I am honored to write you for the first time as the 18th chancellor of the University of Kansas. Susan and I greatly appreciate the expressions of support we’ve received in recent weeks, and I look forward to working with each of you on behalf of this great institution.
I have had the privilege of serving KU for the past 23 years, most recently as executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center. Like so many of you, I am a Jayhawk to the core. I feel fortunate to be part of this university and believe deeply in our responsibility to serve the state, nation and world.
KU has been on a remarkable trajectory. We have grown the freshman class for five straight years while recruiting the most talented and diverse students in our history. We have transformed our physical campuses to provide scholars the facilities they need to excel. We have extended our reach to every corner of the state to help Kansans live happier, healthier lives. And thanks to the generosity of friends and donors, we have completed a historic fundraising campaign that will bolster our efforts for years to come.
All of this means the university is in a good place — and there are opportunities to do more. Looking forward, we will strive to improve in every aspect of our mission, elevate KU’s national stature, attract the best students and researchers, and enhance our status in the Association of American Universities. With these goals in mind, I have three main areas I intend to focus on initially: improving the student experience, expanding our outreach to the state, and growing our research enterprise. I look forward to discussing these three areas in more detail in the days ahead.
In addition, we will continue our work to ensure KU is welcoming and inclusive and that every Jayhawk feels valued. And in an uncertain funding environment, we will continue to pursue new revenue sources while being responsible stewards of limited resources.
I have already begun meeting with faculty, staff and alumni to discuss the next chapter for KU, and I look forward to hitting the road to visit with Jayhawks across Kansas. I want to hear from them — and from you! — about KU’s strengths and areas in which we can improve. These conversations will be central to my thinking about the direction of our university.
I am fortunate to inherit a terrific leadership team from Chancellor Gray-Little, including Provost Neeli Bendapudi and Interim Executive Vice Chancellor Robert Simari at the medical center. I am also thankful for the partnerships we have with KU Endowment, Kansas Athletics, KU Alumni Association and the University of Kansas Health System. Most of all, I am grateful to have you as colleagues as we work together to advance the university.
Again, I am honored and humbled to lead this remarkable institution. The work we do changes lives and improves our world in meaningful ways. I look forward to collaborating with you to continue this work on behalf of the state and society we serve.
Douglas A. Girod