I want to start by thanking the staff members on all of our campuses who worked through the snowstorms of the past two weeks to clear the snow, take care of students and make sure we were ready to reopen as soon as possible. We could not achieve our goals as a university without you.
At the start of the semester, I mentioned to you how donors and alumni around the nation have shared with me their support for the changes we’re making at the University of Kansas. I’d like to expand on that theme, discussing how these changes complement each other and advance our entire university.
Bold Aspirations was developed through a true community effort, under the leadership of Provost Jeff Vitter and Distinguished Professor Mabel Rice on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, and Dr. Barbara Atkinson at the KU Medical Center. Thanks to the faculty, staff, students and alumni who took part in these discussions, we have a plan for the future of our university.
We’re now implementing that plan, carefully measuring our progress in a range of areas related to our mission of educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world. Vital to our success will be the support we receive from private donors. That’s where Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas comes in.
The goals of the campaign are designed to support the goals of Bold Aspirations. The College, schools and units worked on their specific objectives, which our colleagues at KU Endowment use to reach out to prospective donors.
Since we launched Far Above last spring, I’ve met with more than 600 individuals at 13 regional events around the country. At each gathering, I’ve spoken with donors and friends who are passionate about our university. From the level of detail in their comments and questions, I can tell they are closely tracking our progress.
I’ll be visiting Jayhawks in Houston this Wednesday, talking with them about how vital private support is to the success not just of our university, but of the students and society we serve.
Just as Far Above will provide us with new resources, Changing for Excellence is enabling us to operate more efficiently so we can reinvest the savings in our teaching and scholarship. This effort has been undertaken in concert with the implementation of our strategic plan, and is already resulting in a more efficient, effective university.
The progress we make on each initiative complements and advances the other two. Taken as a whole, they will truly transform KU, ensuring it is recognized among the top tier of public international research universities.
But more importantly, these initiatives will enable us to educate more students who go on to earn their degrees and become leaders in their fields. They’ll allow us to enhance the health and prosperity of our state and nation. And they’ll support the research, scholarship and creative works that keep our entire world moving forward.
That’s why our friends are so passionate about the work you’re doing. And that’s why I’m proud to be the chancellor of the University of Kansas.