Posted on Apr 2, 2020
in Campus News
On Thursday, April 2, the University of Kansas released the following statement.
- Commencement will be postponed until late summer or early fall.
- A strategic hiring-freeze and salary increase freeze will help the university prepare for recovery.
- Business travel in Kansas and Missouri is discontinued.
- Summer semester courses will be presented in an online format.
- A team of staff are working on plans to offer redress for certain services such as housing, parking and dining.
- Issues surrounding finals are still being reviewed.
- Please take all health and wellness recommendations seriously. It matters to all of us.
Students, staff and faculty,
We hope you’ll join us later today for an online University Update, during which we will discuss the issues, circumstances and opportunities facing the University of Kansas Lawrence and Edwards campuses. We have a lot to share and hope you will make time to join us. The program will be recorded if you aren’t able to watch the livestream.
In the meantime, we want to first respond to some questions and issues you’ve shared with us and introduce some new considerations for our institution.
Based on projections for the COVID-19 pandemic as well as student input, we have decided to postpone our 2020 Commencement. The timing of our ceremony – which had been scheduled for May 17 – is uncertain enough that it would be imprudent to bring together thousands of friends and family members in close proximity. There will be no in-person, Commencement-related activities in May.
Students who meet graduation requirements will still have their degrees certified. The only thing that will be delayed is the ceremony – our unique celebration of student achievement.
Last Friday we surveyed our graduating students and asked them what they preferred we do for them if it was determined we couldn’t hold Commencement on May 17. The response was phenomenal, and students overwhelmingly expressed support for an alternate date later in the year. Thus, we will work to honor their wishes and begin preparations for a ceremony in late summer or early fall. There are many details we still need to address, so we will continue to communicate with you on this topic. While we remain hopeful a summer or fall event will be possible, we must also recognize the reality that the pandemic may again impact this event.
Even though we’ve taken great measures to ensure the university continues to operate and students continue to learn under these extraordinary circumstances, the pandemic has already had a significant financial impact on our institution. The uncertainty of these times requires us to take precautions that will help us weather what we can expect will be a continuing hardship.
Until further notice, the University of Kansas is implementing a strategically focused hiring freeze that will serve as an initial step to address financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. A hiring freeze will help us begin to re-establish our financial footing as we map out a structured recovery plan.
These decisions are never easy and often raise new questions. We’ve worked with several campus leaders to develop guidelines that help us remain true to our mission while also being fiscally responsible:
- Our practice, until further notice, is a freeze on all new hiring, with exceptions considered for positions directly related to:
- Critical campus and community safety
- Continuity of critical research mission
- Continuity of critical education mission
- Continuity of critical business functions
- Contribution to critical healthcare / clinical mission
- All above exceptions will be subject to approval by central institutional leadership.
- Senior area leader (such as a dean, vice chancellor, vice provost) approval will be required before consideration by institutional leadership
- A documented process will be defined for exception requests; identifying for example, information to be submitted by requestors, identification of central leaders to consider exception requests, etc.
- Positions fully funded on external grants or contracts do not need central approval.
- Written employment offers already made to, and accepted by, job candidates will be honored.
- Written employment offers already made to a candidate, but not yet formally accepted by the candidate, must be reviewed by the hiring area. The review process will consider pushing out the proposed start date, rescinding the offer, or moving forward as offered assuming the candidate moves quickly to accept the written offer.
We also are adopting a salary increase freeze until further notice. As with the hiring freeze, we have developed guidelines, which will help ensure we approach mission-critical salary adjustments as transparently and fairly as possible.
- The default practice until further notice is a freeze on all salary increases, with exceptions considered for:
- Adjustments to minimum salary of applicable pay range, with approval of Human Resource Management
- Adjustments to meet KU-defined, living wage goals, with HRM approval
- Other critical adjustments for retention, equity, and other factors
- These exceptions will be subject to approval by central institutional leadership
- Senior area leader (such as a dean, vice chancellor, or vice provost) approval will be required before consideration by institutional leadership
- A documented process will be defined for exception requests, identifying for example, information to be submitted by requestors, identification of central leaders to consider exception requests, etc.
