As I walked a frozen campus last week, I heard vignettes and saw dozens of snapshots that, pieced together, reflect a compelling picture of who we are at UK:
A family arrives on campus for a scheduled tour that has been canceled. One of our physical plant employees sees them, and takes them to the top of Patterson Office Tower to give them a panoramic tour of “my University of Kentucky.”
Dozens of nurses and support staff spend the night at the hospital or nearby hotels to ensure that vital delivery of care continues uninterrupted.
Police and facilities crews work 12-hour shifts, at all hours of the night and throughout the day, to keep campus safe, sidewalks clear and roads navigable.
Dining and housing officials clear sidewalks, and brave horrible conditions, to keep facilities open so that students and others have options while much of our campus and community are shut down.
They are the stories of individuals doing their jobs, seemingly small, random moments, connected together by the fact that they all are part of this special community.
This week, we begin the commemoration of UK’s 150th anniversary. Special events, university-wide gatherings and celebrations all will help us mark 150 years of our enduring covenant with Kentucky — to educate, to probe for answers to the most insoluble of problems, and to serve and heal in every corner of our state.
These are big moments in the life of an institution that point to the indispensable mission we have as the University for Kentucky. And they are moments of renewal and reflection — the crossroads where the best universities are always poised. We look back so that they always can be best positioned to move forward.
But those small moments — the details of what we do each day for and with each other — say a lot about us as well. They, too, should cause us to reflect and, ultimately, be a source of renewal.
These moments affirm and remind us that we are a community.