UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
July 11, 2018
VICE CHANCELLOR REGGIE ROBINSON: Delighted to welcome you here today to this news conference as we introduce our new director of athletics, Jeff Long.
About two months ago, Chancellor Girod began the process of identifying a new athletics leader for KU, to Shepherd that search process the Chancellor enlisted the remarkable assistance of Drue Jennings, who many as you know has worn a great variety of hats through his association with the University of Kansas: He's a student, student athlete, graduate of our law school, served as a former interim director of athletics, has led many an association, has led on any number of important search processes for the university.
So Drue truly is among the most loyal and dedicated supporters which is which the Chancellor tapped him for this important leadership role. The process concluded last week with the exciting announcement that Jeff Long would be joining the University of Kansas as our director of athletics.
DRUE JENNINGS: Thank you, Reggie and good morning.
Reggie is far too humble to mention that he was the glue that kept this entire process together at all hours of day and night for tracking down the Chancellor, tracking down us working on the team. We owe a debt of gratitude to Reggie. He'll never tell you that but I will.
It's a privilege to be part of this team, a member of this team that conducted the search for our new athletic director. A couple of people that worked closely with me and whose input was extremely vital were Ray Evans and Linda Simms, good friends of mine, former student athletes here, completely dedicated Jayhawks, and it's unfortunate that travel requirements kept both of them from attending today and I know they are sorry they couldn't be here and we are, too.
At the outset of this process, you learn a lot -- we learned a lot about our Chancellor even more so than we thought he knew. He's a man of his own mind, but he is extremely interested in wanting to know what others think. He and our consultant, Jed Hughes of Korn Ferry, who was remarkable, as well, conducted interviews and discussions with probably two dozen community faculty alumni leaders, university people, to get a sense of expectations, a sense of their feelings.
Such that by the time the search team had been pulled together and the process was to begin, he was able to provide clarity for us in terms of the nature and the characteristics of the person he wanted us to search for: Obviously a person of integrity; a person who had fiscal and business acumen; a person with organizational and management skills; someone who had experience in hiring coaches; someone who had experience fund-raising, dynamic communicator; a person who was committed to the totality of the athletic department, and all the student athletes therein; and hopefully someone who had national connections in college athletics and we added the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
I firmly believe that we checked all the boxes, except one. We were unable to determine Jeff's vertical leap and that remains to be demonstrated as his choosing.
We had a great process. It worked well for approximately seven weeks. We think we have provided an opportunity for the chancellor to embrace a new member of his leadership team. This chancellor means business, as pleasant and human as he may appear, which he is. He does, indeed, mean business, and it's my privilege to invite him to the podium.
CHANCELLOR DOUGLAS A. GIROD: Thank you very much, Drue and thank you everybody for being here to join us this morning for what is a very exciting day for the University of Kansas and Kansas athletics.
It's a thrill to be here to welcome Jeff Long as our new athletic director and to welcome for the first time officially on Kansas, along with his lovely family, who I know he will introduce later on.
To really help you understand a little bit about what Jeff Long brings to the University of Kansas to our athletics department, and the university as a whole, he's obviously one of the most seasoned athletic directors in the country. He brings more than two decade of experience in Division I athletics administration, most recently at the University of Arkansas, where he said a program with 19 sports and 460 student athletes, and really revitalized and reshaped that entire program with a focus on student athlete success, and really made it one of the best in the country.
So it clearly brings to Drue's checklist a number of those, if not all of those elements to the University of Kansas, but additionally, he does have that national profile, that national expertise, being as an example, the first chair of the College Football Playoff committee and has played extensively at the national level, not just at the collegiate level.
We're very fortunate to have a man of this calibre joining our team here at the University of Kansas. As Drue said, he's also a tremendous fit for our university. He brings tremendous integrity, his commitment to student athlete success on the field and also in the classroom, taking Arkansas from one of the lower-ranked ones from student athlete academic success to one of the best in their conference, and certainly that's a passion that we all share, as well, is making sure we are preparing our student athletes for long and successful careers, most of which will not be in athletics, and that's critically important to us all.
But he also understands the role that athletic plays within the university as a whole and how important athletics can be to advance all of our missions of education, research, out reach and service, so I'm really excited to have him joining our leadership team here at the University of Kansas.
