Campus News

Igniting Passions: Achieving What’s Wildly Possible

Video produced by UK Marketing and Brand Strategy. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 26, 2019) — When he came here, Asare Nkansah did not know how he would fit in or what path he might take.

This summer, the College of Engineering doctoral student worked alongside others from the University of Kentucky at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. He’s helping to develop an app so other students can succeed by finding a sense of community and belonging.

His mission: help others find their community.

A generation ago, Ouita Michel spent early mornings and late nights researching books and policy papers, preparing arguments with her colleagues, as a member of UK’s national championship debate team.

Today, she owns and operates seven restaurants throughout Central Kentucky.

Her dream: bringing to the world new twists on traditional Kentucky cuisine and flavors.

April Young grew up in a rural community. As a student, she became interested in issues affecting small towns, after seeing firsthand the devastating effects of opioid and substance use.

Now, as a faculty member in the College of Public Health, she is one of the lead researchers on a nearly $90 million grant to reduce opioid deaths in 16 Kentucky counties by 40% over the next three years.

Her passion: be a force for healing.

Three different people, with different goals, backgrounds, ambitions and dreams.

At the University of Kentucky, their passions were ignited. They aspired to reach beyond what they knew or what they thought possible.

They set a path — supported and challenged by faculty, staff and students — that would transform communities and change lives.

They discovered what was wildly possible.

Those stories — and countless others like them — have informed the creation and development of UK’s new brand creative platform.

We call it “Wildly Possible.” 

It’s the idea that the University of Kentucky is a distinctive community among universities across the country. To be sure, like others, we are creating and advancing knowledge, conducting research that helps and heals, and serving a Commonwealth and world beyond our state’s borders.

But we also believe — we know — how we do those things sets us apart. This is a special community, a place where students, faculty and staff are challenged, but in an intensely supportive and compassionate environment.

That combination — a passion for place and a desire to supportively push each other ­— grows out of more than 150 years of serving Kentucky.

We are Kentucky. And, increasingly, the work we do is impacting the world.

We believe we can change the world.

After a spring and summer spent interviewing hundreds of faculty, students, staff, alumni and other university stakeholders, this new brand creative platform — Wildly Possible — debuts across campus, coinciding with the start of the fall semester.

It reflects our momentum as an institution, an inflection point in the history of UK.

We are a place in the midst of a $2.1 billion philanthropy campaign.

We have undergone more than $2.4 billion in building transformation in the last 10 years.

We are a research and health care center that has taken on the challenge of ending the scourge of deaths from drug overdoses.

We are home to 10 Rhodes Scholars, our largest first-year class ever, greater graduation rates than at any time in our history, and a commitment to eradicating financial need as an impediment to accessing an outstanding education.

At the same time, we know there is more to do; more that is possible. As we celebrate our 70th year of integration this fall, we know there are still gaps and challenges to address, fraught fault lines of race, perspective, orientation, and economic challenge.

We have much work to do. But we come to the task believing anything is possible.

You will see the brand — both our wild dreams and the tough work that still remains — in ways, large and small, simple and complex. It will be displayed in banners across the campus, stories that reflect the wildly possible work and dreams of students, faculty and staff, and videos and TV ads that tell our unique story in new and compelling ways.

Everyone in the UK community will be invited throughout the year to help us explore our brand and delve into our promise and potential as an institution that means so much, to so many, across our state and beyond.

This video is one example. It’s people from all walks of life — different backgrounds, identities, and perspectives — united in common purpose in pursuit of uncommon goals and wild aspirations.

UK brings them together. And, together, they make what’s wildly possible a reality.

This is a photo of UK students on campus.
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for,”  and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for three straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.