RCW: Donor Spotlight 4.27
After beginning their journey as first-generation Jayhawks from their respective families, Mike and Lisa (Brien) Humberd of Colorado Springs, Colorado, have continued their support by being active members of the Williams Education Fund for the past 13 years. Lisa earned her Bachelor’s from the School of Education, while Mike received his from the School of Engineering, both in 1995. They joined the Williams Education Fund, they said, because of their belief in the importance of giving back to KU in many different areas, including athletics.
Mike and Lisa were KU track & field athletes in the early-mid 1990’s. That experience helped shape their decision to join the Williams Fund. “Athletics has played an essential part in both of our lives,” they said. “Not only as athletes ourselves, but as spectators. Even years after graduation we enjoy attending sporting events and seeing the athletes participate in an area of passion for them.”
Mike, who grew up in California, says he fell in love with KU on his first visit to campus; being a student-athlete only made that love stronger. “I was lucky enough to be a student-athlete on the track team,” he said. “Participating on the team taught me so many lessons that I continue to use in my life today. I truly can’t thank KU enough for setting me up to be successful in life.”
Lisa, on the other hand, grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, hearing about KU for as long as she can remember. “When I was in high school I was able to attend a basketball game in Allen Fieldhouse and from that moment forward I was hooked,” she said. “There is an energy that KU offers that you don’t find anywhere else. It instills a passion for not only the University, but also the people who work and attend school there. You get that same sense while watching KU sports on TV or even while attending an event at the Lied Center. It’s hard to describe exactly what it means, but KU provided a foundation that took me down my own career path, while also instilling an energy within me to support all aspects of the University and its work.”
The Humberds were quick to single out the Rock Chalk Chant as their favorite (among many) KU traditions. “We love to hear the ‘haunting’ chant in person, on TV, and in other team’s sports arenas,” they said.
While discussing his favorite KU athletes, Mike started close to their current home in Colorado. “I think that KU has produced so many incredible athletes in so many sports over the years,” he said. “Currently, we love to watch Chris Harris Jr., of the Denver Broncos and Aqib Talib, when he played for the Broncos before being traded to the Los Angeles Rams this offseason. It’s fun to be able to watch ‘home team’ athletes on the field where we live.”
Lisa, though, went back to her roots. “Danny Manning has always been a personal favorite because I was able to see him play in high school,” she said. “I’ve continued to enjoy following his playing and coaching career.”
While the Humberds had little trouble deciding on their favorite tradition and athletes, selecting their most memorable experience proved more difficult. “Any Senior Day in Allen Fieldhouse, the 2008 Orange Bowl in Miami, or taking our nephew from Kansas City to the games are our most memorable moments.
“Our nephew is a die-hard Kansas State fan just like his parents,” they explained. “He had never been to Allen Fieldhouse for a game in-person and we brought him with us while we were visiting during a nonconference part of the season. As we took him through the Booth Family Hall of Athletics prior to the game, we wandered into the gift shop and we talked him into to wearing a Jayhawk sweatshirt for the game. When we woke up the next morning, we opened the paper to see a picture on the front page of The Kansas City Star of Perry Ellis taking a jump shot. And would you believe it, looking right between Perry’s legs was our nephew, cheering away for everyone to see. His parents told us he didn’t take the sweatshirt off for three days!”
Building on the family aspect KU has brought into their lives, Mike talked about how much KU has meant to the Humberds’ two children, Allyson and Tyler. “Allyson will graduate high school as the Class of 2022, but is already hoping to be a Jayhawk when the time comes,” he said. “As for Tyler, his first experience with Allen Fieldhouse was a memorable one. The very first game we ever took Tyler to in Allen Fieldhouse was the 2005 New Year’s Day game against Georgia Tech. Tyler was three, and just joined in on every chant and cheer. We were sitting in those bleacher seats way up in the Northwest corner. The game was insanely loud. Dick Vitale commented that he had to scream into the mic just to be heard. Andy Katz, former senior college basketball journalist for ESPN.com, wrote later that he had to leave at halftime because his ears were ringing and couldn’t take the noise anymore! Of course, we won the game with a last-second shot by Keith Langford and everyone in our bleachers section was standing on the bench in front of them, jumping up and down screaming the whole game. Tyler, of course, had worn himself out by halftime, and slept peacefully on the bleacher floors, missing the entire second half sound asleep. He never even stirred until we woke him to leave and head home.”
Asked to name the five KU basketball players, from either the past or present, they’d like to see on the court playing together, the Humberds didn’t hesitate. “One team would consist of Danny Manning, JoJo White, Wilt Chamberlin, Paul Pierce and Jacque Vaughn,” they said. “The team they would face would be made up of Mario Chalmers, Clyde Lovellette, Frank Mason III, Scot Pollard and Wayne Selden Jr. Watching those two team play each other, I don’t really know how you could coach that!”
Rock Chalk, Mike and Lisa, and thank you for being featured in this edition of Rock Chalk Weekly’s Donor Spotlight!
For more information on the Williams Education Fund, including tickets, parking, premium seating, facility projects and special events, visit WilliamsFund.com.