Sharing our Story in Washington, DC

US Capitol Building

We often talk about the importance of partnership at the University of Kentucky. 

More than ever before, with fierce determination and unwavering compassion, we are collaborating with those who share our vision for a brighter Kentucky future. 

This spirit—of partnership, resolve, and goodwill—is crucial to moving Kentucky forward.  

One group of partners is our federal lawmakers and national stakeholders who support and advocate for our work. 

I have the privilege of sharing with them the UK story—of describing to them the indelible mark our people make on the Commonwealth and beyond every single day. 

In early December, UK held its annual fly-in event in Washington, DC. The DC fly-in provides us with an invaluable opportunity to share our successes and ongoing work with policymakers and those responsible for decisions that affect our academic, research, service, and health care enterprises.  

UK’s delegation included 40 representatives from senior leadership, representatives from the Office of the Vice President for Research, Deans, Associate Deans of Research from various colleges, leadership from UK HealthCare, research center directors, university and federal relations, and other officials. 

The delegation spent the day engaged in conversations on national health care policy with the representatives from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

They also discussed the opioid crisis and UK’s role in addressing the epidemic. This is an issue upon which our research and health care enterprises are squarely focused. We updated the delegation regarding how UK, along with partners at the state and federal levels, is positioning itself to stem the tide of drug addiction and abuse in Kentucky and beyond our borders.

Further, the representatives discussed the current political context in our nation’s capital and the impact on higher education reform, as well as higher education’s role in addressing the complex issues of our day. A recent national study from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce demonstrated that 95 percent of jobs created in the recovery of the last 10 years went to individuals with at least some college experience.

In other words, a college education — some training and skill development past high school — has never been more important.

I appreciated the opportunity to tell that story. Our story.

That evening, we hosted the 19th annual fly-in reception for the Kentucky Congressional delegation, their staff, and other alumni on Capitol Hill. These are individuals with whom our federal relations team, researchers, and faculty work hand-in-glove on priorities and projects ranging from federal financial aid to National Cancer Institute designation, to health care policy and patent reform. 

At each step, our elected officials and their staff make time for the University because they understand the fundamental role we play in the Commonwealth and our shared future.

They recognize that we are Kentucky’s indispensable institution. 

We have a compelling story to share because of the work you do each and every day to advance the University of Kentucky. I’m honored by the privilege of sharing the important work we do—of the role we play for the people of Kentucky. 

I look forward to future opportunities for us to show the world what Kentucky can do.