Former KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to be honored with ‘Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award’

Former KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little

Bernadette Gray-Little is the recipient of the 2017 “Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award.”

The former University of Kansas chancellor will receive the award at the annual Gordon Parks Celebration, Oct. 12-14 in Fort Scott. The celebration is hosted by the Gordon Parks Museum at the Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity, located on the campus of Fort Scott Community College.

Parks, the acclaimed photographer, writer, musician and filmmaker, was a Fort Scott native. The Gordon Parks Celebration, organized by Fort Scott Community College, began in 2004.

“We are honored to have Dr. Gray-Little as our award recipient,” Jill Warford, executive director of the Gordon Parks Museum, said in a news release. “Her dedication to and accomplishments in education are outstanding. Gordon Parks was a self-educated man who sought to learn every day of his life, so it is very appropriate to honor Dr. Gray-Little with this award.”

Gordon Parks

Previous recipients of the Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award (the name refers to Parks’ 1966 autobiography) include: actor and musician Avery Brooks; photographer Howard L. Bingham; Richard Roundtree, star of Parks’ 1971 film “Shaft”; actress Nichelle Nichols of the original “Star Trek” series; acclaimed actress Ruby Dee; Elizabeth Eckford and Ernest Green, two members of the famed “Little Rock Nine”; LIFE magazine photo editor Bobbi Burrows; photographer John Shearer; U.S. Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum of Kansas; musicians Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.; editor Genevieve Young; and filmmaker and KU professor Kevin Willmott.

Gray-Little, who served as KU chancellor from 2009 to summer 2017, led the university through a record-setting $1.66 billion fundraising campaign, in addition to overseeing capital improvement projects on campus totaling $700 million dollars. She also generated record-high research funding during her tenure, among other accomplishments.

The retired chancellor will be honored during a dinner at Fort Scott’s Liberty Theatre, 113 S. Main St., on Oct. 12. Ticket information and a full schedule of events are available online at

For more information, contact the center at 620-223-2700, ext. 5850, or send an email to