From the Director's Desk: A Look at the Year Ahead
Last year was another tremendous year for the McConnell Center and our students.
- Our students thrived on campus and through winning opportunities to intern in Frankfort, Washington, DC, and overseas.
- Jasper Noble won the presidency of the University of Louisville student body, and he combined with Dasha Kolyaskina to win the November regional moot court competition. That pair, part of our nationally ranked moot court team, will head off to compete for the national championship in a few weeks.
- Ben Barberie spent a semester in the Hague last spring, and Leah Hazelwood was just named a 2020 Kentucky Derby Festival Princess.
And those are just a few highlights from the most accomplished young people I have ever encountered.
As I reflect on my first 20 years as director of this special place, it strikes me that the most meaningful thing we do is work with these outstanding young people and help them grow, develop and fulfill their dreams.
So many of our former students have gone off to wonderful careers, to start families and lead their communities. Two, of course, were just elected to state-wide office in Kentucky, fulfilling both their dreams and the best hopes of the founders of this program. Another decided to show her confidence in us by giving a very substantial gift to endow programs to help students in financial need and add to the quality of civic education in Kentucky.
Our partnerships with the U.S. Army continue to be vigorous, and we know we are having a big impact on the lives of soldiers we have the privilege of educating and mentoring. This year we even took the 2019 SBS Class on the road to Washington, DC, for briefings with national security leaders and tours of historic locations.
The center took some big steps last year by creating a new series of guides and podcasts dedicated to helping life-long learners continue their reading of classic texts and honing their leadership skills. Look for another podcast series to be launched for your enjoyment and edification later this year.
This year, 2020, will be an amazing year for the McConnell Center. In the spring we are focusing our programming primarily on the centenary of the 19th amendment through discussions, seminars and conversations about women authors and leaders. We will launch new educational resources and publications as the year moves forward, and we anticipate our Fall 2020 programming to commence the most integrated and robust educational program in our history. Stay tuned, and consider joining us for our upcoming public programs.
As I start my third decade as director of this unique and wonderful program, I ask for your continued interest and support in our work, and I hope your year is as great as I know ours will be.
Gary L. Gregg, II, PhD
McConnell Center Director