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Archive for Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chancellor outlines expectations for new Jayhawks

August 19, 2012

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Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little addresses students during the 2012 Opening Convocation held Sunday, August 19, 2012 at the Lied Center.

Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little addresses students during the 2012 Opening Convocation held Sunday, August 19, 2012 at the Lied Center.

It would be hard for even a freshman to miss the two points stressed at Kansas University’s 147th convocation ceremony: participation and graduation.

KU students nearly filled the Lied Center on Sunday night to see Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and KU faculty formally open the 2012 school year.

“We have high expectations for you, starting with the expectation that our undergraduates will graduate in four years and that our graduate students will also graduate on time,” Gray-Little said to the crowd. “There are many distractions at a university, some of them even worthwhile. But your primary goal should be to earn your degrees so that you can walk down the hill as graduates.”

In her speech, Gray-Little stressed the importance of utilizing the opportunities the university has to offer as well as adding to the KU community.

“Our university is a community of scholars. It is a gathering of people who are all here because they want to learn and explore,” she said. “You share this common bond with each other. But our community is vibrant and diverse because you also bring your own identity and pieces of your own communities to KU.”

John Griffin, a freshman from Dallas, got the point.

“I should come into the school and strive to contribute to make myself better and to make my school better,” he said, explaining what he gained from the speech.

While the tone of the chancellor’s speech was relatively serious and reflected KU’s emphasis on improved retention and graduation rates, the ceremony did have brief light moments.

Dean of the Kansas University School of Music, Robert Walzel performs a clarinet solo  during the 2012 Opening Convocation held Sunday, August 19, 2012 at the Lied Center.

Dean of the Kansas University School of Music, Robert Walzel performs a clarinet solo during the 2012 Opening Convocation held Sunday, August 19, 2012 at the Lied Center.

Robert Walzel, dean of the school of music, did not give a speech but played a lengthy clarinet concerto weaving back and forth on stage in full academic dress. The performance drew possibly the loudest applause of the night.

Gray-Little said that Walzel’s performance showed that you could pursue scholarship in any field that interested you, including music.

The evening ended with the crowd linking arms, bringing together the student body in a rendition of the alma mater, followed by the KU fight song, to begin the new year.

“We’re eager to teach — and learn from — you, and can’t wait to see all that you are going to accomplish here, and as KU graduates. Welcome to your university, Jayhawks,” Gray-Little concluded.

Comments

toe 2 years, 4 months ago

KU wants your money and when the federal loans stop they want the studentt to leave.

Shardwurm 2 years, 4 months ago

“We have high expectations for you, starting with the expectation that our undergraduates will graduate in four years and that our graduate students will also graduate on time,” Gray-Little said to the crowd. "Furthermore, we hope you'll enjoy paying for this for the next 30 years, or, if you're lucky, spending your parents' retirement account to get a degree that isn't worth the paper it's printed on. But don't forget that we'll be after you for donations within months of graduation."

When asked whether she realized that tution at the University had grown over 400 percent above inflation since 1980 Gray-Little said: "That is wholly irrelevant. We are an institution of higher learning and whatever we demand is what we get. Besides, who is the middle-class going to complain to? How can they stop us from selling them binders with 20 pages in them for $60? They can't. That's the point. There is nothing they can do and we know it."

"We want them to pay full tuition for high school graduates teaching Algebra. It's the wave of the future and we're on the cutting edge" she said to a now nearly-cheering faculty and staff in attendance.

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