Former KU Chancellor Gray-Little to receive award for extraordinary service

photo by: Richard Gwin

Bernadette Gray-Little

Bernadette Gray-Little has been named as the 2018 recipient of the Fred Ellsworth Medallion for extraordinary service as the 17th chancellor of the University of Kansas, according to a news release Thursday from KU.

The KU Alumni Association will honor Gray-Little, who stepped down in 2017 after eight years as chancellor, on Sept. 14 during the fall meeting of the association’s national board of directors.

The award is named after Fred Ellsworth, a 1922 KU graduate who was the Alumni Association’s chief executive for 39 years, retiring in 1963. The service medallions have been awarded since 1975.

During Gray-Little’s tenure as chancellor, she led the $1.6 billion Far Above fundraising campaign. She also led the proposal and implementation of new admissions standards and the launch of a new undergraduate curriculum, KU Core, both aimed to increase student retention and graduation rates. From 2012 through 2016, KU’s freshman class experienced growth for five straight years, the news release said. It also noted that Gray-Little oversaw 50 capital improvement projects totaling $700 million at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, as well as in Wichita and Salina.

The most notable project is the Central District in Lawrence, the news release said.


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