KU graduates told to ‘sow more unity and peace, less discord’ as they go into the world

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Higher education leaders made clear Sunday that they have high hopes and expectations for the University of Kansas Class of 2023 to make the world a better place.

The university played a video featuring several members of the Class of ’23, reflecting on how their college careers had just begun when they left for spring break in March 2020, only to find out that there would be no more in-person classes for the remainder of the semester.

COVID-19 had hit. On top of the new life experiences they began in the fall, they had to adjust to a world that changed rapidly for all of us. Their classes moved online, many using something called “Zoom.” But the graduates persevered, and they’re now ready for the next steps in their journeys.

“Our mission as a university is to ensure that when you leave here, you have the knowledge and the skills to succeed and to help those around you, and that’s why you are KU’s greatest contribution to the world,” Chancellor Douglas Girod told the graduates. 

Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Chancellor Douglas Girod

Kansas Board of Regents Chair Jon Rolph said he expected the Jayhawks to go through this world and leave it better than they found it.

“We also have a hope, as we think about this generation and how you interact with the world, that you will not only go out and accomplish big things, world-changing things — that as you go, you’ll do it in a way where you sow more unity and peace, less discord; you bring more light into dark places; you bring more joy into places of heartache; you bring more love into a world of discourse,” Rolph said.

Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Jon Rolph, Kansas Board of Regents chair

Girod said nothing makes the university more proud than when its graduates use the skills that they’ve developed there to improve their communities, organizations and society.

“And that’s really what education is all about, and that’s why today is really such a celebration,” Girod said.

Sunday’s commencement was extra special for Girod, who got a bit choked up as he acknowledged his own daughter, Katelyn Girod, graduating from the School of Law.

The university recognized numerous student award winners; click on an image to expand it.

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

Chloe Anderson (she/her) contributed to The Lawrence Times from August 2022 through May 2023. She is also published in Climbing magazine, Kansas Reflector and Sharp End Publishing. As a recent graduate of the University of Kansas, Chloe plans to continue her career in photography, rock climbing and writing somewhere out West.

You can view her portfolio, articles and commissioned work here. Check out more of her work for the Times here.

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