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Chancellor outlines 'KU of 21st century'

At the same time the United States has set a bold new course with an historic election, KU is setting its sights on a dynamic “university of the 21st century.”

At the recent Chancellors Club annual dinner, Chancellor Robert Hemenway outlined six initiatives to guide the university’s mission.


The chancellor noted KU researchers would be at the forefront of studies to understand climate change. He cited Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets researchers who are working in Greenland to understand how warming from previous eras can help understand what a future with global warming could mean.


Hemenway stressed that KU will continue to prepare its students to live and work in a competitive global economy. He cited the university’s work to internationalize its curriculum, leadership in the percentage of students who study abroad and the creation of a Global Awareness Program.


Hemenway cited Harvard University entomologist Edward O. Wilson’s comments about research diversity. “We need diversity precisely because change is constant and diversity provides the raw material we need to adapt to climate change,” he said.


The chancellor mentioned KU’s ongoing efforts to achieve National Cancer Institute designation for the KU Cancer Center. “KU will focus on drug discovery and development, educating doctors, nurses, pharmacists and health professionals,” he said, and noted Annette Bloch’s recent $20 million donation to the KU Hospital and KU’s part in national efforts to cure cancer.


“We say KU works for Kansas and we mean it. Our research brings discoveries that improve lives and grow the economy. We also are working hard to prepare more math and science teachers and more pharmacists in Kansas,” Hemenway said.


KU will be part of initiatives to engage students in nation building such as the Wounded Warriors program and continue to teach students to be good citizens.

“These are all bold goals, I know, especially during a time of economic troubles. It would be easy to give in to the desire to dig in, to ride out the economic storms and wait for brighter days before starting down this exciting path. But that’s not what KU is about. KU is about looking forward. It is about making tomorrow better than today.”

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