Karla Leeper named vice chancellor for strategic communications and public affairs


I am writing to let you know we have selected a talented communications practitioner – and a KU alumna – to join our senior leadership team.

I am pleased to introduce Karla Leeper, executive vice president for operations at Augusta University/Augusta University Health System in Georgia, as our new vice chancellor for strategic communications and public affairs. She will join us in November.

In this role, Karla will serve as a senior advisor to me and the university’s leadership team on issues of communications and public affairs. She will oversee all messaging to advance KU’s interests at the local, state and national levels, and she will have responsibility for marketing, branding, internal and external communications, and message integration across all KU campuses, affiliates and partners.

Karla’s background in communications, public affairs and administration, coupled with her experience as a full-time faculty member in communication studies, make her an ideal fit for this position. I have no doubt she will immediately benefit our efforts to elevate KU’s status, attract top students and scholars, and improve in every aspect of our mission.

In her current role with Augusta University/Augusta University Health System, Karla oversees marketing and communications, facilities and human resources. Prior to that, from 2015-18 she served as the institution’s executive vice president for strategic communication and chief marketing officer. Before joining Augusta University, she served as a tenured faculty member, vice president for board and executive affairs, and chief of staff to the president at Baylor University. She received her doctorate and master’s degrees from KU and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa.

In addition to her professional background, Karla brings a love for KU that will undoubtedly strengthen our university. She speaks passionately about her experience as a KU graduate student and the community of mentors, colleagues and friends she developed here. She believes deeply in higher education, and she is excited to ensure KU continues to transform the lives of students and benefit our state through outreach and research.

This is an exciting time for KU. As I discussed in my first message of the semester, we are focused on our university strategic plan, Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation and our continued efforts to align our Lawrence and KU Medical Center campuses to create a more effective university. I am confident Karla will provide expertise and leadership as we pursue these initiatives.

Please join me in welcoming Karla to her new role. I know she can count on your support as we work together to move KU forward.



Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas