As someone with goals to enter academia, the success of Chancellor Gray-Little has such a deep, important resonance with Kris Velasco.
Velasco was just starting at KU in 2009 – and the Chancellor was starting right there with him. “First she was just my fearless leader as I got involved at KU,” he explains. “And now, as I enter the world of academia, she is a professional role model and someone I hope to emulate. As a fellow marginalized person of color, I found it quite moving to watch the Chancellor wade these waters and created a path for future academics of color. The symbolism of her leadership has continually been a source for me since the moment I entered KU along with her in 2009.”
Velasco notes that he witnessed the Chancellor lead the university through turbulent times with politics, a national conversation around race relations, and shifts within higher education in the US. “Seeing Chancellor Gray-Little navigate with such poise and grace has continually been a source of inspiration for me,” he says. “As someone now currently in a doctoral program and goals of staying within academia, this appreciation has only deepened.”
Among all of his memories with the Chancellor, Velasco’s favorite is when she and her husband Shade got the dance party started at the #RockChalkBall. “This photo was at the 2013 Rock Chalk Ball in Kansas City. The Chancellor and I discussed my post-graduate plans,” he explains. “It was a lovely conversation and she expressed her total confidence in my ability to succeed. I am so sad to see Chancellor Gray-Little leave.” #ThankYouBGL #KUalumni #exploreKU 📷: @krisvelasco