The Office of the Chancellor at the University of Kansas released this message from Chancellor Douglas A. Girod on Tuesday, Jan. 22, the first day of spring 2019 classes.
Welcome back to campus, Jayhawks. I want to wish you well as we begin a new year and return from a holiday break that hopefully provided an opportunity to rest and recharge. The new academic term also provides us with a chance to examine what lies ahead.
Before we begin, I want to take a moment to encourage our community to participate in upcoming celebrations of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Though the official holiday was yesterday, we have announced a number of opportunities to recognize Dr. King’s legacy in the week ahead, beginning with a march along Jayhawk Boulevard today. These community events, and others throughout the semester, provide an opportunity not just to honor Dr. King, but also to reflect on our university’s important focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We should seek to remember his words and actions far beyond this week, as we concentrate on our efforts to make our university a welcoming place for all.
Last week, the Kansas Legislature began a new session with new Governor Laura Kelly’s first State of the State address and the release of her budget recommendations for the next year. Governor Kelly has proposed an additional $8.9 million for public higher education. This amounts to an additional $2.8 million for the University of Kansas – including $1.5 million for Lawrence and $1.3 million for KU Medical Center. She has also proposed a 2.5 percent state employee pay increase plan that includes university employees. We appreciate Governor Kelly’s support for additional higher education funding in her budget proposal, and we look forward to working with her and the Kansas Legislature to continue on the funding restoration path. State funding for KU has declined $28 million since 2008, and the governor’s proposal constitutes a step in the right direction to ensure KU can continue to meet the needs of Kansans and drive prosperity in our state.
Of course, private donations make up an important part of our annual budget too, with capital grants and gifts comprising about 9 percent of our overall funds received each year. This year, we will build on last year’s successful One Day. One KU. 24-hour giving campaign, which raised more than $734,000 for KU. Look for more information soon on the second annual event, scheduled for Feb. 20.
Also this spring, our students will join those from 32 other schools in the Association of American Universities to participate in a national survey on sexual assault and misconduct. This confidential survey is expected to be among the largest of its kind, and I encourage all of us to highlight its importance among our students once the survey launches in a few weeks.
As our semester begins, I also want to take a moment to thank Carl Lejuez, interim provost and vice chancellor, and many others across the Lawrence campus for their continued work to implement a new budget model. I have paid close attention to this effort, and it has my full support. Moving forward, this new model will prioritize our people and programs while allowing for more strategic financial planning. As that work continues, I am confident that it will improve our fiscal decision-making and strengthen our university.
Thank you all for your continued efforts to elevate our university and, more broadly, our society. As always, I look forward to what we will accomplish together.
Our new class of freshmen has the highest average ACT score and the highest average high school GPA of any class in history. Our six-year graduation rate and freshman retention rate are the highest they’ve ever been.
We also grew our university’s overall headcount for the fifth straight year. The Edwards Campus in particular saw a 12.5 percent student credit hour increase in its academic programs.
All of this is a testament to the good work you do each day to attract, recruit and retain talented students.
These efforts are always ongoing, of course. Next week, we will have a special opportunity to welcome prospective students and families to Lawrence for our annual Crimson & Blue Day.
On Friday, Oct. 12, high school students, transfer students and their families will participate in campus tours, academic sessions, resource fairs and open houses to all the residence halls and scholarship halls and some fraternities and sororities to help them explore KU. More information, including a full schedule of events, is available at admissions.ku.edu/crimsonandblue.
All of us contribute to our recruitment efforts, so I want to thank you in advance for helping to showcase the best parts of being a Jayhawk.
So if you see a prospective student on campus next Friday, stop and say hello — or ask and see if they need directions!
Again, thank you for all that you do to attract great students to our university and to help them develop into the leaders of tomorrow.
The University of Kansas officially introduced Jeff Long, the university’s new director of athletics, at a news conference July 11 in the Lied Center Pavilion.
The news conference began with opening remarks by Drue Jennings, who headed the university’s search process, as well as Chancellor Douglas A. Girod and Long. After that, the three sat together for a Q&A period with members of the media.
