Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

Message: Letters demonstrate Jayhawks' enduring love of KU

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dear Colleagues:

As you might imagine, the Chancellor's Office receives an incredible amount of mail - communications from campus units, official correspondence from the Board of Regents, reports from other universities, and sales pitches from vendors.

But what stand out in the daily mail delivery are the letters and cards from KU alumni. And while they are formally addressed to me as chancellor, often they are truly addressed to the campus community as a whole.

I've received cards from couples who were married as students at KU, including one pair who had just recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

I receive many notes from proud Jayhawk parents and grandparents, including one grandfather who already knows his two granddaughters will be Jayhawks, too, with one arriving on campus in 2012 and the other in 2013. His is just one of the many families that can trace their Jayhawk lineage back multiple generations.

The granddaughter of E.H.S. Bailey, creator of the Rock Chalk Chant, sent me the history of the chant. She wanted to make sure I knew the origins of the haunting refrain that not only marks athletic victories, but binds together Jayhawks at academic triumphs like Commencement.

People have written with memories of the Outlook, having either grown up there or played there as children. Sliding down the hill behind the Outlook on pieces of cardboard was apparently a popular pastime.

I've received poems, photos and newspaper clippings. People have written with suggestions for how we can improve KU, or just to bring an issue to my attention.

I wanted to share these stories with you because, though the envelopes are addressed to the chancellor, the sentiments expressed most often aren't about me.

They're about you.

They're about the special place that generations of Jayhawks have set aside in their hearts for this university thanks to the hard work and dedication of its faculty and staff.

Your daily contributions - and the contributions of those who came before you - are what make KU such a remarkable university, and why alumni who may not have been on campus for decades still hold KU in such high regard.

So as you go about your day, know that the memories you are creating for our students, as well as for members of the community at large, will be carried far beyond Mount Oread.

And perhaps, decades from now, those memories may find their way into a letter to the chancellor.

Bernadette Gray-Little

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
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.