"Building Momentum ," UofL magazine, Summer 2003
May graduation ceremonies wrapped up an exciting academic year at U of L.
It began with the enrollment of our best-prepared freshman class ever, almost 21 percent had ACT scores of 27 or above.
We received our second largest grant ever when the School of Dentistry was awarded $8.2 million in federal funding for our birth defects center. The federal government selected the Kent School of Social Work to study and help improve training of child welfare workers in every state in the nation.
We created, with funding from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, a Center for Deterrence of Biowarfare and Bioterrorism to improve the local, regional and national response to outbreaks of infectious diseases and the defense against bioterrorism.
We received a planning grant from the National Cancer Institute to achieve Comprehensive Cancer Center status, a designation that will set us apart as the place of serious cancer treatment and research in this region.
We received a grant from the U.S. State Department to introduce Muslim scholars from around the world to life in the United States and build bridges for future cooperation with their homelands.
We have boosted our partnerships with other universities in the state. For instance, we’ve partnered with the University of Kentucky and the state to establish a Center for Transportation Innovation. We’re also sharing a grant with Northern Kentucky University to study ways to improve math and science teaching in urban school districts.
We opened the Delia B. Baxter Building with almost 100 labs for research in aging, oncology, molecular cardiology, genetics and molecular medicine, bioengineering and pediatrics. We also broke ground on the Belknap Research Building, which will open in late 2005 and house interdisciplinary research in nanotechnology, microfabrication, biomechanics and bioengineering.
Many of these initiatives have been funded with the support of our federal legislators, most notably Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is a devoted U of L alumnus, and Rep. Anne Northup.
In addition, our state legislators supported a third round of funding for the Research Challenge Trust Fund, or “Bucks for Brains,” which will allow us to match state dollars with private donations to attract and retain internationally recognized researchers. In turn, their work will advance the state’s economic development, quality of life and educational opportunities.
On the athletics front, our football team made its fifth straight bowl appearance, and we reached an auspicious #2 ranking in men’s basketball during an exciting season in which we won the Conference USA championship and attracted dedicated fans to NCAA competition. We also hired outstanding new coaches in football and women’s basketball, so our future in these and other sports looks bright.
Just as the year began with an outstanding freshman class, it ended with more senior students earning national and international awards, from a Truman Scholarship to three teaching Fulbrights to the acceptance of a student to Oxford University.
Thanks to our excellent faculty and the many friends who support scholarships and programs for student scholars, U of L is becoming a school of choice for outstanding students from Kentucky and beyond. Although we face challenges due to tough economic times, this year’s achievements signal that we are building momentum that will lead us to preeminence as a metropolitan research university.
James R. Ramsey