When we begin the process back in May, which Drue talked about to some degree, we were really very optimistic going into that search because we knew we had an outstanding university, an outstanding athletics program, we have a great national program and we knew that that would be very attractive to someone of high calibre, and I think we've demonstrated that by convincing Jeff to come and join our team here.
And I really want to thank the faculty, the students, the staff, who engaged in that process early on that Drue talked about as we went out and said to people, tell us what's important about an athletic director from your perspective of where you sit in our enterprise and they were extremely helpful in informing that.
I'd really like to thank Drue Jennings for committing a huge amount of time to this. He literally dropped everything to come and engage in this process and along with Reggie led us through but I think led us through what we would all say was a very efficient process.
Clearly would like to thank Sean Lester, who is our deputy AD who stepped in as interim AD and has led the department for the last couple months and has done so without missing a beat on anything and has really done a great job of leadership in that role and I know will continue to help this transition to our new athletic director, so Sean, thank you.
And I'd really like to thank all the folks from athletics from here and those that aren't, for your tireless work through this transition of making sure that we never missed a hitch, that everybody kept running full speed ahead and very successfully, and so I know you'll help us do a great job through this transition, as well.
Mostly wanted to thank our students, fans and alumni who have been supportive over this process and in this role have really shared with me what athletics means to them, how important it is to their perception in the university in helping us stay connected with them and their perceptions of what we are doing well and what we can improve on and that was extremely important.
Exciting day for the University of Kansas. I told Jeff it was destined to be a great day because it's also my 37th wedding anniversary. 37 years is a long time, right, babe. It's been a great journey.
And I'm delighted to welcome Jeff Long as the new athletic director at the University of Kansas.
JEFF LONG: I don't think Coach Self is going to like my vertical jump. Coach, I don't think I can help you there.
I want to thank everybody for coming in, it's a beautiful day to be in Kansas and I can't be more excited about taking over the reigns of the athletic program. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to lead Kansas Athletics.
I'm incredibly proud to be part of a world-class institution that's an AAU institution and really is reaching around the globe as it said in our motto here. In my conversations with the Chancellor, I learned that we share the belief that intercollegiate athletics is an important part of a university campus and that we're expected to excel just like every area of the campus is and that's what we'll do, Chancellor.
I'm humbled by the responsibility you've entrusted to me and I promise you and the KU family that I will work tirelessly to achieve the goals of the university and the athletic program, so thank you for this opportunity.
You know, I want to thank Drue Jennings and Vice Chancellor Reggie Robinson. From the moment I met with them during the process, I knew I was meeting with two men who had deep love for Kansas, deep love for this university and it had an immediate impact on me. I thought, you know what, if these are the kind of people that are in Kansas, and then this is the kind of place I want to be.
So Reggie and Drue, thank you for the role you played in the search and thank you for all you shared with me. I want to thank our coaches and staff that are here today. I appreciate you taking the time to be here this morning.
And I do want everybody to know that I specifically said to our coaches and staff: Do not change your recruiting plans; do not change your vacation plans to be here today. I know how precious the family time is for coaches and staff, so they don't need to be here for this little piece of Kansas history. It's more important that they be with their families.
And just so you know, I wanted to thank Coach Beaty. He called and I insisted that he remain with his family because again, he has very little time to spend with him and I respected him wanting to be here, but I know that it's more important for him to be with his family.
I also know there's a number of coaches here that might have adjusted their recruiting plans just a little bit to be here (Laughter) and I do appreciate that. And I know Coach Self and other coaches are headed out as soon as this press conference is over to go on those recruiting trips, and as you all know, recruiting is the lifeblood of what we do in athletics. So I wish you safe travels and good hunting.
Now today I'm joined by three very special women in my life. I'd first like to acknowledge my wife, Fanny. She and I will be celebrating 26 years on August 1, the day I officially begin here. (Laughter) (applause). And I really didn't realize it until you were talking about your anniversary.
But I'm just excited, as I arrive here in Lawrence, I'm just as excited about our life together as I was 26 years ago -- (tearing up) sorry, I love you, fanny, thank you for all your support.
Okay. I also have two other women with me. My wonderful daughters, Stephanie, who is in graduate school in Arkansas, studying cognitive neuroscience. Don't ask me what it is. (Laughter) Stephanie, would you stand, please.
And I'm also joined by my youngest daughter, Christina, who is an undergraduate journalism student. Now she attends a university in a bordering state, and that's where I'll leave it (Laughter). I love you girls and so glad you're with me today.
