Earlier this year at Commencement, I told the Class of 2017 that I had some insight into their state of mind because, like them, I too was preparing to leave Mount Oread and was experiencing a range of emotions.
This week, as I approach my final day as chancellor, I still feel that combination of excitement, pride, happiness and sadness. But more than anything, I feel thankful. I feel fortunate. And I feel honored to be part of the University of Kansas and to have had the chance to work with you along the way.
We have achieved great things during the past eight years — from revamping the student experience, to earning National Cancer Institute designation for our cancer center, to leading a historic fundraising effort that will support KU for years to come. We have elevated the university’s national stature and transformed the way KU serves the state and world. The university is stronger than ever, thanks to your work.
I am especially excited about the future of the university under the leadership of our incoming chancellor, Dr. Douglas A. Girod. As many of you know, Dr. Girod brings tremendous experience and leadership abilities to this role, and it makes me happy to know KU is in good hands. Moving forward, under Dr. Girod’s guidance I urge you to remain committed to our mission as a public research university. Never lose sight of our sacred obligation to provide a quality education to our students, to serve our state, and to improve our world through research and scholarship.
Most of all, in this final message to you, I want to say, “Thank you.” Thank you for supporting the University of Kansas, and thank you for supporting me. I will always be grateful to you for welcoming Shade and me to the university in 2009 and for making this a remarkable experience for us. Leading this institution is a privilege I will always cherish.
Forever a Jayhawk,