Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

Speech: Chancellor Gray-Little's welcome at President Obama's visit

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Remarks as prepared for delivery

It is a pleasure to welcome all of you here today for this historic event, and I want to give a special welcome to those of you visiting the University of Kansas for the first time.

KU was founded exactly 150 years ago as the flagship university for the State of Kansas. Over the decades, we have educated leaders for our state, nation, and world – from astronauts and Fortune 500 CEOs, to actors and teachers, engineers and journalists.

We’ve contributed to the health and vitality of communities around the globe, whether through the service of a small-town doctor or pharmacist, the creation of new jobs at a startup company, or the sharing of the arts and humanities with audiences from community theaters to Carnegie Hall.

And KU discoveries have truly changed the world. Helium was isolated for the first time just up the hill. The time-release capsule was invented here, joining the countless treatments and cures developed by our scientists. And every day our scholars are uncovering everything from new species to new ways of understanding our history. All of this in service of our mission to lift students and society.

Now, it has been more than a century since the last sitting president visited KU, though we’ve welcomed five former presidents, and not long ago were visited by KU graduate Juan Manuel Santos, president of the Republic of Colombia. It’s been a long wait, but I think wait has been worth it now that we can finally welcome an American President with a version of what Teddy Roosevelt called the best college cheer he’d ever heard.

Barack Chalk, Jayhawk!

It is my pleasure to say…the President of the United States...will be here in a few minutes.

Rock Chalk, Jayhawks!



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.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," 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.

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.