I have a vision for KU athletics. My vision starts with the student athletes, and it starts with the three C's, and those three C's for me are: Compete, compete, and compete.
We're going to compete in everything we do in KU athletics. Our student athletes are going to begin by competing in the classroom. We're going to encourage them semester by semester to achieve their personal best. At the end of it, it will culminate in a degree from the University of Kansas and there's nothing more important than striving to reach that degree.
We will compete in all 18 sports. I love each and every one of them. I love every student athlete that's in our program and we're going to compete in each and every one of them. We won't win every contest, but every one of our student athletes will compete with every fiber of their being to win for their crimson in blue.
You know what, we're going to compete in our communities. We're going to serve Lawrence and the surrounding region, helping our neighbors provides our student athletes an opportunity to learn and grow by serving many of the families that will join them in the stadiums in the stands. We will be reaching out, continuing to do that in our communities and we are going to support this great city and our region.
As I shared with the Chancellor, I'm an educator at heart. So I want to use the lessons learned in the classroom, the lessons learned through competition, and the lessons learned through helping others to prepare our student athletes for the ultimate competition, and that's the game of life.
My job is to help these young people succeed in college and succeed long after they leave this campus.
Now, Kansas Athletic Program. We will be guided by the following principles: We will have an unwavering commitment to the student athletes' health, safety and well being, that's our highest priority. We also have an unwavering commitment to doing things in the best interest of our student athletes.
We will insist on honesty and integrity throughout our program, and we will work with our coaches to remove the obstacles to success. We will generate and strive to generate the financial resources we need to run this program, to compete in the Big 12 and compete nationally.
We will be a program that values that financial support from our fans and thusly, we will manage our resources wisely. We will encourage our supporters to join us by telling the incredible stories that each and every one of our student athletes has to tell.
So in closing, I'd like to make -- stay one message to the KU family specifically about our football team. It's time to break the cycle. It's not going to be easy. We're going to need all of your help to do it. Coach Beaty is our coach, and we all need to support this program and we need to support the young men that play the game.
Our student athletes are working incredibly hard to win for Kansas. They are Jayhawks and they need your support and this program needs your support: Become a season ticket holder, buy a single game ticket, join the Williams Fund. Do whatever you can do to help us be successful. It's time to break the cycle.
Chancellor, thank you again for this incredible opportunity you provided to me. I look forward to getting to work on August 1, even if it is my anniversary (laughter), and I can't wait to wave the wheat with our students, and I can't wait, Rock Chalk.
Q. Welcome to town, first of all. You've obviously been around and seen a bunch of different athletic departments and faced different challenges and advantages. I just wonder the challenges that are here, are they unique compared to what you've seen in the past and then what would you identify as maybe the biggest challenge, maybe on August 1?
JEFF LONG: You know I think that maybe every athletic program is unique in its own ways. As I begin here, I'm not even sure how unique and what those unique ways are but I'm sure there are unique things to Kansas that's unlike any other place I've been, but there's also things that I take from every university I've been to, that I think are applicable here at Kansas.
So I look forward to getting in and working with the coaches and staff and finding out how things are being done now and just my job is just to see if we can do them better and see if we can help each and every one of our programs.
Again, I mentioned removing obstacles for coaches are really important, removing them for our student athletes. Administration is there to assist those coaches and support those student athletes.
So that's really what I'm looking forward to doing. Sean Lester has done a great job and Jim Marchiony and some others getting me information and I'm just now starting to dig into that. Excited to get to campus on September 1 and find out what I don't know.
Q. What do you think it takes for success in football?
JEFF LONG: Well, big picture-wise, I think for our program, first out goal is set to reach a Bowl game. So we'll strive to reach a Bowl game. And once we reach that level, we won't stop there, and then we'll move on to more games; and ultimately, I'm not shy about saying, some day down the road, we're going to win the Big 12 Championship. We've done it here in Kansas in the past and it's something we are certainly going to work every day and night to do.
Q. How long does a coach deserve, in fairness? How quickly can you evaluate a struggling coach?
JEFF LONG: Well, I think as an AD that has been around football my entire career and has been very directly involved in football my entire career, one of my challenges will be to get in and start assessing our program.
I've had good conversations with Coach Beaty and seeing how he goes about business on the inside and then certainly they are preparing for that first game on September 1. We will really start to know the progress of the program on September 1 when the season begins.
