Four days of classes, then finals, and the semester will be over. But before we begin the winter break, I want to thank you for your achievements over the past semester and year.
This fall we continued to grow the freshman class, while at the same time setting records for diversity and academic readiness. As we educate these students to become leaders, our newest Jayhawks are benefitting from the KU Core and the work being done to redesign courses to maximize learning.
Our efforts to build healthy communities were advanced through everything from telemedicine and educating health professionals, to offering social work courses in Garden City and Hays. At the same time, we continued to expand our partnerships with businesses to create growth and prosperity, and brought the arts and humanities to communities across the state.
And as part of our mission to make discoveries that change the world, we’re advancing scholarship by bringing together—and funding—multidisciplinary collaborations to address the grand challenges of our time.
All of this was made possible thanks to the work of you and your colleagues. Your efforts are being noticed, as this fall KU Endowment announced another record year of contributions from donors who believe in our mission.
The past year wasn’t without its challenges. On top of federal sequestration, Kansas universities had to implement cuts at a time when most other states were increasing support for higher education. And we were all provided with a reminder that working at the state’s flagship university means our words and actions can reflect on our entire academic community whether we intend them to or not.
But overall, 2013 saw us make big strides toward achieving our bold aspirations. Those aspirations will continue to guide us in the coming year, and we will emphasize their benefits when we meet with policymakers. By the time classes start in January, the 2014 Legislative Session will have begun, and we will know whether our legislative priorities have been included in the Governor’s Budget.
As you gather with family and friends over the break, know that your work contributes not only to a greater KU, but to greater opportunities for the students, patients and people we serve. Thank you, and best wishes for a joyous holiday.