Board of Regents announces 18th chancellor of the University of Kansas

Posted on May 25, 2017 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Dr. Douglas Girod, 18th Chancellor of the University of Kansas

Today the Kansas Board of Regents announced the appointment of Dr. Douglas A. Girod as the 18th Chancellor of the University of Kansas.

Dr. Douglas Girod, 18th Chancellor of the University of Kansas, speaking at the press conference.“I am honored to be here today to make this important announcement. Naming the next Chancellor is one of the most important jobs we undertake as the Board of Regents,” stated Zoe Newton, Chair of the Board of Regents. “Dr. Girod is the right person for this time of transition. His 23 years of service are a testament to Dr. Girod’s love and commitment to KU. He will honor KU’s traditions and history while leading this great university into the future.”

Douglas A. Girod, M.D., became executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center on Feb. 1, 2013, where he oversaw the educational, research, patient care and community engagement missions of the University of Kansas Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions, with their total annual enrollment of more than 3,300 students; a workforce of more than 2,100 faculty and more than 4,000 staff; and research funding of nearly $100 million.

In addition to serving as executive vice chancellor, Dr. Girod also served as interim executive dean of the KU School of Medicine until March 24, 2014. Prior to those roles, he served as Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. A surgeon, Dr. Girod joined the University of Kansas Medical Center faculty in 1994 and quickly rose through the academic ranks, becoming chair of the Otolaryngology department in 2002. He was named Russell E. Bridwell Endowed Chair in 2008.

“Doug Girod brings a wealth of experience to this role. He is a proven administrator and an excellent listener, and those on the KU Medical Center campus already are well familiar with Dr. Girod’s steady guidance and leadership abilities,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Litte. “I congratulate him, and KU is in good hands. I know he will continue our work to fulfill our mission and elevate the national stature of our university into the future. ”

Learn more about the new chancellor in the official news release from the University.

More on Dr. Girod:

Feature: We have but one soul (Kansas Alumni magazine, Issue No. 5, 2004)

Feature: Paging Dr. Girod (Kansas Alumni magazine, Issue No. 5, 2013)

Tags: , ,

KU selects Arizona professor to lead School of Social Welfare

Posted on May 23, 2017 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Michelle Mohr Carney, new Dean of the KU School of Social WelfareMichelle Mohr Carney, professor and director of the School of Social Work at Arizona State University, has been named dean of the school and will officially join the KU faculty in July.

“KU is indeed fortunate to have someone with Michelle’s leadership experience and scholarly background joining our team,” said Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi. “I’m confident she will guide the school toward new opportunities and partnerships that address student and societal needs.”

“I am very excited to join such a prestigious university and school,” Carney said. “I can’t wait to start working with the engaged and productive faculty, and the dedicated staff. The KU School of Social Welfare is poised to be an even greater leader in social work education in the next decade.”

Bendapudi said she was thankful for the effort displayed by those involved in the dean search as well as leaders in the school.

“I want to thank the members of the search committee, led by Dean of the School of Law Stephen Mazza, for their important contributions of time and talent to this institution,” Bendapudi said. “I also must acknowledge the dedication and service of Professor and Associate Dean Stephen Kapp, who stepped in to assist as interim dean during this time of transition.”

Learn more about the new dean of the KU School of Social Welfare in the official news release from the university.

Tags: , ,

Business school announces new dean appointment

Posted on May 19, 2017 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

L. Paige Fields, new dean of the KU School of BusinessL. Paige Fields, professor and dean of the School of Business at Trinity University, has been named Henry D. Price professor and dean of the KU School of Business. She will begin her tenure July 1.

“I am truly excited to have Paige joining our faculty,” said Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi. “Dr. Fields has proven leadership skills that will continue the upward trajectory of the school and build important partnerships within the university as well as the across the state of Kansas and in the Kansas City region.”

“I am honored to be joining the KU family as the new dean of the School of Business,” Fields said. “With Capitol Federal Hall as our home, outstanding opportunities for the School of Business abound. I am absolutely thrilled to begin the process of working with the KU community to develop strategies, new ideas and cutting-edge programs that will enhance the school’s already outstanding reputation. We should look to invest, innovate and grow, and I am eager to help KU’s incredible group of faculty, staff, students, alumni and business community members do just that.”

