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President Ransdell delivers annual address to faculty, staff

In a nation built on equal opportunity, WKU must continue “an unwavering pursuit to become unequal as an institution and to help our students to become unequal in the working world that they will soon be entering,” President Gary Ransdell said Friday.

WKU President Gary Ransdell addressed faculty and staff at the opening convocation on Aug. 24 at Van Meter Hall. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

In his annual Opening Convocation address to faculty and staff, Dr. Ransdell addressed several topics including achievements and highlights of the past year and initiatives and challenges for the upcoming year. (Dr. Ransdell’s remarks are available online at www.wku.edu/convocation)

“Let’s live by the mantra that all Americans have an equal opportunity to become unequal,” Dr. Ransdell said at Van Meter Hall. “Some of our students might be able to do this by themselves, but most need our help. It is our job as faculty, administrators and staff to help them achieve their full potential. If we do that, many of them will, indeed, become unequal among peers in higher education and that will set the stage for them to become unequal in the fields of business, education, science, the arts, healthcare, and all the other dimensions in which WKU alumni can lead. Only you can put our students in a position to become unequal—mentally, physically, spiritually and ethically. We owe it to all of our students, from the gifted to the at-risk. That is what has continued to set us apart. That is the WKU spirit.”

Achievements and highlights included:

  • The Gatton Academy’s No. 1 ranking as America’s top high school by Newsweek magazine.
  • The continued national success of the School of Journalism & Broadcasting and the WKU Forensics program.
  • WKU’s growing success in students earning prestigious national and international scholarships (with 27 awards totaling more than $500,000 in 2012)
  • The completion of the Challenging the Spirit Action Plan for 2012-2018; the plan is available online at www.wku.edu/convocation.
  • The creation of a new General Education core curriculum; the Colonnade Plan goes into effect in the fall of 2014.
  • The initiation of Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs, which will be located at a new building under construction at the Medical Center in downtown Bowling Green.
  • Construction of the Augenstein Alumni Center and renovation project at the Downing University Center.
  • The continued expansion of Chinese language and culture programs through the Confucius Institute and the Chinese Flagship program.

Initiatives for the upcoming year include:

  • A celebration to mark the completion of the New Century of Spirit campaign (the final total will be announced on Sept. 21 at the President’s Circle Gala).
  • The opening of Instruments of American Excellence at the Kentucky Museum  (the major exhibit will open on Sept. 21).
  • A continued focus on retention, academic quality, academic scholarships, a proposed bi-term calendar and joint admissions agreements with seven schools in Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

Dr. Ransdell noted that WKU’s transformation to a leading American university with international reach is being noticed across the Commonwealth. “People are beginning to recognize that we are, indeed, becoming the intellectual heartbeat of Kentucky,” he said.

More: Spirit of WKU, diversity, sustainability, service and faculty awards also presented.

Contact: Media Relations, (270) 745-4295

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