One of my favorite experiences as chancellor is visiting with friends and supporters of the University of Kansas across the state and nation. From their detailed comments and questions, I can tell they are tracking our progress. While often from different backgrounds and perspectives, our supporters have one thing in common: They are inspired by the work you are doing to help us fulfill our mission as a flagship research university.
Over the past seven years, our supporters have contributed more than $1.45 billion as part of the Far Above campaign. It is a remarkable number, and we are humbled by the generosity of these donors.
But our supporters are not merely striving to reach a high dollar amount. Rather, they are supporting us because they believe in the work you’re doing to improve our state, our nation and our society.
First and foremost, our friends believe in the work you’re doing to educate leaders, as evidenced by the tremendous amount of private support that goes toward scholarships. In fact, thanks largely to our donors, KU continues to offer more scholarship funds than any university in Kansas. When coupled with the breadth and quality of our academic programs and experiences, this scholarship support is a key reason we have had four straight years of freshman class growth and continue to see more academically talented students choosing to become Jayhawks.
In addition to scholarships, your efforts inspire our friends to endow professorships and fellowships and to launch new student experiences. For example, donor support has enabled us to create new fellowships for four incoming humanities doctoral students and for mid-career faculty members in the humanities, as well as a new student-run strategic communications agency in the journalism school.
Our supporters’ belief in your work also inspires them to help us grow our campuses and improve our facilities. For example, donors are contributing to Capitol Federal Hall because they understand the workforce needs our business school is addressing. They’re supporting the Earth, Energy and Environment Center because they recognize the important work we’re doing in geology, nanoscience, physics, chemistry, and chemical and petroleum engineering. And they’re supporting the Health Education Building at the KU Medical Center because they believe in the crucial role we play in training more healthcare professionals for Kansas.
Without question, the work you are doing — and the financial support it inspires among our friends and donors — is transforming KU and moving us closer to achieving our goals.
But more importantly, your efforts and the support you inspire will enable us to educate more students who go on to earn their degrees and become leaders in their fields. It will allow us to enhance the health and prosperity of our state and nation. And it will support the research, scholarship and creative works that fundamentally change our world.
That’s why our friends are so passionate about the work you’re doing. And that’s why I’m honored to be the chancellor of the University of Kansas.