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Incoming chancellor updates


University Relations

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May 29, 2009
Contact: Kip Peterson, Kansas Board of Regents, (785) 296-3421.

Board of Regents makes historic selection for KU chancellor; welcome event on Saturday

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Bernadette Gray-Little

TOPEKA — Today the Kansas Board of Regents announced at a special meeting at the board's office in Topeka that Dr. Bernadette Gray-Little will be the 17th chancellor at The University of Kansas. Gray-Little, who will be the first woman and first African American to lead KU, will begin her chancellorship on August 15.

“The Board is proud to announce that Dr. Gray-Little will be the next chancellor of the University of Kansas,” said Regent Donna Shank of Liberal, Chair of the Board of Regents. “She rose to the top of an exceptionally talented and competitive pool of applicants. Dr. Gray-Little’s outstanding record of academic excellence and impressive administrative leadership throughout her notable career, along with her inspiring enthusiasm and character, make it clear that she is ideally-suited to propel KU to even loftier heights.”

Dr. Gray-Little is currently the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), a position she has held since 2006. She is a former-Dean of UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, and a former-Executive Associate Provost at UNC. Dr. Gray-Little earned a Ph.D. and a M.S. from St. Louis University and an A.B. from Marywood College (Pennsylvania).

“I congratulate Dr. Gray-Little on being selected for the best job in the world," said Chancellor Robert Hemenway. "Good universities always make good hires and this is an excellent hire. I offer any assistance I can give in ensuring her transition is smooth. KU will be in good hands.”

The university will hold a welcome ceremony for the incoming chancellor at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 30, in the Kansas Union. The event will begin in the Kansas Room on the sixth floor of the union, where Gray-Little will address the public for the first time on the KU campus. Also expected to speak are Shank; chancellor search committee chair Drue Jennings; and Jeff Aube, professor of medicinal chemistry and a search committee member.

A reception will follow in the Malott Room. The public, faculty, staff and students are invited. Free parking is available in the parking garage adjacent to the union.

“I certainly want to thank Drue Jennings, the Chancellor Search Committee Chair, and the members of the committee for their time, hard-work, and dedication to the search process. They have served KU and this Board very well,” added Shank. “I also want to thank Mr. Bill Funk of R. William Funk and Associates for the assistance he provided throughout the process. This is an exciting time at KU, and I’m confident that Dr. Gray-Little’s leadership abilities will serve the university, the Lawrence community, the state of Kansas, and the region well for many years to come.”

"All of us at Kansas Athletics are very excited about working with Dr. Gray-Little," said Lew Perkins, athletics director. "She has had terrific experience at a university rich in academic and athletic tradition, which will serve her well here. We very much look forward to working with her to advance the goals of the University of Kansas."

Information regarding the incoming chancellor will be released as available at

MEDIA ADVISORY: Media are invited to the 1 p.m. welcome ceremony in the Kansas Room. A press conference will follow immediately in the Pine Room on the sixth floor of the union. Members of the media are asked to wear credentials from their media outlet. More information: Jill Jess, (785) 760-4170.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045