Fields fills the vacancy created when Bendapudi, the previous dean of the School of Business, was selected to be KU’s provost and executive vice chancellor.

Learn more about the new dean in the official university release.

Tags: , , ,

Reflecting on a year of achievement

Posted on May 4, 2017 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little
The following message from Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was sent to KU students, faculty, staff members and alumni at the close of the spring 2017 semester.

Dear Jayhawks,

Two years ago at Traditions Night, I shared with the freshmen how Shade and I enjoy evening strolls across Mount Oread. I even revealed my favorite location atop Daisy Hill, from where you can look east and see clear across campus to Fraser Hall.

Today, that view looks very different than it did a few years ago. During the past eight years, we have transformed the University of Kansas with 50 capital improvement projects totaling $700 million and launched a once-in-a-generation redevelopment of our Central District that will change the face of education and research at KU.

But as I have said before, the transformation goes deeper than buildings and encompasses every aspect of our mission. As the semester comes to a close and we reflect on the 2016-17 academic year, we can all be proud of our role in this transformation.

The transformation is apparent in the way we educate students, starting with how we bring them to KU in the first place. This year, our freshman class grew for the fifth straight year and was the most academically talented class in KU history — the result of strategic changes in how we identify, recruit, fund and enroll best-fit students. These record-setting freshmen joined KU students like Shegufta Huma, who this year became our 27th Rhodes Scholar, and Taylor Zabel, our 19th Truman Scholar.

The transformation of KU is also apparent in the way we build healthy communities. In September, our KU Cancer Center applied for Comprehensive Cancer Center designation through the National Cancer Institute. In October, our Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s national designation was renewed, empowering us to continue our efforts to prevent this devastating disease. And in June, we will complete construction on the new Health Education Building, which will enable us to accommodate a modern curriculum and increase the number of healthcare professionals we educate.

The transformation is apparent in the way we make discoveries. Last semester, Professors Alice Bean and David Darwin were named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Professor Raghunath Chaudhari was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. In April, KU alumnus and Google Earth co-creator Brian McClendon joined KU as a research professor in electrical engineering and computer science. And last week, Cecilia Menjivar, our Foundation Distinguished Professor of Sociology, became the second KU researcher in three years to be named a Carnegie Fellow.

This past year, we sought opportunities to make campus more welcoming and inclusive. In September, our Office of the Provost responded to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Group report. Work continues on our Climate Study, a university-wide examination of the living, learning and working environment at KU.

This year was not without challenges. Earlier this semester, we reacted to executive orders on immigration that have caused uncertainty about the future of immigration and international scholarship. We also face uncertainty about federal research funding and the state budget as it relates to higher education. I remain hopeful we can manage these challenges if we remain vigilant and committed to our core values.

Next weekend at Commencement, thousands of Jayhawks will walk down the Hill and receive their degrees. While the day is primarily a celebration of the new graduates, it is also a celebration of alumni and supporters like you who have paved the way for them. For that, I thank you.

Sincerely,

Bernadette Gray-Little
Chancellor

Tags: ,

Professor’s walking tour set for tomorrow

Posted on May 4, 2017 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Ted Johnson's KU campus walking tour
Professor Emeritus Ted Johnson’s Stop Day walking tour, a beloved rite of spring on Mount Oread that all Jayhawks should experience at least once, is set for its annual renewal at 9 a.m. Friday in front of the Natural History Museum.

The tour, during which Johnson uses KU landmarks to spur discussion about timeless topics of the human experience, ventures to Lippincott Hall at 10; Twente Hall and the Prairie Acre at 11; and Watson Library at noon. A 1 p.m. lunch in The Underground will be followed by visits to various sites from Anschutz Library to the Chi Omega fountain at 2 and a journey from the fountain to Memorial Drive at 3.

Johnson’s tour visits the Campanile at 4 before concluding with a relaxing gathering in Spooner Hall’s Weaver Court at 5. As always, participants are free to join or depart the free marathon tour at any point along the way.

