Research symposium (April 9) at Edwards Campus: $2,551
Semester of service celebration events in Lawrence and Kansas City (April 10): $360
Dinner for 280 people (April 10) (participants paid $50 to cover food costs): $5,165
Lunch for 120 people (April 11): $3,479
Installation ceremony (April 11): $9,606
Total costs: $44,105
The bills are mostly all in for the recent inauguration of new Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, and they total more than $44,000.
KU used no taxpayer dollars to pay for the three-day weekend of events, drawing from private donations to pay the costs.
In 1996, then-Chancellor Robert Hemenway’s inauguration carried a $30,000 price tag.
“I think for an entire weekend of entertainment, I think we did very well,” said Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, director of KU’s Honors Program and chairwoman of a committee overseeing the inauguration.
Nearly half the expenses came in printing and postage for 2,000 tickets, 4,000 invitations and reply cards and 3,000 programs. KU also e-mailed invitations to all faculty, staff, students and some other organizations, and accepted faculty RSVP’s online.
Other costs were billed internally — costs for equipment rentals and Lied Center staff to work the April 11 inauguration event cost more than $9,000.
A research symposium cost $2,500 and coffee and refreshments for April 10 semester of service events ran about $360. In line with the inauguration, members of the KU community donated more than 100,000 hours of community service in recognition of the chancellor.
Both Kansas State University and Pittsburg State University inaugurated new presidents this year, and both held on-campus ceremonies to commemorate the event. KSU spent about $33,000 and Pitt State spent $25,000. Officials from both schools said that the ceremonies there mostly centered on one larger event, and that they used a combination of public and private dollars to pay their costs.
Other universities have spent more — in 2007, George Washington University spent $250,000 on a four-day inauguration of its president, Steven Knapp, according to a student newspaper at the school.
Charles Reagan, chief of staff and deputy to the president at Kansas State, said the costs at KSU were about in line with a typical graduation ceremony would cost.
Operating with an initial budget of around $50,000, KU’s inauguration committee sought to trim expenses when possible, McCluskey-Fawcett said. Some of the plants on the stage on April 11 were rented instead of purchased, and most of the participants in a 280-person dinner paid $50 for their meal costs — save for the chancellor and a few members of her family.
“We didn’t even have flowers on the tables,” McCluskey-Fawcett said. “Cakes were our centerpieces. We ate our centerpieces.”