Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

2013 State of the University video script

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

(Watch the video here)

Flagship university.

It’s a mark of distinction that also reflects special responsibilities. 

Responsibilities outlined in our mission: to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world.

We’re just over one year into the implementation of our Bold Aspirations strategic plan. Already we’re seeing results.

This year’s freshman class is the most talented and diverse in our history. We’re adding to our talent by recruiting distinguished professors from around the world. And our multidisciplinary strategic initiatives will help meet global challenges.

All of this will raise our stature in relation to our Association of American Universities peers.  But more importantly, it helps us better meet our responsibilities to our students and our society.

Educating Leaders

A KU degree prepares students for prosperous careers and successful lives. But our students don’t wait until graduation to shine.

In 2012, our engineering students again swept the international aircraft design competition.

Four Jayhawks, all from Kansas, won Goldwater Scholarships, and six earned Fulbright awards.

And who can forget watching Diamond Dixon race for gold in the London Olympics. Or the NCAA tournament runs of three Jayhawk teams.

Our students benefit from outstanding faculty, whose research enhances their teaching.

Our professors have earned awards considered precursors to the Nobel Prize. 

Been honored for teaching.

For research.

And by their peers.

Students also learn from distinguished alumni, such as President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos. As well as our first honorary degree recipients.

To prepare students for success after graduation, we’re creating a new KU Core Curriculum.  Flexible and comprehensive, it incorporates classes and experiences.

To ensure more students earn their degrees, we’ve created first-year experiences to launch their college careers.

And so more students arrive prepared to succeed, new KU admission standards will take effect in 2016.

All of this will help increase the percentage of KU students who earn their degrees and contribute to our world.

Building Healthy Communities

Cancer patients deserve access to advanced care closer to home.  That’s why achieving National Cancer Institute designation is such an important accomplishment. 

This milestone brings clinical trials and world-class care to patients throughout the region through the Midwest Cancer Alliance. Thank you to everyone who supported this effort.

To serve Kansans’ health needs, the School of Nursing is partnering with community colleges, and we also welcomed our second class to the School of Medicine-Salina.

A community’s health is also measured by its prosperity.  That’s why we’re fostering entrepreneurship and turning discoveries into jobs. 

And we’re expanding the School of Engineering to meet a vital workforce need, while also teaching social welfare classes in Western Kansas.

Communities are made more vibrant through the arts and humanities, which we provide through programs like Musical Theatre for Kansas, sponsored by the Department of Theatre and KU Alumni Association.

These are just a few of the ways a flagship university contributes to the health and vitality of the state it serves.

Making Discoveries that Change the World

Our scholars and researchers expand the boundaries of human understanding in all disciplines.

From electron detection, which has applications for renewable energy technologies. 

To the prevalence of obesity in rural communities.

To award-winning science fiction writing that helps us better understand ourselves.

We’re working to expand scholarship in every discipline, because we know ideas and discoveries truly can change the world.

They also change lives, such as those of the children who will benefit from the work of a team led by Wayne Sailor and Amy McCart. They earned a KU-record $24.5 million grant to improve the teaching of students, including those with disabilities.

We’re adding to the talent at KU by recruiting 12 distinguished Foundation Professors to contribute to our strategic initiatives and raise our stature. And through cost savings from the Changing for Excellence review, we’ll hire 22 additional faculty members.

Our scholars are working on multidisciplinary strategic initiatives and tackling global challenges … from the need for sustainable prosperity to the discovery of new treatments and cures.  All of which fulfill our unique role as a flagship university.


Through these efforts, and with the support of donors to Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, and help from policymakers, alumni, and friends, we’ll ensure the University of Kansas is recognized among the top-tier of public research universities.

We have bold aspirations. We’re changing how we prepare students for success.  We’re fostering research and scholarship across all disciplines.  And we’re sharing the benefits of a flagship university with our state and world.

Thank you for watching, and for your support of the University of Kansas.



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.