Hours before resignation, Golden promoted his upcoming installation ceremony to donors

A look at the former president’s calendar and the interactions he had with faculty and staff suggests the days leading up to his resignation were ordinary.


Easton Thompson

Jay Golden, the new president of Wichita State University, answers questions from members of the press on Thursday, Oct. 31 in the Rhatigan Student Center.

Hours before Jay Golden resigned as president of the university on Sept. 25, he attended the Foundation’s National Advisory Council meeting, where he teased his installation ceremony scheduled for October.

“I’m going to pull the curtain back a little bit but not fully, I’m being selfish,” Golden said in his presentation. “October 26th is the installation, basically to the one year date of my announcement we had to push it back, so I want to keep a few things behind the curtain if you will, so I can roll them out at the installation.”

Golden resigned Sept. 25, just shy of nine months on the job. His resignation came roughly three months after donors threatened to pull funding if the Board of Regents didn’t fire him over his decision to move Ivanka Trump’s WSU Tech commencement speech from keynote to optional. The board gave no explanation for his resignation.

Through open records requests, The Sunflower has obtained and reviewed Golden’s calendar and his email exchanges for the weeks leading up to his resignation. Of the 849 pages of emails, the university fully redacted six of them. Several calendar items were redacted as well. 

In town halls, meetings and other communication during the week of his resignation, Golden consistently talked about plans and initiatives for the university — right up through the morning on the day he resigned.

Jay Golden’s schedule from his last day as president according to his calendar. (Morgan Anderson)

Friday, Sept. 18 — One week before resignation

Golden held a town hall over Zoom for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where he discussed grant proposals, an upcoming meeting with Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, and an op-ed he had written, plus plans for more in the future.

He also had a town hall for the honors college faculty and staff, and three Zoom meetings with various individuals, according to his calendar.

Sunday, Sept. 20 — Five days before resignation

From 12:30-1:30 Golden attended his dog Rudy’s dog training.

Monday, Sept. 21 — Four days before resignation

From 10 -11:30a.m. Golden set aside time to prepare for a Chamber of Commerce speech, which was scheduled for Sept. 29, four days after Golden’s resignation. 

From 11:30-1p.m. Golden attended the REAP conference over Zoom, where he served as the keynote speaker.

He also had a financials briefing, and a dinner set aside to discuss digital transformations.

Thursday, Sept. 24 — One day before resignation

Golden began his day at a WSU Board of Trustees meeting, and then moved on to the Wichita State Innovation Alliance board meeting.

He then attended a tour of the Kansas Health Science Center with Rick Muma, provost.

Golden also had an interview with KSN about the new smart factory coming to WSU.

Friday, Sept. 25 — The day of resignation

Golden attended the National Advisory Council meeting, a board set up through the WSU Foundation made up of WSU alumni and donors in Wichita and across the country, where he discussed the university’s growth, goals for the future, and more. 

During the questioning period, Golden was asked about his relationship with donors after the Ivanka Trump situation in June.

“The donors we know were upset … for a number of reasons, we’ve reached out collectively,” Golden said. “Without naming names, I’ve had dinners recently with some … at the end, they’re making overtures trying to help the university on a couple of projects.

“I think time does heal. I think having conversations heals.”

The last question asked of Golden was about rumors concerning head basketball coach Gregg Marshall and problems with former players. That was two weeks before stories in The Athletic and Stadium made public an investigation of Marshall for misconduct. Golden said that he couldn’t answer that question due to personnel reasons.

After the meeting, Golden met with Kansas Board of Regents President Blake Flanders in Golden’s office at 11:45a.m. to 12:45p.m. 

At 2:18p.m., KBOR announced Golden’s resignation.