Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little

Since arriving at the University of Kansas in 2009, Bernadette Gray-Little has advanced KU’s mission of lifting students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

Through the Bold Aspirations strategic plan, KU is changing the way it prepares students for success. It’s fostering research and scholarship across all disciplines, and sharing the benefits of a flagship university with the state and world.

Gray-Little led the effort to create new admission standards for the University of Kansas. These new standards took effect in 2016 and give students and families a more accurate picture of what it takes to be successful at a research university.

Under Gray-Little’s leadership, the university has also revamped financial aid, creating four-year renewable scholarships and expanding the Jayhawk Generations Scholarship. Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellowships were created to support outstanding doctoral students. And KU has launched its first university-wide curriculum, the KU Core, which incorporates both classes and experiences, making KU a leader among its national peers.

As part of KU’s commitment to the health of patients in Kansas and beyond, the School of Medicine is expanding the number of doctors it educates. The university is also turning discoveries into treatments and cures. In 2011 the university became a member of the Clinical and Translational Science Award consortium and the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center received national designation from the National Institute on Aging, while in 2012 the University of Kansas Cancer Center achieved National Cancer Institute designation.

Gray-Little has also been instrumental to Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, KU Endowment’s $1.2 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign. Additionally, the university’s Changing for Excellence initiative is making administrative operations more efficient, with the savings being invested in education and research.

As chancellor, Gray-Little is the chief executive officer of the university, overseeing campuses in Lawrence, Kansas City, Overland Park, Salina, and Wichita, as well as research and educational centers in Hays, Parsons, Pittsburg, Topeka, and Yoder.

In 2015, Gray-Little was named as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, to serve a one-year term ending in November 2016. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and was named to serve on the National Institutes of Health Advisory Committee for the director beginning in 2017.

Prior to becoming KU’s 17th chancellor, Gray-Little held leadership positions at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, including executive vice chancellor and provost.

Chancellor's Vision

The mission of the University of Kansas is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

We will do that by raising the expectations we have for ourselves, the aspirations we have for our state, and the hopes we have for our world.

KU is in the midst of a comprehensive effort to ensure the university is ranked among the top tier of public international research universities.

Through Bold Aspirations, our strategic plan, we're changing the way we prepare students for success. We're fostering research and scholarship across all disciplines. And we're sharing the benefits of a flagship university with our state and world.

This effort is supported by Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, as well as our initiative to reduce administrative costs, Changing for Excellence.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times