting them, and how do we as photographers integrate ourselves to be the first option and not an afterthought.

Tony Marin | Creative Director, VMLY&R
Conversation design killed the headline
Social media has given brands the power to go from monologuing to dialoging with consumers, thus building new relationships every day. Join Tony Marin VMLY&R Executive Creative Director as he shares the secret sauce that helps his team make Wendy’s social media such a success.

Douglas Pancoast | Head of Research & Development, Urban Mobility, Robert Bosch LLC
Model / Make  / Move
Mobility is messy. Online interaction, mobile computing, internet of things connectedness and data availability / analysis are remaking built space, urban life and consumer service economies. In many cities population is growing and individual car ownership is declining, as people shift towards active transportation, mobility as a service, micro-mobility and shared use mobility at increasing rates.


All events are FREE. CEU credits are available. 


For specific questions or inquiries, you can contact us at