Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

Chancellor’s farewell to the Class of 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Remarks as prepared for delivery.

So that’s it.  The degrees are conferred, and you are now graduates of the University of Kansas.

At the beginning of the ceremony, I reminded you of KU’s noble mission: lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

You’ve all been part of that during your time here – being leaders in your classes, in student groups and in service to others.  You’ve helped make communities here and around the world healthier and more vibrant.  And you’ve worked with your professors on discoveries that will improve our planet and the lives of all who call it home.

My challenge to you is to continue to do all of these things after you walk down the Hill.  Continue to lead, to contribute to your communities, and to seek out new knowledge.

Do well – and do good.  Be part of something bigger than yourself, something that makes use of the skills and talents you honed here on the Hill.

Our honorary degree recipients each provide a different model for how that can be done – through public service, the arts, business.  Through their leadership, each has been part of something bigger and each has helped change our world for the better.

But they’re not the only examples you can follow, as the ranks of KU graduates are filled with many others.

Ken Chang created River to Well, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to bring fresh water to African villages.

Daphne Hearn is a special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence and cybercrime division in Los Angeles.

And Andrew Williams became an engineering professor at Spellman College where he founded SpelBots, an all-female team that takes part in robotics competitions around the world.

There are so many others – and you now have the opportunity to join them.

It’s not always easy.  In our society, doing good often does not entail the same financial rewards – immediately, or sometimes even over the long-term – as more expedient or less noble options.

But we know from Shakespeare that “All that glitters is not gold” – a caution to avoid the perils of pursuing false riches.  And J. R. R. Tolkien reminds us, “All that is gold does not glitter.” Do not overlook rewards simply because they do not shine as brightly. 

Do well – and do good.  Lead successful careers and successful lives.  Your rewards will be so much greater if you commit yourself to something world-changing and worthwhile.

As Jayhawks, we expect nothing less from you.  And you should expect nothing less from yourselves.

Now, there’s one more piece of business we have to attend to – a reminder of all the hope and promise that exists today when you entered the stadium as students and left it as graduates.

You need to take your first picture as a KU grad.  So get your phone out and take a picture of yourself.  When you’re done, send them to and we’ll post them on the KU Facebook page.

Just a photo or two, then send them to and look for them afterwards on Facebook.

Graduates, on behalf of the faculty and staff of the University of Kansas, as well as the hundreds of thousands of Jayhawks around the world, congratulations!

Go out there and do great things. 

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.
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.