- Faculty promotion and tenure adjustments are exempt from these salary freeze guidelines.
Recent updates from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have led us to review our university sponsored travel guidelines. Business-related travel within Kansas and Missouri is discontinued for the time being. This is in addition to previously announced discontinuation of university sponsored domestic and international business-related travel at meetings, conferences, etc. Now is also an appropriate time to encourage you to exercise extreme caution around your personal travel as well, as many areas of the country are seeing a rapid rise in identified cases.
Faculty and students should plan for all courses to be presented in an online format. We will continue to monitor conditions to determine the potential to return to in-person instruction during the summer.
The summer months are also a busy time for units across campus that host youth programs, activities and camps, as well as outreach and engagement events. Deans and other unit leaders will have discretion regarding whether to continue these efforts, and they’ve been asked to explore opportunities to engage virtually and to prioritize the health and welfare of participants in their decisions.
Many have asked about the potential for refunds on unused services, such as for housing, parking or dining plans. We have a team of staff finalizing plans to offer redress for certain services. We hope to offer more detailed information to students and parents as early as Friday.
Before we go further, we want to commend KU Student Housing staff for the hard task they’ve undertaken. During the past two weeks, KU Student Housing has facilitated move-out of thousands of students while following CDC recommendations for social distancing. Staff continue to support more than 500 students, many of whom relocated within KU Student Housing.
We know many of you have thoughts about finals. This is on our radar and will be addressed in the near future. Just as with our recently announced grading options for students on the Lawrence and Edwards Campus, these seemingly simple parts of our operations can have far-reaching impact and deserve thoughtful attention before making a university-wide decision.
Please join us online for the University Update at 4:30 this afternoon. We’ll share updates about COVID-19’s impact on KU. We’ll offer updates and reminders on key areas of campus and let you know more about what we think we can expect in the weeks and months ahead.
Be Part of the Solution
Jayhawks, we can’t stress enough how important it is that you each take seriously social distancing and stay-at-home measures, as well as hygiene and cleaning recommendations. We want you back with us in person, not just on a screen. Our road to renew campus, to hold Commencement, to revitalize our operations – it all depends on you, your classmates, your colleagues, and your friends and family members being active participants in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Please be a part of the solution and encourage others to be part of our recovery efforts, too.
Doug and Barb
Douglas A. Girod
Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the Jayhawk community, many people are wondering what they can do to help. In response, KU Endowment is establishing a COVID-19 Emergency Relief fund.
“From the student senate to alumni to faculty and staff, we’ve heard from many who want to help,” said Dale Seuferling, KU Endowment president. “The fact that people are thinking about how they can help others in their time of need assures me that we will get through this. I’m encouraged and inspired.”
Anyone can give to the fund by visiting https://www.kuendowment.org/Your-Gift/COVID-19-Relief-Fund. As with all donations to KU Endowment, 100% of funds raised will go to support KU. KU Endowment will work closely with Chancellor Douglas A. Girod and others to determine areas of greatest need that the fund will support.
KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.
Posted on Mar 26, 2020
in Alumni News
Leaders from the University of Kansas, the KU Alumni Association and KU Endowment shared the following message on Thursday, March 26.
Dear KU Alumni,
Our thoughts are with the worldwide Jayhawk family as we all navigate these uncertain weeks. Thankfully, our sadness, loss and fear are tempered by compassion, dedication and hope. In the midst of crisis, alumni and donors have reached out asking how they can help. We’ve seen students volunteer to help our most vulnerable citizens, and Jayhawks everywhere are connecting with and supporting one another and their larger communities as we all rapidly adjust our daily lives. We are grateful for your genuine concern and spirit. In response, we’ve identified three meaningful ways to help in the short term:
Nationally, regionally, and locally there is a shortage of N95 respirators, isolation gowns, isolation masks, surgical masks, and eye protection. If you or someone you know lives near KU and has access to personal protective equipment (PPE) or manufacturing expertise in plastics, textiles and/or 3D printing, please contact: COVID19supplies@kumc.edu. Your contribution and assistance during this critical time will help keep our healthcare workers safe and decrease the spread of COVID-19.
