At the University of Kentucky, we challenge our students, faculty, staff and alumni to think and reach for what is wildly possible. Our aspirational work calls us to reach higher, achieve more and do more for those we teach, serve and heal. The question, “what is possible?” guides the creative and compassionate work of our campus community.
Increasingly, though, we find that achieving what is possible is done in partnership with those who share our vision and values.
Proof of the power of partnership is evident in physical transformation of our campus: new residence halls, dining facilities, academic and student life spaces, and modern research laboratories were made possible through partnership.
In early July, the University concluded the first phase of our digital partnership with Apple. During “see blue.” U, thousands of first-year students and their families attended orientation sessions and received an iPad Air, Apple Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil to support the campus-wide Smart initiative, designed to use technology to maximize learning and support for students.
The initiative will further integrate technology in the classroom and provide UK faculty and staff with a robust toolkit to improve student success, well-being and belonging.
Recently, I joined representatives from Beam Suntory and UK’s colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environment; Business and Economics; and Engineering for the groundbreaking of Jim Beam’s Craft Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. The celebration also provided an opportunity to highlight the partnership between these two Kentucky brands to create the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits, supported by a $5 million gift, which was accepted at the June 21st Board of Trustees meeting.
The Institute will support efforts to educate the next generation of distillers with the skills needed to succeed in the distilled spirits industry at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels.
This partnership with industry underscores our role as Kentucky’s engine for economic development—and our vision for what’s possible in our state.
We’re also asking ourselves how we can do more—and be more—for those we heal.
Two weeks ago, UK HealthCare and Lexington Surgery Center opened a new joint facility that will provide additional capacity for outpatient surgical services in Central Kentucky. The new 22,000-square-feet building has six operating rooms and two procedure rooms where more than 50 community and UK surgeons will perform about 8,000 surgeries annually.
By performing outpatient surgeries at the new site, we open additional capacity for complex subspecialty procedures at UK HealthCare and our advanced surgery centers on campus.
And, in the coming months, we will see what more is possible through the HEALing Communities initiative.
Researchers from UK's Center on Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR) and across campus—in partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet—will lead a more than $87 million study that has an ambitious but profoundly important goal: reducing opioid overdose deaths by 40 percent in 16 counties that represent more than a third of Kentucky’s population.
Across our campus and state, we can find countless examples that illustrate what is wildly possible. In partnership, we will continue to ask this question and serve as Kentucky’s indispensable institution.