Tuesday, the Kansas Board of Regents appointed Mr. Drue
Jennings of Prairie Village to chair the committee responsible for
conducting the search for the 17th Chancellor of the University of
"I appreciate Drue's willingness to lead this search; his previous
business, volunteer, and leadership experience is such an invaluable
asset," said Donna Shank, Chair of the Board of Regents. "As a
former CEO, Drue has a wealth of business and executive experience and knows firsthand what it takes to lead a large organization. In
addition, he is a dedicated alumnus who is deeply knowledgeable about
the University, having served in meaningful capacities with the KU
Endowment, Medical Center, Edwards Campus, and Athletics Department. I'm confident that Drue's work will enable the Board to
ultimately select a truly outstanding leader who will serve KU for years
"I'm flattered to be asked to lead this important process," said
Jennings. "Selecting KU's next chancellor will certainly be a
challenging undertaking, one whose result will be particularly critical
considering the state's economic climate and the funding challenges
that public higher education institutions face across the nation.
However, I'm confident that there will be no shortage of qualified
individuals who ultimately seek out this position."
Jennings, the former-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Kansas City Power and Light Company, will lead a search committee comprised of approximately 15 individuals representing key university and community constituencies such as students, faculty, staff, alumni/endowment, the Board of Regents, the Lawrence community, and the broader state community.
Jennings, a native Kansan, attended KU where he earned a bachelors
degree in education in 1968 and a law degree in 1972. He spent much of his career with Kansas City Power and Light, where he started in 1974, was named Chairman and CEO in 1987, and then ultimately retired in 2001.
Jennings currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Midwest
Research Institute, as a Board Member of the Kansas City Area Life
Sciences Institute, on the KU Medical Center Advancement Board, and as a KU Endowment Trustee. Earlier, Jennings served as KU's Interim
Athletic Director in 2003 where he guided the searches that ultimately
brought Athletics Director Lew Perkins and Men's Basketball Coach Bill
Self to KU. He is currently a Senior Counsel with the Kansas City law
firm of Shughart Thomson and Kilroy, P.C.
On December 8, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway announced that he would retire at the end of the 2008-2009 academic year after what will be 14 years of service as Chancellor. Upon Hemenway's announcement, Board Chair Shank issued the following statement:
"The people of Kansas and KU alumni worldwide have benefited
tremendously from Bob Hemenway's service. The accomplishments of the University during his firm and progressive leadership speak for
themselves. KU has grown in size, strength, and reputation."
"Under Bob's leadership, KU's academic programs have received
increased national recognition; the University has embarked upon
ambitious plans to achieve Comprehensive Cancer Center designation; it
has made huge strides in the amount of federal research activity taking
place on campus; all while maintaining the commitment to providing world class education opportunities for students. These and many other achievements have secured KU's position as a national academic and research leader which will have a lasting impact on the residents of
"KU is a stronger institution today as a result of Bob's leadership
and unwavering dedication to higher education, and we look forward to
celebrating his many achievements in the upcoming months. He has
enriched the University and the state of Kansas during his years of
service and for that we are truly grateful."
"We are thankful that Bob will continue to serve as the Chancellor
through the end of the academic year and will remain at KU in a
scholarly capacity following his retirement. In the coming weeks, the
Board will formalize the process to conduct a national search for a new
"I wish Bob and his family the very best as they enter a new chapter
of their lives. Bob has given unselfishly of his time and talent to the
University for the last 13 years and his tenure has been nothing short
of remarkable. He will be missed."
Additional chancellor search details can be found on the Board's
website at the following site: