Archive for Saturday, May 30, 2009

UNC officials praise KU pick

May 30, 2009


Chancellor Robert Hemenway replacement search

More than 200 community members came out to meet KU's new chancellor on Saturday afternoon.


New KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little talks to the community

Bernadette Gray-Little will be KU's 17th chancellor, and the first African-American and the first woman to hold the position.

KU selects Bernadette Gray-Little as 17th chancellor

Look back at the process that led Kansas University hire Bernadette Gray-Little as its 17th chancellor.

Related document

Bernadette Gray-Little's resume ( .PDF )

Retired University of North Carolina Chancellor James Moeser always will be indebted to Bernadette Gray-Little.

After all, she gave him back at least nine months of his life.

In 2006, when Moeser was seeking to fill the vacant provost position at UNC-Chapel Hill, he was fully prepared to open a national search that would take at least nine months to a year to complete.

That is, until he met with the university’s group of executive vice chancellors. Moeser meant for the meeting to be about finding an interim provost to fill the position while he searched for a replacement.

The group had a different idea. Voices from all around the table said he should save himself the trouble. Forget about hiring an interim, the group members said. The vice chancellors said with unanimity that Moeser should give the provost’s job to Gray-Little, who at that time was the university’s Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“In an amazing two-week period, she was named provost, without a search,” said Moeser, who previously was a longtime dean of KU’s School of Fine Arts. “It was absolute acclamation on this campus. I can’t tell you how amazing that was.”

To hear friends and colleagues tell it, amazing seems to follow Gray-Little frequently.

She was named Kansas University’s 17th chancellor on Friday.

“What you are getting is the complete package,” said Steve Allred, who worked with Gray-Little in the UNC Provost’s office and is now provost at the University of Richmond in Virginia. “You get expertise, you get grace, you get remarkable skill, and you get a depth of experience that is second to none.”

Colleagues said Gray-Little will be an effective champion of the university’s mission, a strong advocate for advancing KU’s research efforts, and an empathetic leader.

“She is one of the most important administrators that we’ve ever had on this campus,” said UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp.

Among the major efforts Gray-Little worked on:

l Major fundraising for the multimillion-dollar FedEx Global Education Center at UNC.

l Leadership in helping grow UNC’s research funding from $200 million in 2000 to more than $600 million today.

“Obviously the provost office under her leadership was the key to making that happen because that is the office that really makes the key investments in faculty hires,” Moeser said.

l A revamping of the entire advising system for UNC students, and doubling of the size of the university’s honors program.

l Strong lobbying and fundraising to increase faculty salaries.

“Now UNC is in the absolute top tier of public universities for faculty salaries,” Moeser said.

Allred predicts KU faculty will warm to Gray-Little in part because she still remembers the grind of being a professor. Gray-Little was at UNC for 33 years before becoming a dean. She’s been at UNC for 38 years total.

“No matter where faculty members are at in their careers, she can relate to it because she has been there,” Allred said. “I think the faculty really will find her to be one of their own.”

UNC Chancellor Thorp said he believes Gray-Little’s leadership style will sit well with the community.

“She’s not going to panic under pressure, for sure,” Thorp said with a laugh. “If you’ve seen her in person, you know that. She’s going to get a lot of input and make the right decisions, and when she does, you are going to know that she did all her work and she is doing the right thing for the university.”


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 11 months ago

Looks like the search committee and regents made a major upgrade here by hiring an academic at the top of her game rather than a CEO retread as the University of Missouri did.

Sharon Aikins 8 years, 11 months ago

Kudos to the search committee and Board of Regents on this hire.

swunruh 8 years, 11 months ago

Gray-Little seems to be a first class leader all the way around. I was also impressed with her on YouTube. The Regents may have hit a grand slam home run.

persevering_gal 8 years, 11 months ago

I was very nervous about who our new chancellor would be, but I agree with the comments on here that it looks like the search committee made an excellent choice. It's kind of sad that I'm vacationing here in NC and took the time to visit UNC's campus, but don't worry Jayhawks, I have been wearing my Jayhawks shirts everywhere! I get a lot of mixed reactions for some reason. :)

bad_dog 8 years, 11 months ago

"I feel sorry for this poor woman. It is obvious that she has been hired as a scapegoat - someone who can be blamed for all the bad things that are about to happen at KU as a result of Barry O's fiscal failure... She'll be gone in five years, wishing she'd never heard of Kansas!" LG40

Only if she's subjected to your brand of blah, blah, blah vitriole.

Really-where do you come up with this garbage? Are you that unhappy or just naturally sardonic?

melg 8 years, 11 months ago

I heard her speak, and I was not impressed at all. I think they should have looked a little longer.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 11 months ago

I've never heard her speak, but if you ever heard Hemenway speak, it obviously wasn't a major consideration last time around.

bad_dog 8 years, 11 months ago

Well melg, I guess the University of North Carolina Chancellors, executive vice-chancellors and the Kansas Regents must have gotten it completely wrong.

Where was your voice in their time of need?

bad_dog 8 years, 11 months ago

I guess naturally sardonic is your response, LG40?

Final answer, or is there more blah, blah, blah vitriole?

Sean Livingstone 8 years, 11 months ago

"melg (Anonymous) says… I heard her speak, and I was not impressed at all. I think they should have looked a little longer."

Too often, the best speaker screwed up any institution and the country big time. I'm glad Obama's on the teleprompter, people who knows how to talk, don't know how to work. We need a worker, not a speaker. She's not running for election anyway. I'm quite satisfied with her so far, she has to prove to us that we're selecting the right person. But I honestly think she'll strengthen KU in many ways. Don't expect miracle though.

Jeff Kilgore 8 years, 11 months ago

As anyone can see, there are any number of predictable comments, both sardonic and welcoming, hopeful and pessimistic. UNC is a world-class university with top professors and administration. If we are lucky enough to land one of their finest, then we should be happy about it! Who cares if she finds herself in the middle of disgruntled people and bad economic times? That's what leadership is meant to address. I wouldn't write her off so quickly. Sure it's a tough job, but it sounds as though she has experience with tough times, judging from her published works. Welcome, Dr. Gray-Little!

Bob Harvey 8 years, 11 months ago

jkilgore....bravo for a fine post.....indeed bravo.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.