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We Are What We Do

March 7, 2016

Students, faculty, and staff:

Midwestern Modesty can get in the way.  The University of Kansas has unique achievements that more of the world should know and celebrate — that we should know and celebrate.

The celebration begins right here, right now.

KU is so much more than basketball (although, that is a valid reason to rejoice).  Best College Reviews named our Natural History Museum the nation’s top museum at a public university.  The KU Debate team will again represent KU at the National Debate Tournament — a streak the team has held for 49 years. 

We make great things happen here all the time.  Every day.  The 2016 Chancellor’s Report shares dozens of our most recent success stories.  I will highlight a few using our mission as a frame. 

KU educates leaders.  Students and alumni are leading the way to better society and communities here and afar.  Here is one example:  Netty Malca Pérez, an engineering management student from Cajamarca, Peru, plans to introduce aquaponics and help this city in the Andes Mountains boost its economy.  As a Fulbright Scholar and soon-to-be KU graduate, Malca Pérez is eager to improve the lives of others.   

KU builds and strengthens communities.  Students, faculty, and staff are making connections that lead to second chances and renewed opportunities.  You may have already heard of the latest success of the KU School of Law’s Project for Innocence.  Student detective work led to the exoneration and release of Floyd Bledsoe, who spent 16 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit.  Another program, the School of Business’s RedTire, is allowing smaller communities to thrive.  RedTire pairs rural Kansas business owners who are ready to retire with graduates from Regents universities who are prepared to keep the businesses going and growing.  More than 100 small businesses, dental practices, veterinary clinics and pharmacies, like the Funk Pharmacy in Concordia, Kan., are among the ventures benefiting from this amazing effort.  

KU leads discovery with innovative approaches.  Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Jim Thorp is heading an international, multi-continent effort to document ecosystems of some of the globe’s vital river systems.  The team will look at biodiversity, food webs, oxygen metabolism and potential impacts of climate change.  Believed to be the largest study of its kind, it will involve students and researchers from nine universities.

Our talent and our performance defines the greatness of KU and delivers so much that we, the State of Kansas, and America can be proud of.  I see it everywhere I turn.

Every classroom.  Every building.  Every lab.  Every day.  It’s what we do.

Ever Onward!

News and Notes

Kansas Memorial Unions will hold a decommissioning ceremony for the Burge Union at 2 p.m., Tuesday, March 8 in the Burge Lounge.  All are invited to take part as officials celebrate the history of the Burge and remove and store the building plaque. 

KU Libraries opened a new exhibit, “Easter 1916: Rebellion and Memory in Ireland,” to mark the 100th anniversary of Ireland’s Easter Rising.  On display at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, the exhibition explores the political and cultural contexts of the weeklong rebellion in April 1916 during which armed nationalists sought to establish an Irish republic independent from England.  The Irish Collections at Spencer Library are among the most significant and sizeable outside of Ireland. A reception for the exhibit will be held at 5:30 p.m., March 16.

Nominations are open to honor outstanding faculty through three different awards.  An upcoming email will alert faculty and staff with more details, or visit the Faculty Development website to start thinking about potential nominees.

The University Honors Program will host a panel discussion on Equity in Higher Education at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 8, in The Jay of the Kansas Union.  The event will examine access to higher education, causes of inequity and explore institutionalized racism.  Two of the scheduled panelists are Vice Provost for Diversity and Equity Nate Thomas and Distinguished Professor Perry Alexander.

This week offers two other events particularly significant to the KU community: The Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament and Spring Break.  Whatever your plans, please celebrate responsibly and drive safely.

Upcoming presentations in the Bold Aspirations Visitor and Lecture Series include:

  • David Farber, Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of History, will present “The Uneasy State of American Conservatism: A Brief History” at 5:30 p.m., April 11, in the Summerfield Room of the Adams Alumni Center.
  • Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, will offer “The Challenge of Building a National Museum” at 6 p.m., April 13, in The Commons of Spooner Hall.  This new museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., will open this year.
Provost's Message Signature: 

Best wishes,

Sara T. Rosen

Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

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