Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little

Staff Directory

Executive Assistant to the Chancellor
230 Strong Hall

Mary serves as the office manager, directing special projects, troubleshooting, and tracking issues. She also is the chancellor's primary liaison with the Board of Regents and other officials. A North Carolina native, Mary has a background in arts management and higher education administration. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has served in similar capacities at Penn State and the University of Kentucky.

Secretary to the Chancellor
230 Strong Hall

Linda Bonebrake manages the chancellor’s calendar and correspondence, arranges travel, and serves as assistant to the chancellor. She joined the staff in the Office of the Chancellor in May 2016 after six years as assistant to the provost. Linda began her career at KU in 1998 as assistant to the senior vice provost. In 2003, she became assistant to the dean of the School of Fine Arts and then served as assistant to the dean of the School of Music. Linda has a B.A. degree in communication studies from the University of Kansas and is a lifelong Kansan.

Administrative Assistant, Sr.
230 Strong Hall

Debra Bia serves as Senior Administrative Assistant to Mary Burg, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor. She serves on the Faculty and Unclassified Staff Retirement Dinner Committee and coordinates a variety of events. She joined the staff in the Chancellor's Office in March 2008, after working in the Provost's office for six years. She is a native of Cherryvale, Kansas and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Pittsburg State University.

Administrative Assistant, Sr.
230 Strong Hall

Melissa Simpson Rhodes serves as the receptionist and general assistant for the Office of the Chancellor.

Prior to joining the Office of the Chancellor, she had been with KU’s Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation as an executive assistant since April 2015. In that role, she primarily assisted Scott Weir, institute director, and was also involved with initiatives such as RareKC and the Drug Discovery Delivery and Experimental Therapeutics Program for The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

Melissa brings strong management and organizational skills with a background in finance. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in hotel and restaurant administration and spent many years working in the hospitality, health care and public education sectors.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
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.
—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.