President Barack Obama will be visiting Kansas University on Friday, KU officials announced Saturday.
“We are honored to welcome President Obama to the University of Kansas,” said KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “We are delighted for the opportunity to visit with him about our mission of educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world."
The KU Office of Public Affairs and the White House will release more information on the president's visit as it becomes available, likely early next week. The event may or may not be open to the public, the KU release said.
A little over a year ago, Obama visited Osawatomie, about 55 miles southeast of Lawrence, delivering a major speech on the economy and defense of the middle class.
"This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class," Obama said during the Dec. 6, 2011, speech in the Osawatomie High School gymnasium. "At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home and secure their retirement."
Obama has Kansas connections. His mother and maternal grandparents were born in Kansas, and in 2009 he picked then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to serve as his secretary of Health and Human Services. Despite his connections, the president failed to win the state in either the 2012 or 2008 presidential election. He did, however, carry Douglas County in both races.
Obama will be the third sitting president, but the first in nearly a century, to visit Lawrence.
Watkins Community Museum Curator Brittany Keegan said President Woodrow Wilson delivered a brief speech from a stopped train in 1916 on his way to speak in Topeka about preparing for World War I. President Theodore Roosevelt visited Lawrence in 1904 and again after his presidency in 1910 to dedicate a fountain.
Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford have also visited Lawrence after their terms expired.