Long was announced as the university’s new director of athletics July 5. He will begin his role August 1.
University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod today named Jeff Long as the university’s new director of athletics.
Long brings more than two decades of experience in athletic administration at the Division I level, most recently at the University of Arkansas, where he led a program comprising 19 sports and 460 student-athletes from 2008 through 2017. During that time, he transformed Arkansas’ athletics department into one of the most successful in the country and established himself as a national leader within intercollegiate athletics.
Long will be officially introduced at a news conference Wednesday, July 11, in Lawrence at a time and location to be determined. He will start his role Aug. 1.
“Jeff Long has tremendous leadership and administrative experience in major college athletics, and he is a terrific fit for Kansas Athletics as we work to ensure our student-athletes succeed on the field and in the classroom,” Girod said. “Those who know him describe him as a man of character who cares deeply about higher education and the student-athletes he serves. For all these reasons, we are thrilled to welcome him to the University of Kansas.”
During Long’s tenure, Arkansas captured 34 conference championships and advanced to 139 postseason competitions, including the school’s first Bowl Championship Series appearance in football and national titles at the 2013 NCAA Men’s Indoor and 2015 NCAA Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships and the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In 2016-17, Arkansas finished No. 20 in the Learfield Directors’ Cup, which measures universities’ success across all sports, marking the university’s eighth top-25 finish in the previous 10 years. Long also launched a $160 million renovation to Razorback Stadium. In the classroom, the Razorbacks posted a school record student-athlete GPA and exceeded the national APR multiyear rate in all 19 sports, including posting its highest program average ever.
Additionally, Long served as the chairman of the inaugural College Football Playoff selection committee for 2014 and 2015 and remained a member of the committee through 2017.
Prior to leading Arkansas, Long served as athletics director at the University of Pittsburgh. Additionally, he has held administrative roles at the University of Oklahoma, University of Michigan, Virginia Tech University, Eastern Kentucky University and Rice University. He held coaching staff positions at Duke University, the University of Michigan and North Carolina State University. In total, he has been an athletic director and administrator in five of the six Bowl Championship Series conferences — the Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, Atlantic Coast and SEC.
“My family and I are thrilled to join Chancellor Girod’s leadership team at the University of Kansas,” Long said. “It was clear from the moment I met with the chancellor and his search committee members, they have a deep love for the university and understand and appreciate the positive role intercollegiate athletics plays in the university community. Through our conversations, it became evident we share a common belief that the student-athlete experience prepares young people for the challenges they will face throughout life. I am excited to work with the student-athletes, coaches, staff, the community of Lawrence and the incredible fan base to build on past success and create a shared vision for the future of Kansas Athletics.”
Long comes to KU after a seven-week search process headed by Girod and KU alumnus Drue Jennings, who served as KU’s interim director of athletics in 2003.
“We are thrilled to have someone of Jeff’s caliber joining the University of Kansas,” Jennings said. “Jeff has a record of integrity, experience in hiring coaches, ties with other Bowl Championship Series schools, effective fundraising and a willingness to lead on national issues affecting college athletics. We can be proud that he’s joining us at KU, and we can be confident that Kansas Athletics is in good hands under his leadership.”
Long’s contract with Kansas Athletics will pay him $1.5 million per year for five years. Of that amount, $1.3 million is paid by private funds from Kansas Athletics Inc., with the remaining $200,000 paid by the university.
An Ohio native, Long and his wife, Fanny, have two daughters, Stephanie and Christina.
Read more, including what others are saying about the selection of Jeff Long.
The Hawks and Highways tour stopped in Hutchinson for a Jayhawk tradition unlike any other. The ninth annual KU Alumni Invitational took place June 25 at Prairie Dunes Country Club.
The annual event brought members of the Presidents Club together to enjoy a round of golf with KU special guests. Chancellor Doug Girod, Bill Self, head men’s basketball coach, and Heath Peterson, president of the KU Alumni Association, all attended.
The foursome of Zach Dyer, Will Moore, Cameron Wilste and Kyle Tucker won the championship flight.
