On March 3, the Kentucky Senate overwhelmingly approved a proposal for $132.5 million in state funding for a multi-disciplinary research facility at the University of Kentucky. We have committed to matching that funding through the research awards you generate as well as private fund-raising efforts. The proposal now goes to the Governor, who has been unwavering in his support throughout this process and already has indicated his support.
Over the last several weeks, I have been gratified by the strong support we have received from party leaders and rank-and-file members of both chambers and both parties. This is a clear and resounding endorsement of this institution and of you. This facility — envisioned by our Board of Trustees at their October 2014 Retreat — will bring together researchers and others across our campus, from a host of disciplines, working side-by-side on the issues that most challenge our state. In particular, we will focus together on dangerously stubborn health disparities — the hundreds of preventable deaths that occur each year from diseases such as stroke, diabetes and cancer.
For too long, Kentucky has had incidence rates of these diseases far in excess of the national average and in some cases we lead the nation. It is time to make death a beggar in our Commonwealth. The vision of our legislators — and of so many on our campus — is that collectively, working in partnership with communities, we can change those dismal numbers. Together, we can change our state.
Our policy-makers’ vision is based on their faith in you. They understand what I see every day — talent, intellect, commitment and compassion among so many faculty, researchers, clinicians, staff, and students across an array of disciplines.
Today, we celebrate the support we are being provided and the vote of confidence it represents. Tomorrow, with your help and leadership, we will continue the work that inspired this support — the idea that for 150 years we have been the university for Kentucky.
Thank you for all you do to make that vision and those dreams of education, research, serving and healing a reality every day.