Also, a COVID-19 Emergency Relief fund has been established by KU Endowment to help meet the University’s most pressing needs during this crisis. As with all donations to KU Endowment, 100% of funds raised will go to support KU.
Finally, we’ve been humbled and heartened by stories of hope and resilience from throughout our KU family. We want to hear what you and others are doing to make a difference in the lives of those affected. Please send your stories to email@example.com.
In closing, we hope you’ll enjoy this video message that was shared with the University community today at coronavirus.ku.edu, and please remember: As we come together to lift our communities, we show the world what it means to be a Jayhawk.
Chancellor, University of Kansas
President, KU Endowment
President, KU Alumni Association
Posted on Mar 16, 2020
in Alumni News
Amid the challenges and uncertainty related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in keeping with the evolving recommendations issued by the University and public health agencies, the KU Alumni Association is operating with a minimal staff. We also are limiting physical access to the Association’s headquarters in the Adams Alumni Center in Lawrence.
If you have an urgent need, please call 785-864-4760 to leave a message, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Someone will respond as soon as possible.
The decision to limit operations follows the changes we announced to alumni Friday, March 13. Visit kualumni.org/coronavirus for information and resources regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We apologize for any inconvenience, and we look forward to serving and uniting the Jayhawk community after the virus is no longer a public health crisis. We hope you and your loved ones remain healthy and safe.
Posted on Mar 13, 2020
in Campus News
On Friday, March 13, Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, KU Alumni Association President shared the following message with the KU Alumni community.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread worldwide, our thoughts go out to all who have been affected by the pandemic. Unfortunately, these uncertain times require us to forgo opportunities to gather as a Jayhawk family in order to protect the health and safety of all. In coordination with the University of Kansas, and following the guidance of public health officials, the KU Alumni Association will cancel in-person events, including:
- all official alumni network activities nationwide
- Student Alumni Network events
- Adams Alumni Center activities
In addition, Alumni Association staff members have canceled all business-related travel outside Kansas and Missouri.
These cancellations will remain in effect until May 12 per University guidelines as we explore additional ways to connect Jayhawks online. Our senior staff team will meet weekly to monitor developments and adapt event schedules as needed, and we will continue to share those decisions, posting updates on our website at kualumni.org/coronavirus. We truly appreciate our loyal volunteers’ efforts to unite Jayhawks in their communities, and we look forward to the time when we can resume our regular activities.
The University announced March 11 that the resumption of all in-person classes would be delayed until March 23. Beginning the week of March 23, all courses will be taught remotely using online tools, and beginning March 28, the University each week will re-evaluate the need to continue remote-only instruction. KU’s web page, coronavirus.ku.edu, will continue to be a helpful resource in the weeks ahead.
The University of Kansas community extends worldwide, and many Jayhawks no doubt are coping with personal and professional challenges. We extend our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones.
Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09
Posted on Mar 13, 2020
in Campus News
On Thursday, March 12, Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, KU Alumni Association President and Megan McGinnis, Assistant Director of Student Programs, shared the following message with Student Alumni Network members.
Our thoughts go out to all who have been affected by the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). In coordination with the University’s decision to conduct classes online, we will cancel all Student Alumni Network events for the next 60 days to further protect our Jayhawk community. These include the Mocktails & Mingle for Architecture on March 18, Wine & Wax on March 19, and Big Jay’s Recess on April 2.
In addition to continuing your classes online, you can stay connected to Jayhawk alumni through KU Mentoring.
Please do all you can to remain healthy and safe. Watkins Health Services offers helpful guidance for reducing your risks and taking steps if you experience symptoms.