“The alumni invitational at Prairie Dunes is a fantastic event,” said Moore, l’06. “Having the opportunity to play one of the best golf courses in the world with fellow Jayhawks is an unbelievable opportunity. The event is well organized and always a great time. I look forward to playing every year.”
“First, it’s a great venue, a first class golf course,” said John Miles. “My group and I played last year and knew we had to come back. The Alumni Association and the Williams Fund do a great job setting up the event and making everyone who participates feel important.”
Kent Deutsch, Kent Richardson, Tommy Castor, and Chris Ugolini made up the first flight leaders.
The event was presented by Tickets for Less, a partner of the KU Alumni Association. Campus partners includingKansas Athletics the Williams Education Fund, KU Admissions, the School of Social Welfare, and the KU Medical School also attended.
Hawks & Highways is a multi-year effort coordinated by the KU Alumni Association and Kansas Athletics. Tour events feature appearances by KU coaches as well as university administrators and other special guests.
This is the first year of an effort to reach Jayhawks throughout Kansas by bringing the best of KU to their hometowns. The tour has visited Leavenworth, McPherson, Hays, Manhattan, Garden City and Pittsburg and has featured several KU guests, including athletic directors and coaches, campus administrators and Alumni Association staff.
“More than 150,000 KU graduates and former students live in Kansas,” says Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, Alumni Association president. “It’s a priority for us to connect with these Jayhawks in their communities to show our appreciation for their dedication and support.”
Speakers at the events shared sentiments of a positive trajectory for the University. Peterson reminded the crowd that total enrollment has grown for the fifth straight year. Matt Baty, d’07, senior associate athletics director, praised the relationship between Kansas Athletics and the Alumni Association, calling it “one of the best in the entire country.”
Future stops include the annual KU Alumni Invitational at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, along with a Salina event Monday, June 25. Chancellor Doug Girod and Head Basketball Coach Bill Self will headline an impressive group of Jayhawk leaders.
It’s easy to follow along with Hawks & Highways! Follow us on Instagram for stories from the events, or follow us on Twitter for updates. The Williams Education Fund Twitter account also provides information about Hawks & Highways.
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to all University of Kansas faculty and staff members on Monday, May 21, 2018. The message was also posted on the chancellor’s website.
I am writing to inform you of a leadership change in Kansas Athletics.
This morning I met with Director of Athletics Sheahon Zenger and informed him that I am relieving him of his duties, effective immediately.
Sheahon has been a loyal Jayhawk, and our athletics department has improved in many areas under his leadership. But Athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary.
Sean Lester, our deputy athletics director, will serve as interim director. I have spoken with Sean about my expectations for the coming months, and I am confident he will provide sound leadership and stability during this transition.
I have begun the process of identifying a permanent athletics director. To lead this process, I have enlisted Drue Jennings, one of our most respected and accomplished alumni. Many of you know Drue as our interim athletics director in 2003 and for his role in leading the search processes that brought Chancellor Gray-Little and Coach Self to KU. Jed Hughes, a consultant with the Korn Ferry executive search firm, will assist Drue.
Some of you may have questions about our football program. I spoke with Coach Beaty earlier today and shared my expectation that he will continue recruiting hard and getting his team ready for the season.
Since becoming chancellor, I have spent countless hours with higher education peers and Jayhawks to hear their perspective on KU. A common thread in these conversations is that, as a major public university with national aspirations, we must continue to strive for excellence in all areas — including athletics. As I have said many times, a successful athletics department is inextricably linked to our broader mission as a flagship research university.
The other common thread in these conversations is optimism for Kansas Athletics. Across the country, we are recognized as having elite programs, a proud tradition, and a loyal fan base. These assets will serve us well as we identify a new leader for Kansas Athletics.
I want to thank Sheahon for his service during the past seven years. Under his leadership, student-athlete GPAs reached an all-time high. Rock Chalk Park, McCarthy Hall, and the DeBruce Center are lasting tributes to his efforts. Most importantly, he prioritized our student-athletes and represented KU with integrity and class.
Jayhawks celebrated their alma mater’s past, present and future at the 23rd annual Rock Chalk Ball, held April 28 at the Kansas City Convention Center. This year’s event concluded a week of inauguration festivities for Chancellor Douglas A. Girod.
