This winter you may have noticed some Kansas Athletics billboards around the Kansas City area stating, "We are Kansas City." These billboards featured enduring moments in the history of Jayhawk athletics in the city, but that sentiment is shared across the university, and by the tens of thousands of KU alumni who live in Kansas City and surrounding communities.
Just as our mission calls on the University of Kansas to serve the people of our state, it is also KU’s responsibility to serve the people of the region’s largest metropolitan area. Our presence in Kansas City is anchored by the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, as well as by the KU Medical Center and our partners at The University of Kansas Hospital.
Thanks to the support of Johnson County residents, the Edwards Campus is growing both in physical size and in the number of academic programs it offers. This Friday we celebrate the grand opening of the Business, Engineering, Science and Technology (BEST) Building. This brand new facility will house the 10 new academic programs made possible by the Johnson County Education and Research Triangle.
One of those programs, a bachelor’s degree in business administration through the School of Business, was launched in spring 2010 and now has an enrollment of 130 students. This program complements the existing master’s degree in business administration offered at the Edwards Campus, which is designed for professionals wishing to enhance their careers.
Another new program, a bachelor of science in information technology, is being considered by the Board of Regents this spring, and there are plans in the works to offer a streamlined MBA, executive business programs, and professional science master’s degrees.
Our ability to educate leaders in the Kansas City area will be further enhanced by expansion of the MetroKC tuition waiver. Earlier this month, the Regents approved our proposal to expand both the amount and geographic reach of this waiver for Missouri residents wishing to attend the KU Edwards Campus.
As the Edwards Campus has continued to grow to meet the needs of Kansas City residents and businesses, so too is the KU Medical Center expanding to better serve the area.
This growth is typified by the KU Cancer Center’s drive for National Cancer Institute designation, and I congratulate Dr. Roy Jensen and his colleagues on a successful site visit last week. This effort has truly brought together patients, providers, donors and policymakers from throughout the region, and we look forward to learning the outcome of our application.
And, just as they made the BEST Building possible, Johnson County residents deserve our thanks for the KU Clinical Research Center in Fairway, which opened to patients January 23. This new facility provides patients with faster access to treatments discovered by KU researchers, and complements the outstanding patient care offered by the men and women of the medical center, hospital, and University of Kansas Physicians, Inc.
These are just a few examples of the partnerships we have forged with residents, businesses and communities throughout the Kansas City area. We are proud of those partnerships, and we are working hard to uphold our responsibility to help the entire region grow and prosper.