The KU History project was initiated in 1999 by David Mucci, new to KU and the directorship of the Memorial Union. Seeking to put more tradition on the walls, he encountered a history graduate student, Henry Fortunato, also new to KU and looking to make his mark with an innovative project.
The Spencer Research Library’s wealth of archival resources and University Archivist Becky Schulte and her staff were critical to the project's success. Also, the History Department provided graduate student researchers and writers. Through this collaboration, the project grew from wall adornments into a robust series of history panels, artifact collections and the online presence of “This Week In KU History."
With the project completed in 2006, Fortunato (now deceased) went on to do similar wonders for the Kansas City Public Library as Director of Public Affairs. Mike Reid, as the Union’s chief communications officer, then assumed responsibility for the project, navigating it into the social media age until his retirement in 2017.
Today, Memorial Union staff continue to develop KU History through digital platforms, new exhibit production, and by collecting new historical stories and artifacts.
KU cheerleaders at McCook Field, 1899
(Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Kansas)