Today we are honored to welcome a distinguished alumnus, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, back to the University of Kansas.
President Santos graduated from KU in 1973 with degrees in economics and business, and was an active member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity.
After graduation, he returned home to serve the people of Colombia, first as a journalist, and then in government. In 2010, Santos became president of the Republic of Colombia, receiving more votes than any candidate in the history of Colombian democracy.
President Santos will receive the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award this afternoon, after meeting with students in the morning. He’s an example not only of how we educate leaders, but how the work we do benefits people around the globe.
More than 2,100 students from over 100 nations attend KU. They provide domestic students with the opportunity to learn from colleagues who may have had very different experiences, but who share with them a desire to explore and excel.
And while we are always proud when international students choose to make Kansas their home after graduation, we’re also proud when graduates like President Santos use what they’ve learned at KU to contribute to the prosperity and well-being of their home countries.
As an international research university, we welcome students, faculty and staff from around the world. But we also consider the world our classroom, our research lab and our community, sending Jayhawks to every corner of the Earth as they learn, discover and serve.
Roughly a quarter of our undergraduates study abroad, placing KU in the top 20 of the nation’s research universities. Our faculty members and student researchers fan out across the globe, measuring ice sheets in Greenland, discovering new species of bees in Cape Verde, studying political culture in Australia and much more. And on projects ranging from building sanitation systems in Bolivia to working to reduce infant mortality in Uganda, Jayhawks team up with local residents to build healthy communities all over the world.
One way that KU sets itself apart from other universities is the breadth of experiences and opportunities we offer. Our international programs and connections, and the diversity of our students, faculty, staff and alumni, make KU a stronger institution. And as President Santos’ visit reminds us, the Jayhawk Nation is represented in every nation.