Tuesday, August 5, 2014
We have a lot to be proud of at the University of Kentucky. It’s a special place — something I’m reminded of daily. Among the many things that make this place so special is the commitment of everyone —faculty and staff alike — to putting students at the center of everything we do.
Their stories move me. Their journeys, their success, their goals for the future — those stories remind us of why we are and why what we do as a university community is so important.
Consider just one such story among countless out there about our students.
Recent graduate Brittany Wise is from Frankfort, Kentucky. Brittany is a first generation student — the very first person in her family to attend college. Like many other first generation students, Brittany said she arrived on campus unsure of herself and daunted by the prospect of navigating her way through the college system.
But Brittany quickly found her home at UK within the First Scholars Program. Housed in the Office of First Generation Initiatives, the program provides a support system designed for first generation students. It connects students directly with a program coordinator and peer mentors. Those mentors provide a safe place to engage in focused programming that addresses social, emotional and financial needs.
She described the community as a second family-- a network of people who understood her unique needs and empowered her to reach her full potential.
Brittany said that knowing she had this network made all of the difference in the world: from big things like advising, to even the little things, like having someone to text for directions around Lexington.
She graduated last May and is now working in the accounting department at the state’s community and technical college system. It’s the type of job she never dreamed she would have right out of school. But Brittany now sees only possibilities where before she saw only limits.
I was so moved by Brittany's story because it highlights the importance of community on our campus. Programs housed in the Office of First Generation Initiatives, like The First Scholars Program, The Robinson Scholars Program and Student Support Services, create an environment in which these communities can take root, empowering students to succeed.
I'm very grateful to the faculty and staff in this office; and I'm so proud of students like Brittany.
You can learn more about these programs at http://www.uky.edu/1G/index.html. They are part of what make UK special and the speak to the people who make this place our state’s brightest hope for the future.
All the best,