Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

Speech: Chancellor Girod's farewell to the Class of 2019 at Commencement

Sunday, May 19, 2019

So here we are, in Memorial Stadium, where — for many of you — it all started.

You probably recall being in this stadium the first Saturday of your freshman year. 

You were here for Traditions Night, where you learned our KU traditions — like the Rock Chalk Chant and the fight song clap.

But as you’ve learned during the past few years, being a Jayhawk is more than a chant or a song. You’ve learned that being a Jayhawk means working hard. Improving yourself. Being part of a community. And helping those around you. My hope is you’ll remember this as you go out into the world as alumni — and as Jayhawks.

Now, each year at Commencement, I have the honor of addressing you as Chancellor.

But this year is special for me because, I also get to stand up here as a dad. Today, my son, Jimmy, is graduating with a master’s degree in Health Services Administration. Jimmy is sitting somewhere out there … Or at least I assume he’s here. He told his mom and me he’d be here, but who knows. Son — your mom and I are proud of you. And because we are proud of you, you have until tomorrow before we cut you off the family cell phone plan.

But in all seriousness – and I say this to all of you today – there’s something that every parent and every university administrator has in common: That is, nothing makes us more proud than your success. Nothing matters more to us than your wellbeing. And our greatest wish as parents and educators is that your generation will do better than us, and be better than us.

So as you leave this place, I ask that you dedicate yourself not only to doing well, but to doing good. Don’t just be a good employee. Be a good citizen, a good neighbor, and a good friend. I absolutely want you to join the workforce and make a career and life for yourself. But I also want you to be active in your community. To help those in need. To think about more than just yourself.

Like today’s Honorary Degree recipients – Billy Mills, Elizabeth Broun, and Teruhisa Ueda – I want you to seek out challenges in our society and address them. And I want you to find problems in our world and fix them Folks — the reality is, our world needs you. As graduates of KU, you have special skills and talents to offer society. Use those skills and talents. We’re counting on you

I am proud of you, Jayhawks. And I’m proud of the great things you’ll do when you leave here today.

Congratulations, and Rock Chalk!



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.
—ALA
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.