Remarks as prepared for delivery.
I am so happy to join all of you today in marking this milestone in the history of Johnson County and the greater Kansas City area.
Just as our mission as Kansas’ flagship university calls on KU to serve the people of our state, it is also KU’s responsibility to serve the people of the region’s largest metropolitan area.
KU’s presence in Kansas City is anchored by two enterprises.
One is the KU Medical Center and our partners in The University of Kansas Hospital. Johnson and Wyandotte Counties are home to the best in academic medicine, where we care for patients while educating new doctors, nurses, and health professionals.
Kansas City is also home to life saving research – including the new KU Clinical Research Center, made possible by Johnson Co. residents
And, of course, we’re all eager to hear the outcome of KU Cancer Center’s NCI bid, which has benefitted from tremendous community support from both sides of the state line.
The next vital part of KU’s presence in Kansas City is the Edwards Campus, which is also growing to meet our responsibility to the area. The BEST Building is the latest in the continuing expansion of the campus to meet needs of local residents and businesses.
It is clear training graduates in business, engineering, science and technology is vital to success of the area economy. Equally important – is the fact that opportunities to gain education in these growing fields is vital to the success of area students.
The 10 new academic programs made possible by JCERT will help us meet the needs of students and employers. And thanks to expansion of the MetroKC tuition waiver, more students from Missouri will be able to attend KU Edwards Campus.
The Johnson County Education and Research Triangle is delivering significant benefits for Johnson County, and for all of Kansas City.
- $70,000 in Triangle scholarships have already been awarded.
- 130 students are already in the Bachelor’s in Business Administration program, which we created thanks to JCERT.
- A new undergraduate program in information technology is up for approval this spring.
- Professional science master’s degrees in project management and environmental assessment are in development now.
And outside of the Triangle-funded programs, there are plans in the works for KU to offer a streamlined MBA to complement the existing part-time MBA, as well as executive business programs.
Finally, the K-State Olathe Innovation Campus is focused on its mission related to animal health and food safety.
But in all of these facts and figures, one can lose sight of what this expansion really means: More students having a chance to advance their careers and better their lives through education.
One of those students is Jeff Trowbridge – he’s here with us today.
I met Jeff at a KU Alumni Association event this winter. He’s one of the first graduates from the bachelor’s in business administration program.
Jeff wanted to advance in his career, but needed a degree to do that. He chose KU because he said a KU degree is respected by employers.
With the support of his employer, United States Infrastructure Corporation, Jeff earned his degree and soon after was promoted from supervisor to district manager.
But that’s only part of what he gained.
As Jeff put it, “Professionally, I have greater opportunity within my company and elsewhere. But more importantly, I can tell my young son that I’m a college graduate.”
Congratulations, Jeff – and congratulations to not only all of the students who are furthering their educations, but also to the leaders and residents of Johnson County who are making it possible.
It is now my pleasure to introduce our next speaker.
As Governor, he has repeatedly emphasized the importance of higher education to personal success, to the success of our businesses and the success of our state.
Please join me in welcoming Governor Sam Brownback.