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WKU must change, adapt to meet students’ needs, Dr. Ransdell says

WKU President Gary Ransdell addressed faculty and staff at the 2014 Opening Convocation on Aug. 22 at Van Meter Hall. (WKU Photo by Clinton Lewis)

WKU President Gary Ransdell addressed faculty and staff at the 2014 Opening Convocation on Aug. 22 at Van Meter Hall. (WKU Photos by Clinton Lewis)

President Gary Ransdell reminded faculty and staff Friday morning that while WKU must continue to adapt and change to achieve a lasting transformation, “our traditions have remained constant, our ideals have remained strong and our commitment to students continues to drive us.”

Dr. Ransdell said he remains convinced that “our best days are ahead as a university.”

“With all of our challenges, I have never been more motivated or more inspired to begin a new academic year than I am today,” he said at WKU’s Opening Convocation in Van Meter Hall. “I look forward to getting this year under way and will work every day to ensure that we have a place where students dream big and where we help make those dreams come true.”

A renewed focus to approach academic and student life with a service mentality at all WKU campuses is important as the University meets enrollment, retention and graduation challenges, he said.

“Each and every one of you is a valued member of the WKU family,” Dr. Ransdell told faculty and staff, “and each of our students is equally important. Let’s all dedicate ourselves to doing everything we can to ensure that students persist and graduate in a reasonable period of time.”

Dr. Ransdell, who is completing his 17th year as president, said WKU is achieving its vision of becoming “A Leading American University with International Reach.”

Successes and signs of progress in the past year include:

  • Growing academic quality of incoming students; the average ACT score of the Class of 2018 is 23.39, up from 22.7 last year, which placed WKU students above the 71st percentile nationally.
  • A record 42 students earned recognition in national scholarship competitions with more than 50 awards valued at more than $1 million.
  • Continued national recognition for the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky, WKU forensics team, Engineering, School of Journalism & Broadcasting, Student Publications and WKU Public Broadcasting.
  • A record 642 students participated in study abroad programs.
  • Growth in international enrollment to more than 1,100 students.
  • Growth in programs offered by the Confucius Institute at WKU.
  • Continued sustainability efforts, including recognition again in the Princeton Review’s annual edition of America’s Green Colleges, U.S. Green Building Council’s list of 332 Green Colleges and as a Tree Campus USA.

“We must be the producers of talent, ideals, and innovation, and we should take pride in what our students achieve and how our campus and our community are enhanced by what we do,” Dr. Ransdell said. “Prospective employers seek a community with an educated, skilled, productive workforce and a high quality of life. That is the difference we make for Bowling Green and Warren County, and also for Owensboro, Elizabethtown and Glasgow.

“My message this morning has been about change and adaption. Let’s seek new ways of organizing and structuring and learning. Continuous innovation means that we are constantly changing, evolving and growing. Let’s make WKU into the greatest possible asset we can be for our students, for our region, for our alumni and for ourselves.”

For more on the President’s Opening Convocation, visit http://www.wku.edu/convocation/

Contact: Public Affairs, (270) 745-4295.

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