Douglas A. Girod
Honorary Medical Alumnus
Douglas A. Girod, MD, FACS
Chancellor, The University of Kansas
Professor, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, KU School of Medicine
Dr. Douglas A. Girod has dedicated nearly 30 years of service to the University of Kansas because he wanted to stick around at a place with good people – and in Kansas, he says he found just that.
“It’s very humbling to receive this award from a place and a community I’ve given so many years to,” Dr. Girod said.
While his first job was as a paperboy at 10 years old in Salem, Oregon, Dr. Girod started his career in Silicon Valley at 18 years old, working at start-up companies while attending West Valley Community College in Saratoga, California. Although his time in the business world was short, he says it’s what initially made him interested in leadership.
After working in California, Dr. Girod began his 15-year career in the United States Navy Reserve in 1982, rising to the rank of lieutenant commander and earning the Meritorious Service Medal in 1994. Dr. Girod served on the U.S.S. Mercy and at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, where he was vice chair and director of research for the department of otolaryngology. He was honorably discharged in 1997.
He earned his medical degree from the University of California San Francisco. He went on to complete his training in general surgery and head and neck surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle. He also completed an NIH fellowship in auditory neuroscience, and he spent much of his career studying cochlear hair cell regeneration to restore hearing loss. Dr. Girod earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of California Davis.
He joined the faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1994. During his time at KU Medical Center, Dr. Girod was a professor and department chair for the Department of Otolaryngology, senior associate dean and interim executive dean for the KU School of Medicine, and executive vice chancellor of the medical center.
Dr. Girod became the 18th chancellor of the University of Kansas in July 2017. Under his leadership, KU has established a new budget model, recruited the most academically talented freshman classes in history, helped KU procure additional funding from the Kansas Legislature, and enhanced the way KU provides healthcare to students through groundbreaking partnerships with regional healthcare leaders.
He serves on the board for several organizations, including the Association of American Universities, University Innovation Alliance, Big XII Conference, and the American Head and Neck Society, among others, both locally and nationally. Dr. Girod has led or participated in over a dozen medical missions around the world, including to Guatemala, the Philippines, Mexico, Uganda and Mali.
“Dr. Girod’s accomplishments include a lengthy and incredible list: local and national honors as well as presidencies, committee chairs, and research achievements,” Thomas Geraghty, MD’72, said in his letter nominating Dr. Girod for the award. “He is a humble, caring, and brilliant man.”
After growing up in the northwest, Dr. Girod is an avid skier, in addition to enjoying flyfishing. He says he’ll take any excuse to get outdoors.
Dr. Girod grew up racing motorcycles, which turned into a love for cars. He sponsors the KU Car Club, a role took on after his vintage ’73 Triumph broke down on Jayhawk Boulevard on the Friday night of Hawk Week in 2019. A group of students came to his rescue and helped him push it to a garage. When they emailed Dr. Girod a week later asking if he would sponsor their new club for car fans, of course he obliged.
Dr. Girod was born in Salem, Oregon, and now lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with his wife, Susan. Together they raised three children, Katelyn, 38; Callie, 34; and James, 33.