In the event of inclement weather, the tour will begin at 9 a.m. in Lippincott Hall with a visit to the Wilcox Classical Museum followed by lunch in the Kansas Union.

Tags: ,

Chancellor’s office issues information regarding executive order on immigration

Posted on Jan 30, 2017 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

img_about_employment
The following message was emailed to all faculty, staff and students at the University of Kansas on Sunday, January 29. The message is also available on the KU website.

Last Friday’s executive order suspending immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has raised concerns for many members of the University of Kansas community. I share these concerns, and I want to assure you we are coordinating with our international programs staff, immigration experts and peer universities to fully understand the implications of the new federal policies. We have also directly contacted our international students at KU to offer guidance and resources.

Based on what we know today, we advise all nationals from the affected countries to avoid international travel until there is some clarification of the situation. This includes passport holders, citizens, nationals, and dual nationals from the impacted countries.

As a flagship research university, KU is committed to the open exchange of students, scholars and ideas from across the world. Moreover, we are deeply concerned about the well-being of KU students, faculty and staff who may be affected by the new federal restrictions on immigration. For these reasons, we will work with our colleagues throughout higher education to raise these concerns to policymakers. I encourage you to read recent statements from the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities on this topic.

This is a fluid situation, and we expect new developments over the coming days. We will keep you updated as we learn more, with a particular focus on our international scholars and their families who are most directly impacted by these new federal policies. In the meantime, we invite you to utilize the university’s support services, including International Programs, if you have questions about immigration or travel-related issues.

This state and nation were settled by immigrants, and immigrants continue to make immeasurable contributions to our society. Moreover, I want to reiterate that accessibility, diversity of thought, and the free and open exchange of ideas remain core values of the University of Kansas. That will never change, and we will continue our work to advance these values. And we will continue to let scholars around the world know this: No matter your country of origin, the color of your skin, your religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation or political leaning – you belong at the University of Kansas, and we value the contributions you make to our community.

Sincerely,

Bernadette Gray-Little

Chancellor
University of Kansas

Tags: , ,

Reflecting on a semester of achievements

Posted on Dec 16, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

First snow on Mount Oread, December 2016
The following message from Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was sent to KU students, faculty, staff members and alumni at the close of the fall 2016 semester.

Dear Jayhawks,

As our semester comes to a close, I want to take a moment to reflect on the University of Kansas’ achievements during the past few months and thank you for your efforts on behalf of our university.

The semester began with wonderful news that this year’s freshman class had grown for the fifth straight year and is the most academically talented class in KU history. To increase in both size and quality is a tremendous accomplishment — and a clear indication that the decisions we’ve made regarding how we identify, attract, fund and enroll students are paying off. These freshmen joined a university already brimming with talented students like Shegufta Huma, who last month became the 27th KU student to win the Rhodes Scholarship, and thousands of others who are making our community a better place in their own way.

This semester, we continued to build healthy communities. In September, our KU Cancer Center applied for Comprehensive Cancer Center designation through the National Cancer Institute. And in October, we learned our Alzheimer’s Disease Center will continue to pursue ways to prevent this devastating disease after the National Institute on Aging renewed its national designation for five years.

This semester also saw a number of KU faculty recognized for excellence in research and discovery. In October, we hosted KU Elevate to showcase four KU faculty who are doing trailblazing research in their fields. Earlier this month, we announced Professors Alice Bean and David Darwin have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. And Professor Raghunath Chaudhari was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors for his work to invent cleaner, safer, economically viable technologies for fuels and chemicals.

This semester, we continued the physical transformation of our university. In August, students attended classes for the first time in the new Capitol Federal Hall. In October, we celebrated the reopening of the Spencer Museum of Art. In November, we hosted a “topping out” ceremony for the Integrated Science Building in our new Central District. Together these projects are transforming the way we educate students, make discoveries, and fulfill our obligations to the society we serve.

One reason students choose KU is the achievements of our alumni — and we had many to celebrate this year! The semester began with several KU athletes participating in the Summer Olympics in Rio. And in October, we learned that KU graduate President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end a 50-year civil war in his country.