Hosted by the Alumni Association and the Greater Kansas City Network, the annual event unites Jayhawks in the nation’s largest KU community and raises funds for Association programs to advocate for KU; communicate to alumni and friends in all media; recruit students and volunteers; serve current students, alumni and KU; and unite all Jayhawks.
Chancellor Girod and his wife, Susan, served as honorary event chairs. Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info and the DeBruce Center, lent his voice—and his wealth of KU knowledge and traditions—as this year’s emcee. The event featured silent and live auctions and the enthusiastic sounds of the Patrick Lentz Band, one of Kansas City’s premier cover bands. The KU Libraries exhibit, History of the Jayhawk, was on display during the cocktail hour.
Sasha Flores Boulware, c’98, g’00, and Billy Marshall, c’00, served as network co-chairs for the event.
In keeping with the Alumni Association’s mission to strengthen KU, proceeds from the 2018 Rock Chalk Ball will be used to benefit legacy student recruitment and student programs. Proceeds from the Fund-A-Need portion of the auction will benefit the Jayhawk Career Network. A new KU Alumni Mentoring Program will be launched this fall to give students easy access to the power of our alumni base.
Thank you to the event’s title sponsor, Tickets For Less, and the presenting sponsors—Boulevard Brewing, Charlie Hustle and Gohagan— for their contributions to the live auction.
Check out some of our favorite social posts from Rock Chalk Ball below! Official photos from the event, courtesy of Steve Puppe, are available here and may be downloaded for personal use. If you attended this year’s Rock Chalk Ball, we’d love to have your feedback—please complete our survey.
University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the message below to KU faculty and staff members Tuesday, April 17.
I am pleased to announce Carl Lejuez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, as our interim provost and executive vice chancellor. Carl will begin his new role April 30 as current provost Neeli Bendapudi leaves KU to become president of the University of Louisville.
Carl came to KU in 2016 from the University of Maryland, where he served as a professor of psychology and associate dean of research for the college of behavioral and social sciences. Since arriving at KU, he has further established himself as a skilled administrator and a respected leader. His experience with the College — our largest and most diverse academic unit — positions him to continue ongoing Provost Office initiatives while also pursuing new strategies on behalf of our university. We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber serving as interim provost, and I am confident our university will benefit from his leadership.
Carl’s new role will require him to name an interim dean of the College. That announcement is expected within a week.
Please join me in welcoming Carl to his new role. I look forward to working with him — and all of you — to move the university forward.
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to all University of Kansas faculty and staff members on Tuesday, Apr. 3, 2018. The message was also posted on the chancellor’s website.
I am writing to let you know that a key member of our executive team will be leaving the University of Kansas for a new opportunity.
Earlier today, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi was named the new president of the University of Louisville. She is slated to begin her new role in May.
While this is a loss for KU, I am delighted for Neeli, who has served our university with passion for the past seven years and will undoubtedly do great work at Louisville. As friends and colleagues, we can be happy for her. And as a university, we can be proud that her time at KU enabled her to refine her leadership skills and move on to the presidency of a major public research institution.
I will name an interim provost in the coming days. Additionally, I will keep you informed on the process for identifying a permanent successor in the coming weeks.
Neeli has been with the University of Kansas since 2011 and has been integral to many of our most important initiatives. As provost and executive vice chancellor since 2016, she has prioritized retention and graduation rates, faculty and staff development, and our university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Prior to serving as provost, she was the Henry D. Price Dean of our School of Business. In that role, she partnered with KU Endowment to raise $198.6 million in total gifts, oversaw an expansion of the school’s academic programming, and guided the school to gains in national rankings.
Beyond these specific efforts, Neeli brought unmatched enthusiasm to her work — the kind of enthusiasm that was contagious and inspired those around her. She and her family are Jayhawks to the core, and their love and appreciation for this university knows no bounds.
The University of Kansas and the state we serve have benefited from Neeli’s efforts. Please join me in congratulating Neeli on her new position and thanking her for her service to KU.