It seems hard to believe that the end of the fall semester is upon us, with finals starting next week. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we came to campus, ready to start a new school year? It doesn’t seem possible that it was four months ago that Shade and I started to unpack in the beautiful Outlook.
Now, as we enter the last week of classes, with finals around the corner and winter break just days away, I’ve been thinking back on the past several months.
I have greatly enjoyed what has proven to be a whirlwind first semester on Mount Oread. Every day I have learned at least one new thing about the University of Kansas, and every day my appreciation for KU’s staff, faculty, students, alumni and friends has grown.
That appreciation for the work and mission of KU is one that I’ve found is shared across Kansas, and even across the nation. I’ve had the opportunity to meet people in the four corners of Kansas, from the small town of Ulysses to the KU Medical Center along the state line, as well as Jayhawks around the nation, from Texas to California.
I’ve been to a roof-raising and a groundbreaking; the Statehouse and the State Fair. I’ve seen how KU students helped a town rise from the rubble, and met with students who will be spending part of their winter breaks helping others.
I’ve met faculty members and researchers who are pushing back the boundaries of human knowledge, and their colleagues who are expanding our appreciation for the arts and humanities.
I’ve spoken to superintendents and community college presidents about how we can help more of their students make a successful transition to KU. And I’ve been privileged to meet many of Kansas’ best students at Kansas Honors Program events in Topeka and Dodge City.
In all these interactions – and in the many more not mentioned here – I have gained a greater understanding of this university and its importance to the state and its residents. Everywhere I have gone people have told me how much they value the University of Kansas, and what it means to have a research university of KU’s caliber in Kansas.
So as you gather with your families over the holidays, please know that your work is valued and appreciated – not only by me, but by the millions of people your work has benefitted, directly or indirectly, throughout the state, nation and world.
Best wishes to you and your family and I look forward to continuing our shared journey.