Your well-being remains our top priority during this challenging time.
Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09
KU Alumni Association President
Assistant Director of Student Programs
Posted on Mar 12, 2020
in Campus News
On Wednesday, March 11, Chancellor Douglas A. Girod and Provost Barbara A. Bichelmeyer shared the following message to students, faculty and staff.
KU leaders have been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19. We know that some members of the Jayhawk community have been in areas with reported cases, and we don’t expect to be immune from this virus. We have a strong team that is assessing conditions regionally and across the nation and is making recommendations guided by the following principles:
- Keep KU open so it can provide services to the fullest extent possible given unprecedented circumstances.
- Maintain continuity of operations that support the academic and research missions of the university.
- Prevent the spread of the disease at KU and beyond.
- Protect members of the KU community through self-quarantine and social distancing, especially the three groups at greatest risk:
- those who may have been exposed,
- those who have chronic health challenges,
- those who are currently sick.
- Encourage all members of the KU community to be informed and practice healthy behaviors by following CDC recommendations.
- Protect equity for our most vulnerable employees and students, as much as possible, as we respond to the situation.
- Respond with agility to the fluid and changing nature of the situation.
- Provide clear communications to all members of the KU community.
- Provide exceptions for mission-critical activities on a case-by-case basis.
Delayed Resumption of In-person Classes Until March 23
To help protect the health of all members of our community, including those who may be at higher risk of the effects of COVID-19, the resumption of in-person classes will be delayed until March 23.
Next week, March 16-22, we ask that faculty prepare to transition their course content, including lectures, to online instructional platforms, such as Blackboard. Every KU course already has an existing Blackboard shell available for faculty to start the process. Beginning the week of March 23, courses will be taught remotely using online tools. We anticipate needing to stay online for several weeks, however, our team will reassess the need to continue remote-only instruction each week, starting March 28. There will be no schedule change to courses already online.
This approach limits in-person exposure after spring break to align with the estimated COVID-19 incubation period, and allows faculty members a modest amount of time to prepare and begin the transition to online instruction. It also keeps the university functioning and helps students continue toward their educational goals.
For more of the University’s statement and resources from professional health services, visit coronavirus.ku.edu.
Update regarding Big 12 and NCAA Championships
From Kansas Athletics:
In addition to the actions taken today by the Big 12 Conference and NCAA, Kansas Athletics will cancel all planned fan activities surrounding the men’s and women’s Big 12 and NCAA Basketball Championships, including pregame parties and pep rallies.
If you purchased Big 12 Tournament tickets through the Kansas Athletics Ticket Office, you will receive a refund for games impacted by the Big 12 Conference’s decision.
Read more of the statement from Kansas Athletics, as well as the statements from the Big 12 Commissioner and the NCAA president.
Posted on Feb 11, 2020
in Campus News
Pyramid Pizza, a popular local pizza joint that endured various iterations, closed its doors last fall. Alumni and Lawrence residents mourned its passing and reminisced about Pyramid in a popular local Facebook group. Sean Williams, j’78, photographed many of Pyramid’s quirky advertising campaigns and shared some of his memories with us.
I had a photography business shooting party pics for organized living groups on the KU campus. I also did ad shoots for Litwin’s, Pyramid and general mercenary work, including various KU political groups or individuals.
The photos for Pyramid merged my immersion in the fraternity, sorority and dorm life party pics business with pizza sales targeting that demographic. I frequently had extra photos from parties, and they would end up under glass at the Pyramid Pizza desk in the lower level of the Wagon Wheel Cafe.
“We get it …”
I was studying advertising (and any photo course offering available), and Mark McKee, ’87, former owner of Pyramid, was practicing business and marketing. We collaborated on the “We get it …” ad campaign and had a blast imagining how to advertise Pyramid’s unique sales points as a way to “get it.” It seemed a relatively bold theme and we got a few clucking tongues from the administration, but we smiled and suggested that they get their minds out of the gutter because we were obviously talking about multiple methods of getting yummy pizza.