This semester saw another remarkable season for our volleyball team, which won the Big 12 Conference championship for the first time in history. In addition, senior Cassie Wait was named the Big 12 Conference Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. I want to congratulate and thank Cassie and her teammates for being terrific role models for student-athletes across the country.

This semester was not without its challenges. Last May, our state funding was reduced by $10.7 million, which forced difficult choices regarding the current fiscal year budget. And at the federal level, there remains uncertainty regarding the future of science education and research funding, as well as how the incoming administration will address specific issues of importance to universities and researchers nationwide. As always, we will need to address these challenges together.

None of our success would be possible without the passion, energy and guidance of friends and alumni like you. Your involvement enhances our university each day, and I am grateful that you are part of our university.

Thank you for your support, and may your holiday season be joyful and bright.

Sincerely,

Bernadette Gray-Little
Chancellor

Tags: ,

Phog the dog’s big adventure on campus

Posted on Nov 18, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Phog the dog's big adventure |  photos courtesy of Pat Sullivan
A few years ago, Pat Sullivan was attending a baseball game at Fenway, sporting Jayhawk gear, when a Red Sox fan asked why he wasn’t showing allegiance to the home team instead.

Sullivan’s response? “I’m KU’s biggest fan, and it’s my responsibility to represent my ‘Hawks wherever I go.”

And represent he does. Sullivan, j’92, is prolific on the social networking site Twitter and frequently posts pictures from his travels around the country that demonstrate how he spreads Jayhawk spirit wherever he goes. (This one was featured in the August issue of our member e-newsletter.)

Sullivan is such a die-hard Jayhawk fan that his basement was featured in a Lawrence Journal-World article about KU rooms—his basement includes paraphernalia like a putting green painted like the KU football field; cutout heads of the 2008 national championship basketball team, plus Dick Vitale and Max Falkenstien; and tickets from all the games he has attended.

That wasn’t the only mention of the superfan by the local paper. After his oldest daughter Bailey, a standout distance runner at Free State High School, completed her senior season, she told the reporter that her dad’s love of KU presented a small conflict with her future college plans to compete at Texas Christian University: “He’s refusing to wear purple so far.”

But there’s one member of the Sullivan family who had not yet been exposed to the University of Kansas campus: the dog. Naturally, their favorite four-legged friend is named Phog Allen Fieldhouse. To commemorate the beginning of Homecoming week this year, Sullivan introduced Phog to “the sights and sounds of the greatest university.”

“While it’s true that dogs have a keen senses of smell, sight, hearing and taste, Phog has something more than that,” according to Sullivan. “He is also blessed with a keen sense of tradition, pride and respect—rare qualities indeed, but ones that are unique to those proud enough to call KU ‘home.'”

Check out Phog’s big adventure on campus in our Storify below.

Tags: ,

Annual run honors veterans, raises scholarship funds

Posted on Nov 15, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Veterans Day Run 2016
More than 300 participants ran, walked and jogged the annual Veterans Day Run, hosted by the Veterans Alumni Network and KU’s Student Veterans of America.

KU ROTC juniors Tristan Hayes and Hannah Jerome enjoyed the run for multiple reasons. “We’re out to show support for the veterans and I love running. The combination of both makes for an awesome day,” Hayes said. Jerome, a junior from Des Moines, was competing in her first 5K. “I think I overcompensated on those hills, but it was really fun,” she said, adding that KU was the perfect fit for her many interests. “It was never a question of if I was going to serve, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and KU offered me an opportunity to go to school and serve at the same time.”

The course took runners past campus memorials, including Memorial Stadium, the Campanile and the Korean and Vietnam tributes.

The 2016 run was dedicated to honoring Vietnam veterans. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the dedication of KU’s Vietnam War memorial, the first on-campus commemoration in the nation. It honors 57 students and alumni who died or were declared missing.

The Veterans Day Run honors all those who have served or are currently serving in our military and to raise awareness of the role veterans play at the University. All proceeds support KU’s Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund and Student Veterans of America.

