By Murrel Bland

The University of Kansas has an annual budget of about $1.2 billion and an enrollment  of 28, 447 on five campuses. It has a substantial impact on the Kansas City region’s economy.

That was the message that Dr. Douglas Girod, the KU Chancellor, delivered Wednesday, April 4 at the Annual Meeting of the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce at the Kansas City (Mo.) Marriott Downtown. A reported 850 attended.

This meeting is usually held at the Reardon Convention Center in downtown Kansas City, Kansas; however, a scheduling conflict forced the chamber to look for another venue. The chamber used this opportunity to promote metropolitan cooperation. Both Mayor Sylvester James of Kansas City, Mo., and Mayor David Alvey of Kansas City, Kansas, made brief presentations pledging metropolitan cooperation.

KU’s main campus is in Lawrence; the medical center is in Kansas City, Kansas; and the Edwards Campus is in Overland Park. Other campuses are in Wichita and Salina.

Dr. Girod said only 18 percent of KU’s funding comes from State of Kansas public funds.

Dr. Girod said that the University of Kansas Health System has some 10,430 employees. The hospital became a quasi-independent organization in 1992 and is profitable. Last year the hospital had more than 44,000 admissions. In addition, the KU hospital has cooperative working agreements with St. Francis Hospital in Topeka and the Hays Medical Center.

The KU hospital recently purchased the former EPA Building in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. After extensive remodeling, the building will become a 47-bed psychiatric hospital. The remodeling is expected to last about a year and cost an estimated $61 million.

Dr.Girod cited the designation of the KU hospital as a National Cancer Institute. The approval of a recent application will result in an 11-percent increase in funding. This NCI designation is a cooperative effort with Children’s Mercy Hospital and the Stowers Institute, both in Kansas City, Mo.

Dr. Girod is a native of Salem, Ore. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Davis and his medical degree from the University of California at San Francisco.

Dr. Girod is a member of several professional organizations including the American Head and Neck Society and KC Rising, an agency focused on long-term regional economic growth.

Dr. Girod is the third KU chancellor to have previously served as the chief executive officer at the KU Medical Center. The other two were Dr. Franklin Murphy and Dr. Clarke Wescoe.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.