“Tan Man” was featured in the first ad, as I recall, due to his enormous acceptance and fame with students, townsfolk, faculty, and all ages and persuasions. Tan Man “gets it whenever the sun shines …” Of course.
I can’t remember all the other themes, but the “late-night operators” was my favorite. We staged the photographic shoot in a local veterinarian’s office (tight quarters) and used studio lights and detailed direction for the illustration (tilting the pizza and using a scalpel) to trumpet the availability after bar-closing hours.
Mark’s chutzpah was most impressively displayed when he walked on stage at Allen Field House to deliver a pizza to Bob Hope, who was performing the KU Homecoming show in front of a packed house. Officials, audience members, and Hope himself thought that it was a planned part of the show, but it was just Mark, promoting that you could get it for a big event. Hope didn’t skip a beat, added a few jokes, and smoothed along. Mark and I both regretted that I didn’t have my camera in the audience and wasn’t assigned to shoot pics for KU that night.
I think KU officials reprimanded him for the photo of the KU cheer squad, taken before or after an organized practice (posing in a full squad pyramid with Pyramid Pizza boxes, they “get it in front of thousands …”). KU officials didn’t want the ads interpreted as an implied endorsement from the University, so I think he tamped that approach. In the meantime, the pizza’s popularity had taken off, Mark hired “Pizza Pete,” the locally famous manager of Pizza Hut, and advertising shifted to coupons and other themes.
Mark was an energetic, aggressive, positively ebullient and engaging personality driven to provide a great product in a popular fast food market in Lawrence. The Campus Hideaway, Green Pepper Pizza and other mom-and-pop shops arrived and disappeared while Pyramid expanded to Westport and multiple locations in Lawrence and elsewhere. Mark’s enthusiasm and drive for excellence prompted the success of the company, but as he launched into other ventures, quick-food competition exploded to put pressure on the Lawrence originals. Mark’s ardent promotion of Pyramid Pizza was truly the strong catalyst to Pyramid’s popularity as the primary meal choice for students who wanted to get it their way—one way or another.
Posted on Dec 31, 2019
in Alumni News
In the grand scheme of our 155 year-old University, a decade is barely a blip. But that doesn’t mean the past 10 years have gone without notable accomplishments.
We welcomed presidential visits, brought the original rules of basketball home and said farewell to a home on Daisy Hill. We revered Jayhawks who won the Nobel Peace Prize, Rhodes Scholarships, MacArthur fellowships and an Academy Award.
Jayhawks have much to be proud of.
KU Cancer Center achieves NCI designation
“I am here,” said Kathleen Sebelius, g’80, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “to formally award the University of Kansas Cancer Center with the prestigious designation as a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center.” With that proclamation on July 12, 2012, the University succeeded in its longtime quest for NCI designation, transforming cancer research and care for Kansas and the region to a gold standard.
Alumnus wins Nobel Peace Prize
President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for his efforts at ending a civil war that ravaged his country for more than 50 years. Santos, b’73, visited KU in 2012 and returned in 2017 to receive an honorary degree. The Colombian leader was not the only sitting president to visit KU during the last decade: In 2015, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit KU in more than a century.
Rock Chalk Champions
It was a decade of dominance for KU men’s basketball, including 14 straight Big 12 titles and Final Fours in 2012 and 2018. Allen Fieldhouse hosted numerous legendary players and performances, including an overtime classic against Missouri in 2012 and Frank Mason III’s National Player of the Year season in 2017.
The women’s outdoor track and field team won the national championship in 2013, and KU’s volleyball team reached its first final four in 2015. KU Debate also won the 2018 National Debate Tournament—its sixth national championship.
Honors and Awards
KU students, faculty and alumni won numerous prestigious awards during the past decade.
The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and most celebrated fellowship in the world, and each year just 32 students from the United States are selected. Two Jayhawks received the coveted award: Kelsey Murrell, c’12, became KU’s 26th Rhodes Scholar in 2011, and Shegufta Huma, c’17, was named a Rhodes Scholar in 2016.
