Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

Message to alumni: What it means to be a Jayhawk

Monday, June 10, 2013

A few weeks ago we celebrated Commencement, concluding an academic year that has seen the University of Kansas take big strides toward achieving our bold aspirations. We’re poised to continue that progress, but first I must update you on the latest round of state budget cuts.

Despite advocacy from Jayhawks for Higher Education, state funding for KU was cut by $13.5 million over the next two years. This is on top of an almost 40 percent decline in support per Kansas student over the past 15 years.

We’ve been successful in forging partnerships with businesses and are receiving unprecedented support from Jayhawks through Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas. We will continue our work to convince legislators to join the business leaders and donors who recognize the benefits our university provides to Kansas and the world.

We will also continue to streamline our operations through Changing for Excellence, which is delivering real savings that we are investing in our mission of educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world. It’s that mission that unites us as Jayhawks.

As I told the Class of 2013, Jayhawks lead, serve and strive. This year we saw students succeed in the classroom, perform at Carnegie Hall and win prestigious scholarships. And all this before graduating and going on to contribute to their communities and nations.

Jayhawks also seek to excel, and we’re infusing that same spirit throughout our university, such as through the new KU Core Curriculum that launches this fall. It incorporates both classes and experiences, including study abroad and undergraduate research, making KU a leader among our national peers.

Jayhawks also care, innovate and inspire. We’re proud to be educating the next generation of health professionals, and to be home to life-changing research into conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and autism.

We’re also emphasizing entrepreneurship to turn ideas and discoveries into jobs and prosperity. KU is home to the Midwest’s largest business incubator network, and this month we break ground on an expansion that will grow our ability to partner with existing businesses and create new ones.

And since KU is the state’s flagship research university, Jayhawks build, create and discover. Our faculty and students are working in every field imaginable, from building better prosthetics and more efficient buildings, to creating works of art and mapping the spread of disease vectors.

To speed their work, we’re breaking down barriers between disciplines and providing grants to foster collaboration. This interdisciplinary work is taking place in established centers, like the Biodiversity Institute, and through new partnerships, such as between the School of Law and the Department of Philosophy.

In the coming weeks you’ll receive a new electronic newsletter called Inside KU. It will share the accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and bring you stories that remind all of us what it means to be a Jayhawk.

We are focused on achieving KU’s mission, and we know that we cannot be successful without you and your fellow alumni. Thank you for your continued support of the University of Kansas, and have a wonderful summer.

Rock Chalk!

Bernadette Gray-Little

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.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," 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.