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"Moving forward with ‘Bucks For Brains’" UofL Magazine

by Smith,Ukiah last modified Jun 29, 2009 10:49 AM

President's column from UofL magazine, Winter 2003.

"Moving forward with ‘Bucks For Brains’," UofL magazine, Winter 2003

Our message is clear: The Research Challenge Trust Fund brings new opportunities for students, new economic opportunities for the community and state, and an improved quality of life for all Kentuckians. We welcome your help in sharing this message.

During two-and-a-half months as U of L’s acting president, I learned a great deal about an outstanding university I thought I already knew well.

I learned that U of L has exceptional faculty and staff who are tireless advocates for students and for U of L’s teaching and research mission. I learned that U of L attracts talented students who come to take advantage of our metropolitan connections and recognized faculty.

I learned that we have loyal alumni who are proud of our history and give back to the university to make it even better. I learned that the many donors who so strongly support U of L do so because they know that we’ll make a difference. I learned that we have devoted volunteers who serve on the many boards and groups associated with the university.

And I learned that we have tremendous partners helping us achieve our goals. From our federal delegation—especially alumnus Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Anne Northup—to our state legislators and many friends in the community, we are creating synergistic partnerships that propel U of L forward.

So when many of these same people asked me to consider the permanent presidency, I listened carefully. Given all that I had learned as acting president, I believed that I could make a positive difference with their continued support and confidence. Today, I am humbled and honored to have been named U of L’s 17th president.

The Best Challenge

I’ve said before that my primary goal is to maintain the university’s progress toward achieving the vision expressed through Kentucky’s 1997 higher education reform legislation. To make this happen, we have an immediate task before us: working with our legislators to continue the state’s investment in the Research Challenge Trust Fund, or Bucks for Brains, in the current session.

With state funding so tight in a lagging economy it is even more critical to maintain this progressive, nationally recognized effort to expand research initiatives that enhance Kentucky’s economy and our quality of life.

Bucks for Brains, which matches state funds with private donations to attract and retain eminent researchers in medicine, education, entrepreneurship, engineering and many other areas, is already making a difference since its beginnings five years ago.

One only has to hear professors Tori Molfese talk about identifying learning disabilities in children and Donald Miller discuss advances in cancer research and care to see how everyone in the state benefits. (See page 28 to learn about another successful researcher, Hank Kaplan.)

Not only does new knowledge generated by top-level research advance our quality of life, but it also generates new business opportunities and brings new dollars into the state’s economy. We are seeing increased company start-ups, patents and research funding directly attributed to Bucks for Brains.

The program also gives Kentucky’s students new opportunities to work closely with pioneering faculty who bring their knowledge and experiences to the classroom, leaving our students especially well-equipped to contribute to their professions and communities after graduation.

Our message is clear: The Research Challenge Trust Fund brings new opportunities for students, new economic opportunities for the community and state, and an improved quality of life for all Kentuckians. We welcome your help in sharing this message.

Meanwhile, I appreciate all that you do on behalf of U of L and value your support and input as we move forward.

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