Two Jayhawks were named MacArthur Fellows in the past ten years. Often called “genius grants,” the fellowship provides a $500,000 no-strings-attached grant that helps exceptional artists, scholars, scientists and teachers to pursue projects.
Marla Spivak, PhD’89, was named a 2010 MacArthur Fellow. She is a McKnight Distinguished Professor in entomology at the University of Minnesota and an international leader on honey bee research.
Sarah Deer, c’96, l’99, was a winner of the MacArthur fellowship in 2014. Deer is a legal scholar, strategist and advocate for policies and legislation designed to help Native American tribal courts more effectively address violence against women. She returned to KU in 2017 as a professor in the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and the School of Public Affairs & Administration.
In 2012, the University began awarding honorary degrees at Commencement to recognize intellectual, scholarly, professional, or creative achievement, or service to humanity. It is the highest honor bestowed by the University.
Kevin Willmott, a KU professor of film & media studies, was nominated for and won his first Academy Award in 2019. Willmott was a co-writer on Spike Lee’s film “BlacKkKlansman,” which won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The rules come home
The original rules of basketball, penned by James Naismith in 1891, were brought to a public auction in December 2010. Jayhawk David Booth, c’68 g’69, spent a record $4.3 million to bring the rules home.
“[The rules are] incredibly important and they should be at the University of Kansas,” Booth said. “Naismith was there 40 years. He invented basketball and Phog Allen was one of the key figures in making it so popular.”
The DeBruce Center opened in 2016 to host the historic rules, along with other basketball history exhibits and a cafe.
Far Above: The campaign for Kansas raises more than $1.6 billion
Far exceeding its original goal of $1.2 billion, Far Above, The Campaign for Kansas, had raised $1.66 billion when it ended June 2016. The campaign, which began in July 2008 and was managed by KU Endowment, boosted support for students, faculty, facility and programs, creating 735 new scholarships and fellowships, 53 new professorships and 16 new buildings or major renovations. During the campaign, the University also celebrated its sesquicentennial, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the first day of classes on September 12, 1866.
The implosion of McCollum Hall in 2015 changed the Lawrence campus skyline, as KU witnessed unprecedented building and expansion over the past decade. KU Housing alone saw several buildings built or renovated, including Self, Oswald, Downs and McCarthy halls, Stouffer Apartments plus Corbin and GSP. The KU School of Pharmacy received a state-of-the-art home on West Campus, and the school’s expansion in Wichita was made possible thanks to state support. The KU School of Business moved from Summerfield into beautiful new Capitol Federal Hall, while the KU Medical Center welcomed the new Health Education Building to its Kansas City campus. A new KU School of Medicine Salina Campus grew, along with major projects in Lawrence, including Rock Chalk Park, Central District, KU School of Engineering expansion, Spencer Museum of Art renovation and more.
The 2010s were a decade of unprecedented growth at the University under Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little’s leadership. In 2017, Gray-Little stepped down as chancellor of the University, a position she held since 2009.
Douglas A. Girod, formerly executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center, was named KU’s 18th chancellor in July 2017. At the KU Medical Center, he oversaw the educational, research, patient care and community engagement missions of the schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions.
Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, succeeded Kevin Corbett, c’88, as Alumni Association president in 2015, continuing a decade of sustained growth and impact, including the creation of the KU Mentoring program and the Jayhawk Career Network. During that time, the Student Alumni Association became the Student Alumni Network (SAN), eliminating dues for student members. The group quickly grew to become the largest student organization at KU and the biggest of its kind in the Big 12. Similarly, loyal alumni fueled the growth of the Presidents Club to record numbers, allowing the Association continue its vital work to advocate for the University of Kansas, communicate with Jayhawks in all media, recruit students and volunteers, serve students and alumni, and unite Jayhawks worldwide.
