I am writing to let you know that a key member of our senior leadership team will be retiring from the University of Kansas at the end of this calendar year.
Diane Goddard, our chief financial officer and vice provost for finance, will be leaving KU after a 36-year career in various roles across the institution.
While Diane’s departure will be a loss for KU, I am delighted for her to begin the next chapter of her life. Nobody is more deserving of a happy and healthy retirement than she, and it makes me smile to know she will soon have plenty of time to spend with her husband, three daughters and two grandchildren.
In the coming days, we will begin the process of finding Diane’s successor, with the goal of having a new person in place sometime in the fall semester. As part of this process, we will work with an outside firm, the rpk GROUP, to evaluate Diane’s position as currently constructed and assess whether it needs to be adjusted to fit our needs moving forward. Diane has graciously agreed to help with this process, and to help on-board and acclimate her eventual replacement later this year.
Additionally, recognizing the challenges we face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Diane has offered to continue being available to us as needed after she officially begins her retirement — though I suspect she may regret that when she learns how willing I am to keep calling her for advice.
It’s hard to capture how important Diane has been to KU during her career. Some of her proudest and most impactful achievements include:
- leading our Changing for Excellence administrative efficiency effort, which comprised 11 initiatives generating $51 million in cost savings, new revenue, and cost avoidance. These dollars funded our Bold Aspirations Strategic Plan initiatives and contributed to the Central District redevelopment project;
- coordinating the Central District redevelopment project;
- creating the Business Intelligence initiative and then combining it with the Office of Institutional Research & Planning to create the Office of Analytics & Institutional Research;
- creating the Enterprise Project Management Office.
Of course, Diane has never functioned as a “typical” CFO. Her role has included so many other responsibilities, including leadership or stewardship for our offices of Finance, Information Technology, Facilities, Environment, Parking, Human Resources, and Public Safety.
Most important, Diane has been a trusted advisor to me and our leadership team. We have benefited immeasurably not only from her expertise, but also from her compassion, her unflappable calm in the face of crisis, and her love for this place. She has been the consummate professional, a true colleague, and a Jayhawk to the core.
There will be plenty of time in the months ahead to celebrate Diane. For now, I hope you will reach out to her and offer your congratulations and appreciation.
Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas