I'm Inspired By Our Students

Following our national day of recognition for our veterans, someone shared a story with me about one of our undergraduate students. I was taken aback and truly inspired by the incredible generosity and support our students provide one another.

Recently, Jennifer Davis, an undergraduate student living in Baldwin Hall, received word that her father was returning home from his year-long deployment to Afghanistan. She was thrilled, but quickly realized that she lacked the resources to travel to Delaware and welcome her father home.

Having overheard Jen’s situation, her roommate sprang into action and, with the help of her hall mates, began a quiet fundraising effort to help Jen return home to see her Dad. They knocked on doors throughout Baldwin Hall and, in one afternoon, raised the necessary funds for a roundtrip ticket so she could surprise her father when he returned stateside.

This is a heartwarming story about the caliber -- and hearts -- of students at the University of Kentucky. Not only do we have many of the best and brightest students from across Kentucky and the country, but they embody a special type of care and consideration for one another – sincerity for helping others and a deep desire to improve the world in which they live.

This is one of the exciting things about a college campus – seeing, what I believe to be, our next “greatest generation” band together in support of one another in a time of need, and often, providing support to people they’ve never met. They share an inspiring idealism about the world around them – genuinely believing we can do better and we will do a better in confronting society’s greatest challenges.

It comes as no surprise that the millennial generation – our leaders of tomorrow – are, in many ways, already leading today. More than 80 percent have participated in some form of community service and engender an unmatched entrepreneurial spirit. They do not shrink in the shadow of tough decisions; rather, they rise to the occasion and meet, with infectious resolve, that which calls them to action.

Our students are my greatest inspiration, and they are one of the wonderful pleasures that I have the fortune of experiencing in this job.