Q. If I could ask a question of you, Chancellor and you Drue. Chancellor, many, many leaders over the decades have turned to Drue for important advice at this sort of stage. What does he bring that the leaders look for? And Drue, if you could follow-up with what are you looking for when you do these searches? When do you know if you have the right fit?
CHANCELLOR DOUGLAS A. GIROD: I think when you look at Drue's career trajectory, not just his success here at KU, but as an athlete and student and law graduate, and going on to lead Kansas City Power and Light as CEO, obviously has tremendous experience as an executive and understands what it takes to be a successful executive. Brings that same skill-set then to anything that he takes on, including a search like this.
Obviously his experience that you referred to from my predecessors, both Bob Hemenway and Bernadette Gray-Little, reaching out to Drue to lead various elements of the university and in particular, various times through athletics; that experience that he brings to the table, his deep knowledge of our program, has just been invaluable through this process.
DRUE JENNINGS: Well, I think I recited the criteria the Chancellor laid out for us at the opening in my remarks today. I think those are valid for probably just about any search that's conducted. In today's world of information access, you can find out amazing things about people. It doesn't matter who they are.
And frankly, anyone who wants to do that type of exploring can do that. The thing that I've always found that I feel most comfortable with after you've looked at all the measurable and the visible data about a person in their life, is to meet them.
There's nothing quite like looking into the eye and visiting and reading the body language of a person, and that's been true my entire life. I tend to trust my gut, trust my instincts, after all the rest of the homework is done, and you can read people, I think, pretty well.
I operate that way with my children, and I don't mean to mix social and professional life, personal, but meeting Jeff, for example, for the first time was one of those pivotal moments. You know, you can read a person who is pleasant to meet, very sociable, a gentleman, a professional, but who is tougher than nails.
Just in the way he communicates and the resolve with which he describes those things that make him tick. You can tell that, like the Chancellor, this guy means business.
Q. You talked about football specifically and sort of in general removing obstacles for coaches. Have you had enough time? Can you describe some obstacles that you see in football and maybe some areas where the program can do better on its own?
JEFF LONG: I think when I first look at the program and I, you know, don't want to revolve everything around finances, but I just want to make sure that we have the resources we currently have committed to the right areas of the football program to help it be successful and then it's obvious to me that my job will be to go out to raise more money and find new revenue streams to our program to support the football program, and really, all of our programs.
You can do some data analysis and follow the resources and you'll find some of the more successful programs; not always, but I always talk about, you have to be within a range. You have to be within striking distance with resources to be able to compete. You don't always need the best or the most. We're going to do more with less. That's my nature. That's how I believe the culture of Kansas; we're going to do more with less.
But we've got to move those resources and get them into a range that we can compete. So that's going to be a challenge of mine, and I'm ready to go to work to do that.
Q. You kind of touched on the athletic programs there, but I'm sure you're well aware of one of the largest projects that this university has ever put on with the fund-raising for the football stadium. How does that start and how do you really get that going?
JEFF LONG: Well, I think first, it starts with a thank you on behalf of the new athletic director to Mr. David Booth for that incredible commitment he made on the front end. That's an astonishing commitment.
At this point I need to get in and look at the plans of the stadium and understand better how they hope to get where they hope to get. I certainly -- having a new football stadium, renovated football stadium, a renovated -- don't start, I'm going to build a new football stadium, renovate the football stadium and improve it for fan access and enjoyment. That takes an assessment, as well.
I have not had a chance to see the plans and I haven't seen the fund-raising plan that goes along with it. I know we have a tremendous initial gift that is really going to help get this program off the ground and it already had, but I need to understand more about that and I'm looking forward to understanding behind the scenes the roll-out and what they hope to accomplish with the $300 million campaign.
Q. Not getting into specifics too much but how quickly did you identify Jeff as somebody you really wanted to pursue in this process? And Jeff, there's been a lot of facilities built here in the last handful of years. Did that make this job more appealing to you, knowing that some of that stuff is out of the way and you can move forward from there? So different questions, but I didn't want to make Joe bring the mic back.
CHANCELLOR DOUGLAS A. GIROD: You know, I really asked Drue, Reggie and the team to cast a broad net, and not just think -- think out of the box, as well. So to look not just at sitting Power Five ADs but also ADs from other conferences, and then some non-ADs, some non-traditional folks.
