So, why the delay?
Kimbrough's explanation is simple: He wanted to wait until he had had enough time to get to know Dillard so that Dillard would have enough time to know him.
Because of the wait, "I have a sense of place," Kimbrough, 46, said a few days before the ceremony.
"You don't want people giving these inaugural speeches after three months because they really don't know what they're talking about. People want you to be engaged, and that's what I like."
That started early on, when he and his wife, Adria, bought Dillard vanity plates for their cars. The reaction, he said, was instantaneous and positive: "We know you're here."
Kimbrough has shown up at off-campus meetings where he can represent the Dillard brand, and he has let it be known that he's approachable. "I can't go anywhere on campus and get from Point A to Point B without somebody stopping to say, 'Hey, how are you doing?'" he said. "I've been in meetings the last three days in Cleveland and Charlotte. A student sent me a text, 'Is everything OK? I haven't seen you in forever.' That's refreshing."
Kimbrough, who grew up in Atlanta, said that goes with the territory. "When you're in the South, you have to embrace the people so people can love on you," he said.