Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little

Speech: Chancellor Gray-Little welcomes legislators to KUMC

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Thank you for taking time out of your schedules for this opportunity to talk about how we can work together to achieve our shared goals of a prosperous, vibrant state.

We want this to be a conversation. We have some brief presentations, but want to spend the majority of our time answering your questions.

This is a remarkable time at KU; probably the most active, transformative time in university history. Our Bold Aspirations strategic plan will help us better achieve our mission as a comprehensive research university of educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world.

Kansas students, families and businesses deserve a university in their state that is on par with the leading universities in Iowa, Colorado or Missouri. That’s how we will keep talented students here, attract talented students from out-of-state, and help Kansas compete for businesses and residents.

So as we move forward, we are comparing ourselves with our peers in those and several other states around the nation. And we are measuring our progress using defined metrics, such as student graduation rates, the number of patents created, and the amount of research funding we attract to the state.

We’re also revamping our administrative functions, changing everything from student recruitment to facilities to procurement in order to improve efficiency, and provide resources to reinvest in teaching and research.

And at the same time, we’re working to meet our mission to serve all 105 counties in Kansas, through medical outreach, research into Kansas’ water supply, training law enforcement officers and many other services for Kansans.

We’re doing all this because we recognize the role we play as a source of educated workers, and of innovations that generate health and prosperity.

Today you’ll hear from some of our top officials, and later on visit with some of our students and business partners. Throughout today’s discussion, I’d like you to remember this key point: State support is central to everything we do. It is the foundation for all our other revenue sources, and we are committed to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.

We combine every $1 we receive from the state with another $4 from other sources – grants, tuition, donations. 

State support is vital to educating leaders so they can go on to successful careers and lives, and can meet vital workforce needs in fields such as engineering, health care and the biosciences. These graduates are the most visible way we contribute to the economy.

State support also enables us to recruit top faculty to educate those students and to bring multi-million dollar grants to Kansas -- grants which often lead to discoveries that become products, treatments and jobs. Twenty-four active startup companies were created from KU research, and we’re partnering with companies like Ford, ADM and Garmin for the benefit of our students and our state.

Finally, state support enables us to serve the state in ways that inspire donors, which drives our ability to attract private gifts. Forty-two percent of our donors live outside Kansas, meaning their gifts for scholarships, professorships and facilities contribute to our economy.

We want to be good partners with you and with students, families, businesses and communities across Kansas. Our aspirations are all tied to enabling us to better achieve our shared goals and better serve Kansans.

I’m joined by Jeffrey Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor of the Lawrence Campus; Dr. Doug Girod, executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center; and Laverne Epp, executive chairman of the Bioscience and Technology Business Center. They each have short presentations, then we’d like use the rest of the time for discussion, and you’ll have an opportunity for a tour at 11 a.m.

We’re also joined today by members of our leadership teams, so if those of us up here can’t answer a question, I’m confident they can. And at noon we’ll be joined by students, business partners and stakeholders for lunch.

Thank you again for being here. We look forward to a productive discussion.​



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.