Having said that, when they surfaced almost immediately, and it was this gentleman to my left -- really, as they went through that process and we discussed it and started narrowing that field down, it became clear to us, reasonably quickly -- this whole thing went reasonably quickly; by academic standards, this went very quickly.
But you know, Jeff really just kept rising to the top in every conversation that we had. And of course, as Drue said, as you do your due diligence and then you really want to start that conversation one-on-one, and just really understand who the person is, what motivates them, what their passion is, what drives them, what's important to them, what their priorities are going to be and does that fit and align. Once we actually met, that came clear pretty quickly.
JEFF LONG: My answer -- just a smiling fella (Laughter) just happy to be here.
The facilities are great. My answer to that is twofold: The facilities are great but I'll be candid: The challenge is what got me excited about Kansas, the challenge, and for an AD, you know, some of us look for challenges.
We like to compete, as I say. I'm coming here to compete and I'm excited about that opportunity. And then further, I will just say this, you know what, facilities are great. People are more important. You win with people and our coaches, our staff and our student athletes, they are going to be the formula for success.
Yes, the facilities are great, but people make the difference.
Q. The two Kansas basketball players names were mentioned in federal indictments, and you have language in your contract that has to do with if -- does A have anything to do with B, and what level of concern do you have that could lead to something not good for Kansas?
JEFF LONG: I am going to say this first: I'm very confident that Kansas, we're going to work through this process, and we're going to be just fine.
I think that was something I certainly considered as I decided to take the job, so you know, I'm very confident that we're going to work through this.
CHANCELLOR DOUGLAS A. GIROD: I would add that that language was ours, in discussion with our consultant, and knowing, of course, that that story is out there; that that conversation continues, we wanted to demonstrate our confidence in where we were with this and our ability to work through this, and our belief that we are not at risk in this.
And so that was really our doing, to put that language out there. That was not at his request. It was a way to reassure him that we are confident, as well, about where we are.
Q. You're no stranger to Big 12 athletics, working at Oklahoma, Power Five league, Big 12 and the SEC. Over the years, from afar, what's been your perception of Kansas and Kansas Athletics because you've competed against this school while at OU and what have you over the years thought about KU?
JEFF LONG: Well, first of all, when I think of Kansas, it's an incredible university. As I mentioned in my comments, an AAU institution that's world class, and I think about the passion of the fans that I've seen for my 30-plus years in intercollegiate athletics.
Jayhawks are one of those brands that you just know, and I get chills because this is a special place. I think you all know it, but I know it, as well. Even though I'm not from Kansas, I know that this is a special place and it's one of those intercollegiate athletic programs that any AD would want to be a part of and lead.
So I think it's a great school, great potential, and one that you like to compete against when you're not -- when you're not at Kansas, you like to compete against Kansas because of all of what it is.
Q. University has seen a decline in attendance in both men's football and basketball in the past four years. What's your outlook on finding the bridge between the athletic department and the student body?
JEFF LONG: Great question. First of all, I love the student body. I think our athletic program has to be reaching out to the student body. We need to be communicating with them, and really, talking with the student body to find out what are the things that they want to see, what are the things they want to participate in, because truly, the student body is what makes the entire fieldhouse or arena or football field -- they are the ones who make it exciting.
It's really important for us to get students engaged because students actually help bring other fans to the stadium because of their enthusiasm. I think our staff and I, we'll go to work on that early on, trying to engage with students or continuing to engage with students, and try and find the things out that are important to them to get them into our venues.
They are important. Our students are very important to that environment in any one of our competitive arenas.
Q. When you look back at your time at Arkansas, what lessons did you learn that will help you here?
JEFF LONG: First, I'm incredibly proud of what we accomplished at the University of Arkansas. I think if you look at the record of what we achieved and what we overcome, I'm very, very proud of it.
You know, I've learned many things and I've learned many things from every stop along the way. I think if you check my record, this -- I've been in a number of institutions and again, they are all unique, and they all teach you different things.
You know, I know how competitive that conference was, and so I learned to compete even harder in that conference. And so I bring that with me to Kansas; that we are going to compete even harder as we work, our coaches and our student athletes.
Q. Just wanted to ask you, if there was an unintended consequence of Christina being in the spotlight more than you would have liked with this, and keeping good humor, what's that been like in terms of you coming here and her there?
