We’ve had quite the year.
We watched Jayhawks perform at Carnegie Hall and race in the Olympics. We’ve seen them honored with Goldwater, Truman, State Department and numerous other scholarships. And we’ve celebrated as they won everything from moot court competitions to newspaper advertising awards.
These are all tremendous achievements, but there have been many others. They’re less visible, but they occur every day in classrooms, study sessions and one-on-one meetings, where you have helped our students prepare to be leaders in their fields and in our world.
You’ve challenged them to think critically and take a broader view of the world. You’ve helped them take figurative leaps — or if we’re talking about dance, literal ones. And you’ve inspired them to achieve things they never would have dreamed were possible.
These achievements have extended to laboratories, studios and libraries, where you’ve engaged our students as fellow scholars. The projects presented at the Undergraduate Research Symposium alone cover essentially the full range of disciplines studied at KU. And that’s before we consider the work of our graduate students, both in support of faculty scholarship and as part of their own research portfolios.
This spring we announced that KU had risen to 39th among public universities in the amount of federally funded research conducted — our highest ranking ever. This sort of achievement is central to the work we’re doing to ensure KU is recognized as a top-tier public international research university.
As part of Bold Aspirations, the KU Core will launch this fall, and we’ve awarded more than $1.5 million in multidisciplinary research grants. And through Changing for Excellence, we’re already saving money on university purchases and the first shared service centers are coming online. These are just a few examples of the work you’re doing to secure KU’s future.
And this past year has seen achievements that reach far beyond our campuses and touch lives throughout our state and around the world. From new treatments for patients facing cancer, to new jobs and businesses for our economy, to art and literature in places hungry for inspiration, you’ve contributed to the health and vitality of countless communities.
I know you’ve heard it before, but KU’s mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world. Those are more than just words. Together they reflect how your work, this year and every year, has changed lives. That’s the power we have as members of this community, and that’s why universities are so vital to the public good.
I hope you will join me at Commencement as we congratulate the Class of 2013 and welcome it into the ranks of our esteemed alumni. Thank you for the work you’ve done to raise our grand cathedral ever higher, and best wishes for a productive and enjoyable summer.