—Dan Storey

For more information about the Veterans Alumni Network or to provide information about your military service, visit the network’s website. Race results are available here.

Watch the slideshow below for pictures from the Veteran’s Day Run, or click here to view the pictures on Flickr. Participants are welcome to download photos for personal use.

Veterans Day Run 2016

Tags: , , , ,

KU celebrates Central District

Posted on Nov 14, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Central District Topping Out Ceremony
A colossal building—280,000 square feet—and the largest KU expansion in nearly 100 years demanded a massive celebration. A measly groundbreaking simply would not do.

So KU leaders nixed the shovel-and-dirt ritual and thought bigger. To mark a milestone in construction of the Integrated Science Building, which will anchor the new Central District taking shape on the Lawrence campus, KU staged a “topping out” ceremony Nov. 10. Beneath a brilliant sun and cloudless blue sky, a giant crane hoisted the final beam atop the frame of the three-story building. The task concluded with a raucous “Rock Chalk!” plus plenty of cheers and cannon bursts of confetti.

Central District Topping Out ceremony

About 500 guests attended the celebration, including 300 craftsmen and women currently working on various aspects of the Central District. As the event began, guests took turns signing the final beam before gathering for speeches and a barbecue buffet at long tables on the open-air first floor of the ISB. Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little began by tracing the origins of the project from KU’s 2014 master plan. The plan put KU’s aspirations on paper, envisioning the Central District as “a new hub for education and research that would enable us to address urgent needs here at the University and position us for excellence in the years to come,” she said. “After years of hard work, that vision is becoming a reality.”

Longstanding needs

Jim Modig, University architect, told the crowd that the Integrated Science Building meets a longstanding need by providing a proper home for teaching and collaborative research in chemistry, medicinal chemistry, physics, molecular biosciences and related fields. The structure will include:

  • 35 modular research labs
  • 18 class labs
  • a 352-seat lecture hall
  • 3 smaller classrooms
  • an open atrium
  • additional core labs and clean rooms

The atrium and other features of the building will showcase “science on display” with open corridors and large interior and exterior windows, Modig explained. The structure’s energy performance will be comparable to LEED Gold standards to support KU’s commitment to a sustainable environment.

Modig, a’73, also narrated a video flyover tour of the Central District. The district will include:

  • a new student union
  • student apartment complex
  • residence hall and dining facility
  • 600-space parking garage
  • central utility plant

A walkway known as the Jayhawk Trail will connect the Central District to West Campus, and the area will include a plaza and green space, as well as playing fields between the student apartment complex and residence hall. The parking garage will open in early 2017, and the residence hall and dining facility will be completed in summer 2017. The remaining structures will be finished in 2018. During peak construction, about 600 craftsmen and women will work on the various projects.

A transformative project

After years of study, KU created a public-private partnership to launch the $350 million project. The Kansas Board of Regents approved the concept in late 2015, and construction began 10 months ago, following the demolition of McCollum residence hall, the Stouffer Place apartments and the Burge Union. The University established the nonprofit KU Campus Development Corporation, which collaborates with Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate LLC to oversee development, construction, operations and maintenance of the district. Chief contractors for the project are Clark Construction and McCownGordon.

Gray-Little declared that the Central District will “fundamentally transform this university and the way we educate leaders and conduct research,” moving KU closer to its goal to become one of the nation’s premier public research universities. Ultimately, the Integrated Science Building is more than an immense building, she said: “Remember that this is not just about physical space. It is not about a building. It’s about the students, and the way that they will learn in this new space. It’s about our faculty and staff who will educate our students and who will make discoveries that improve our world.”

—Jennifer Jackson Sanner

Central District Topping Out ceremony

Adorning the beam were the signatures of event guests, including construction workers, students, faculty and staff, and U.S. and KU flags. In keeping with tradition, two small trees atop the beam signify that no lives have been lost in the project, and they honor the natural resources used to build the structure.


Additional resources:
Pictures from the Topping Out ceremony

Central District website

Central District time-lapse webcams

“The Shape of Things to Come,” Kansas Alumni magazine, No. 3, 2014

Tags: , , , ,