JEFF LONG: It started when I was at Arkansas and she was at Missouri. You'll find my youngest child has quite a personality (Laughter) and she and I will -- we get after each other pretty good, so there will be competition right here in the Long family between KU and Missouri, I guarantee you that.
Q. Curious how much you've been able to communicate with David Beaty so far, what are the tones of those conversations, and what are your expectations for what you would like to see out of the program this season?
JEFF LONG: David and I have had telephone conversations and really, it's because he was headed off to his vacation. But you know, this is really the first time I've been on campus since being hired. So I haven't had a chance to have much conversation, and matter of fact, today, I will meet my athletics staff today for the first time.
So you know, we haven't had any detailed discussions about the football program. You know, I need to get here and see firsthand. I know he's a coach. I know he's a good person. I know he works hard.
But we have not gotten any depth into -- about his program, but I look forward to doing that and look forward to talk to him about his approach and his coaches and recruiting and everything that he do that's involved with the football program.
Q. Have you been to Lawrence before?
JEFF LONG: I said to you, one of my guiding principles was going to be honesty, integrity.
When the job opened, I jumped in my car and I drove up here to Lawrence, Kansas. You know, I had been here with Oklahoma and I had been here with Arkansas, but when you come in and out for an athletic event, you really don't get to know the town. So I told my wife, I was going to take a ride.
So I jumped in the car and drove up here and really just spent a day driving around, walking around anonymously, going down the main street and having a cup of coffee.
I just took the opportunity to really try to get to know the place, because for me and my wife at this point, you know, we are empty-nesters, so our next spot needed to be a place that we could both be very happy as a couple, and I was overwhelmed and really excited about Lawrence, Kansas.
So I've seen it in that way and I've been to campus that way.
Q. I wonder what the next few weeks are like as you transition to August 1?
JEFF LONG: Yes, that's a great question and I want to thank the Chancellor for this. I had a previously planned vacation with my three wonderful daughters, so he's allowing me to do that, so we are going to take a little vacation and then I'm going to hit the ground August 1 on my anniversary, full swing.
Q. Where are you going?
JEFF LONG: We're actually going to Yellowstone. We're in search of wildlife, so we'll see.
Q. Forget the circumstances under which the three football coaches you hired left. Could you talk about the qualities that you saw in hiring them?
JEFF LONG: Yeah, as I look at coaches, first of all, I think as coaches as leaders of young men. They need to be able to lead. The X's and O's, trust me, they are important, and I get it, and we have to make sure that they know how to, you know, coach the game.
But I think leaders of young men is most important. So I look for that first. You know, do I think that they have got to have an offensive or defensive style of play that I believe will work in our program. So you know, those are the things that I think I look for first and foremost.
Q. Wonder if Coach Self was able to speak with Jeff during the process and what Jeff thinks of Coach and the basketball program?
JEFF LONG: Well, thank you. Yes, and I saw firsthand why Bill Self is such a great recruiter because I'll be candid, he recruited me here and I'm proud of that and that meant a lot to me.
But you know, Bill reached out, and he did. He recruited me and that meant a lot and I respect him. I've respected him, you know, throughout my career in athletics. Again, he's someone that people look up to. He's been very engaged nationally with the NABC and those things.
So you know, Bill Self is an admired coach and I was really excited to have a chance to talk with him and him share his views of Kansas and the program here.
CHANCELLOR DOUGLAS A. GIROD: And I would just add, Coach Self brings so much experience, expertise. He is very present on the national level and brings a lot of perspective and obviously has a lot of connections, as well. He's valuable for me, as well, through this process and bouncing ideas off of.
Q. You mentioned Jeff Long's national profile. Why is that important for Kansas to have an athletic director with a national profile and connections?
CHANCELLOR DOUGLAS A. GIROD: You know, I think having a -- a number of things. First of all, one of my aspirations for KU is to continue to elevate the national profile of the university. That's important as an AAU institution. It's important as a top-tier research institution. It's from a recruiting perspective, for our students, for our scholars, and as you bring leaders in, the opportunity to bring in people who have that national exposure really does help elevate our stature.
Having said that, it also brings a different perspective. It brings a national perspective to your program, which is obviously a local and regional program, but we do play on a national front in everything that we do, and so having that national expertise, that national profile, I think just really elevates all of us through the process.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you all for coming today.
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