Archive for Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chancellor’s inauguration costs university $44,000

No taxpayer dollars used for celebration for new chancellor

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little prepares to deliver her Inaugural Address during her Installation Ceremony on Sunday at the Lied Center.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little prepares to deliver her Inaugural Address during her Installation Ceremony on Sunday at the Lied Center.

April 21, 2010


Inauguration costs

Printing/e-invitations: $22,944

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

Gray-Little inauguration cost revealed

The bills are in for KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little's inauguration. The events leading up to and including the ceremony cost more than $40,000. Enlarge video

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.”


KU_cynic 8 years ago

As a tax payer and a KU employee I am still ashamed by this unneeded little party.

Tell you what, if BGL secures a national cancer center, raises $1 billion in private donations over the next six years, and enhances KU's reputation for academic excellence -- then a little party would be appropriate.

This was a waste. $44,000 would sponsor 131 children for a year via the Save the Children program (

Hope the cake was especially good, Dr. McCluskey-Fawcett.

Mary Darst 8 years ago

SERIOUSLY!!!!That's just crazy. I'm glad she's there, but $44,000.00 worth?

CreatureComforts 8 years ago

That's more than some very hard working people at KU make in over a year...disgusting. DId she not, at any point, say "ya know, I don't need a ceremony, I would rather have one less employee worry about where their paycheck is coming from"?

CreatureComforts 8 years ago

And yes, I know no tax dollars were used, but still...ridiculous

ivalueamerica 8 years ago

hardly enough to sneeze about, please...there are millions wasted elsewhere, why worry about this pittance.

areyouserious 8 years ago

your screenname doesnt jive with your post..........your thinking is the very problem throughout all of government.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years ago

KU_cynic, give it a rest. "As a taxpayer..."?

That's rich, given how on another story you were complaining that KU lets in too many Kansans. You don't have a problem with the $44,000, you obviously just have a problem with the KU administration.

And that would be ANY administration, not just the current one. Do you have anything to offer outside of your standard routine, because until then you are the proverbial broken record.

Evan Ridenour 8 years ago

I am not at all surprised by the crazy socialists here complaining about the use of private individuals funds. As someone who has actually donated money I can tell you that it has to be used for the purpose specified. If someone wants to donate money to be used for something like this they can and who are you to say they can't? This is America, and last I checked, Americans have the freedom to spend their money how they want.

Nevermind the fact that inaugurations are done at almost all universities and that the cost of this one was well in line with the cost of others... and that this article even said that some universities DO spend public money.

I mean really, some of you people just seem like you want to whine about everything.

whats_going_on 8 years ago

somebody whining about people whining.

irony for the loss.

Evan Ridenour 8 years ago

I think your choice of diction is a bit faulty. I wasn't whining, however, the posters I was referring to were whining.

Feel free to look up the definition of the word on your own.

slowplay 8 years ago

You haven't been reading these blogs very often. It's the same people. Every article.

notajayhawk 8 years ago

Putting things back in perspective, how much does it cost to support one scholarship basketball player for one year?

whats_going_on 8 years ago

if by "supporting" you mean scholarship money plus extra gifts/toys/perks they get from private payers...then...well, still a ton.

CreatureComforts 8 years ago

At least they make money off of athletics

getreal 8 years ago

If they want to pay $44,000 in private donations, then they can afford an income tax increase to help the disabled, to fund K-12, to fund programs for the elderly etc.

notajayhawk 8 years ago

In other words, just because they have something (something more than us), we can take it?

My, what a perfectly Marxist concept.

anon1958 8 years ago

The_Original_Bob (anonymous) says…

"Um, no tax dollars were used. Private donors donated on their own for what they wanted."

Implicit in the Original Bobs lame apology is the assumption that the people that donated the funds had some expectation it would be wasted on a party for Chancellor Gray-Little-Accomplished. I find his assumption rather doubtful. Still a predictable and completely unsurprising waste of money that could have and should have been put to some productive use.

Why are people apologizing for something that is plainly stupid? Where is the populist mentality when we really need it (rare as that is nonetheless)?

bradh 8 years ago

The last Chancellor party ran $30,000. KSU put on a similar event this year for $33,000. I'm curious why this event cost half again as much as the last party - more staff, more booze, longer duration, more attendees, etc. There doesn't seem to be much point in bringing up the other events if there aren't any facts to show why there was a difference.

It seems like a huge waste of money to me, but it's their money to waste.

BigPrune 8 years ago

These people are government employees. An expenditure of this magnitude means absolutely nothing. It wasn't their money, it was donated money. Spend away.

yankeevet 8 years ago

Red Legs? You'll find them up in Kansas. They're with the Union...........

areyouserious 8 years ago

taxpayer's still had to foot the bill for all the "political" losers to attend.......Sebelius etc......

riverdrifter 8 years ago

All the complainers here are too funny. I know some folks who recently dropped $15K on a wedding and reception for their kid. Looks like KU did it on the cheap by comparison.

Lindsey Buscher 8 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jonas_opines 8 years ago

Better headline: Private doners put $44,000 into Lawrence Economy.

Doesn't sound quite so knee-jerk bad that way, does it?

Mike Myers 8 years ago

I think the focus of the story is seriously misdirected. Who cares what was spent of privately donated dollars. The story should be about the Chancellor and the inauguration. Congratulations KU on bringing the university into the modern age. We've come a long way since the '70's. Poo poo on LJW for looking for an expose'. Shame!

Kontum1972 8 years ago

just curious....

KU cynic....did u attend KU?

anon1958 8 years ago

"“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."

Besides the donated money that was wasted on this frivolous affair, what about the salary of the KU employees that spent time arranging this party. It seems like director McCluskey-Fawcett should have better and more important things to do than use the salary of herself and her underlings lining up a week end of entertainment for Gray-Little.

If she doesnt have better and more pressing matters to attend then maybe McCluskey Fawcett's salary could be converted to something useful and she could get a job in the private sector as a party hostess?

SnakeFist 8 years ago

"KU used no taxpayer dollars...drawing from private donations to pay the costs."

So there's no implicit obligation to spend donated money responsibly? I guess the moral of this (and many similar stories) is to not donate to KU. Some of you seem to feel that KU is free to burn, give away, or throw away donated money with no oversight whatsoever.

Personally, I think the state should require KU (it being a state entity) to spend money donated to its general fund on maintenance - some of the classrooms are literally falling apart while the administrators throw parties for themselves.

anon1958 8 years ago

" oneeye_wilbur (anonymous) says…

anon 1958, old wilbur has never been impressed when one cannot figure out if they are McCluskey or Fawcett or neither. "

LOL like the bartender said to Stagger Lee, I dont give a good gD what you think. Unless you sign your real name, and most of us dont, we are just sock puppets making sport of KU idiocy.

Its not even that good of a sporting event, it is just too easy to mock the fools on the hill.

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