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Bernadette Gray-Little
to become University
of Kansas chancellor


Bernadette Gray-Little, who has assumed a number of leadership roles throughout nearly four decades at Carolina, will become the 17th chancellor of the University of Kansas beginning Aug. 15.

With research interests in sociocultural influences on personality, marital interaction and psychopathology, Gray-Little has served on the faculty in the Department of Psychology within the College of Arts and Sciences since she arrived at Carolina in 1971.

A former chair of the psychology department, Gray-Little went on to become the University’s senior associate dean for undergraduate education, executive associate provost, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and executive vice chancellor and provost – a post she has held since 2006.

The Kansas Board of Regents on May 29 announced Gray-Little as their choice to replace Robert Hemenway, who had been chancellor since 1995. Gray-Little will be KU’s first female and first African-American chancellor.

“Dr. Gray-Little’s outstanding record of academic excellence and impressive administrative leadership throughout her notable career, along with her inspiring enthusiasm and character, make it clear that she is ideally suited to propel KU to even loftier heights,” said regents chair Donna Shank.

In announcing Gray-Little’s decision to the Carolina community, Chancellor Holden Thorp said it marked a huge loss for Carolina and a great gain for Kansas.

“In every role, Bernadette has served with the highest level of integrity and the best interest of the University in mind. Carolina is better because of her,” Thorp said.

Widespread support
During her tenure at Carolina, Gray-Little has become known as much for her graciousness as for her calm, thoughtful and thorough approach to examining key issues.

In fact, when Chancellor Emeritus James Moeser announced to the Faculty Council that Gray-Little was to become executive vice chancellor and provost three years ago, he spoke about her universal support from faculty members, the Faculty Advisory Committee to the chancellor, vice chancellors, deans and members of the Board of Trustees.

“In my entire experience, I have never known such unanimity or enthusiasm for an appointment, especially one as important as that of chief academic officer,” he said at the time.

Although she is not someone to seek the limelight, Gray-Little has earned an impressive list of honors and awards during her tenure.

This year, she received a Distinguished Service Medal from the General Alumni Association. Within the past two years, she has been tapped for two of Carolina’s prestigious honor societies, the Order of the Grail-Valkyries and Order of the Golden Fleece.

She also has received distinguished alumna awards from Marywood College in Pennsylvania, where she earned her undergraduate degree, and from St. Louis University, where she earned an M. S. and a Ph.D. in psychology.

New directions
In accepting the position as chancellor of KU, Gray-Little talked about her enthusiasm to meet the new challenges ahead.

“I look forward to getting to know you, to collaborating with the faculty, staff and students on the goal of raising the level of excellence, already strong at Kansas, to the next level,” she told the Kansas community. “I look forward to getting to know about the university and I am eager to get started.”

Her goals include increasing the level of sponsored research, launching a development campaign, increasing retention and graduation rates for undergraduate students and continuing support for existing areas of strength.

While a search for Gray-Little’s successor is under way at Carolina, Bruce Carney, the Samuel Baron Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy who currently is interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will serve as interim executive vice chancellor and provost.

JUNE 17, 2009

PDF of June 17 Gazette
Click here to read the
June 17 issue as a pdf


* *Bolshoi Ballet affirms Memorial Hall as world-class stage | Q&A with Emil Kang

* *House passes budget including $784 million in new taxes

* *Templeton prepares to leave the ‘bully pulpit’

* *Bernadette Gray-Little to become University of Kansas chancellor

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