Welcome to the first day of classes of the 2011–12 academic year at the University of Kansas! It was a pleasure to see many of you at Convocation last night as we formally started the latest chapter in the history of our university.
As you know, the effects of the national recession and resulting state budget crisis have not spared the University of Kansas. In this context, it is clear that we must do things differently if we are to maintain current standards of quality, let alone make the improvements that are necessary to ensure KU’s future success.
Scholarships are one of our best tools for recruiting talented students to the University of Kansas. That’s why we’ve been realigning our scholarship programs to offer renewable scholarships to more incoming students.
It is my distinct pleasure to join you as we honor your achievement, and honor the fact that, today, you are all keeping a promise. Indeed, today you're keeping a number of promises, many of which you didn't even know you had made.
Another successful academic year at the University of Kansas is about to conclude. Students start finals today and Commencement is now less than a week away. It’s sometimes easy to get caught up during the rush of the semester and forget about what a remarkable institution we work for.
This weekend brought news that two members of the Association of American Universities were leaving the organization – one voluntarily and one after a vote by two-thirds of AAU members to discontinue its membership. This came after a review of both universities’ status was initiated by the AAU last year.
As part of a banquet honoring the best students in Kiowa County High School, Chancellor Gray-Little told students they could use education to transform their lives and the lives of those around them. She highlighted challenges the nation faces in areas like energy and health care and how higher education is critical to solving those challenges.
Last April, I announced that the Lawrence Campus would be developing a comprehensive sustainability plan, setting measurable goals toward minimizing our negative environmental and social impacts. Today I'm pleased to share an update on that process, along with opportunities for you to get involved with sustainability initiatives in our community.
Engineering-intensive industries like Sprint – and universities like KU that educate the engineers Sprint employs – will be increasingly important to the state and national economies, Chancellor Gray-Little said during remarks at Sprint headquarters. She took part in an event sponsored by the Diamond Network and WISE, two Sprint employee groups.
The University of Kansas is an active member of communities throughout Kansas. Our faculty, staff and students volunteer countless hours in service of others, both on their own and through events organized by university groups.
Chancellor Gray-Little testified about the importance of making investments in academic areas like health and engineering during an appearance before the Senate Ways & Means Subcommittee on Higher Education. She also outlined the research successes at KU that are benefitting the state.
In the two previous messages this semester, I've talked about how events in Topeka shape our ability to carry out the university's mission. This time I'd like to focus on how actions in Washington also affect KU.
Universities directly benefit the economic health and general well-being of Kansas, Chancellor Gray-Little told legislators during a meeting of the House Education Budget Committee. She expressed support for the Governor’s recommended budget and outlined the ways KU can help Kansas return to prosperity.
Service to others is central to our mission. We serve our students by inspiring them to reach their full potential. We serve the world through scholarly and creative endeavors that enhance quality of life and create jobs and prosperity. And we serve society through the work of countless individuals on our campuses, around the state, and all over the globe.
Chancellor Gray-Little outlined the accomplishments and challenges of the previous year while also looking to KU’s future. She also discussed the ways that the KU community is working together to create a stronger, more vibrant university.
As we start the spring semester I want to invite you to attend the State of the University Address, this Thursday, January 27 at 4 p.m. in Woodruff Auditorium. This event will give us an opportunity to look at the major events of the past year, as well as to talk about the challenges and opportunities facing KU in the coming months.
Research universities are facing a range of new challenges that affect their ability to successfully accomplish their teaching and research missions. Chancellor Gray-Little discussed the new landscape for universities in the keynote address at the Reinvention Center National Conference in Washington, DC.