The University lost some of its top Jayhawks including chancellors Robert Hemenway, in 2015, and Del Shankel, in 2018. Several other beloved Jayhawks left us in the last decade, including Max Falkenstien, c’47, the voice of the Jayhawks for more than 60 years; the legendary Coach Don Fambrough, d’48; and Hal Sandy, j’47, creator of our smiling Jayhawk, plus too many more to name. These incredible Jayhawks will forever be remembered fondly by alumni who love KU.
Bonus: Your favorites
To cap off this list, we had to include some of your favorites. Here are some of our readers’ most popular blog posts:
Posted on Dec 18, 2019
in Campus News
University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to KU faculty and staff members Wednesday, December 18.
Today is a special day for our university as we have the occasion to celebrate a former chancellor’s many contributions to the University of Kansas and to our society.
The Kansas Board of Regents voted today to give us the authority to rename our Integrated Science Building in honor of Bernadette Gray-Little, our 17th chancellor.
The building will be officially renamed as Gray-Little Hall, effective in spring 2020.
Today’s news continues a long tradition we have at KU of honoring our former leaders and recognizing their service to our university and our state. Our former chancellors all have a building named for them, and there is not a more fitting selection for Chancellor Gray-Little than the Integrated Science Building.
In her time at KU, Chancellor Gray-Little led a physical transformation of our campuses, particularly with regard to our Central District. There, the Integrated Science Building is the focal point of a new hub of education and research that addressed immediate infrastructure needs and positions KU for excellence for decades to come.
In addition to the building, the Kansas Board of Regents also granted Chancellor Emerita status today for Chancellor Gray-Little, in recognition of her distinguished administrative service.
Please join me in celebrating both of these honors, which are apt recognitions for a leader whose special dignity and grace made her a role model and an inspiration to students, faculty, staff, and alumni alike.
Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas
Posted on Dec 6, 2019
in Campus News
University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to KU faculty and staff members Friday, December 6.
Throughout its history, the University of Kansas has been a community of talented scholars and leaders who believe in the power of higher education. Today, we have a special opportunity to welcome another remarkable scholar and leader — and to do so with excitement and optimism about our university’s future.
It is my pleasure to announce Barbara Bichelmeyer as the next provost and executive vice chancellor of the Lawrence campus. She will begin her new role in late February.
As many of you observed during her campus visit, Barbara is a tremendously talented researcher and administrator, as well as a proud KU alumna with an unabashed love for this place. She is currently the provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she also served as interim chancellor. Prior to that, she excelled in multiple leadership roles at Indiana University-Bloomington – a fellow Association of American Universities institution – and elsewhere within the IU system.
My excitement about Barbara goes beyond her credentials. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her for years on initiatives to enhance higher education’s role in regional economic development. As a result of our work together, I have come to know Barbara as a genuine and compassionate person who cares deeply about students, research and higher education. Moreover, she is a Jayhawk to the core and committed to this university’s success. For all these reasons, I have no doubt she will be a strong and effective leader.
I will tell you, this was not an easy decision — and that’s a good thing. Our national search produced four outstanding finalists who each offered distinctive strengths that would benefit KU. That said, when I consider KU’s challenges and opportunities, and my vision for KU, I am confident Barbara is the right fit at the right time for our university.
I want to thank the search committee, including co-chairs Michelle Mohr Carney and Steven Soper, for guiding us through this process. I also want to thank everyone who participated in the process by attending the finalists’ campus presentations and providing feedback. Your input was central to my decision.
Importantly, I would like to express my deep appreciation for Carl Lejuez, who has provided strong leadership and energy as our interim provost amid challenging circumstances. KU is in a better place today as a result of his efforts during the past 19 months. Please join me in thanking Carl as he returns to his role as dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
As I said at Visioning Day, despite challenges in higher education, KU is in a position of strength and poised to determine our own destiny. My vision is for KU to be a destination for talented scholars nationwide, an engine of economic growth, and a strong member of the Association of American Universities. I look forward to working with Barbara, and all of you, in pursuit of that vision.
Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas