Todd announces state-wide tour at campus address

UK President Lee Todd kicked off the statewide See Blue Tour, a more than 15-city bus tour of the state asking Kentuckians to embrace the Top 20 Business Plan, at yesterday’s second annual State of the Campus address.

In front of a crowd gathered outside the Main Building and in the Patterson Office Tower Plaza, Todd said the tour is based on the color he hopes connects the UK community.

“Kentucky blue is much more than just a color. It is a state of mind, a sense of pride and a sense of purpose,” Todd said. “I’m encouraging all of us to see those blue characteristics we talk about.”

Todd and Student Government President Nick Phelps spoke to students, faculty and staff about the goals and accomplishments of UK.

“We have a huge campus, and our goal is to reach all ends of it,” Phelps said. “Our goal is to reach as many people as possible, and we’re going to keep our word.”

Political science senior Katie Parrott said the event was an important opportunity for exposing students to the faces of the administration.

“Students can feel that at times SG and the UK administration are inaccessible,” Parrott said. “So this a good opportunity to change that.”

While students may have been more interested in the provided food and the free “See Blue” T-shirts, Parrott said, the event was a good way to get students more involved.

“I’m not sure how focused students are on the speeches, but this is a step in getting them interested,” she said.

In his speech, Phelps also encouraged students to get involved and keep setting goals for the university.

“The state of the campus is growing in strength, but it is essential and necessary that we do not become satisfied,” Phelps said. “Our voice is only as strong as the number of students behind it, so let’s get to work.”

Todd recognized many administrators, faculty and staff for their achievements and initiatives this year, including Provost Kumble Subbaswamy and his commitment to improve the number of UK students who graduate on time.

An important factor in battling this “war on attrition,” Todd said, is creating new positions and increasing the number of faculty to better aid students.

Todd’s speech impressed some students, like Jessica Huber, a biology senior, who said she was excited about the goals Todd set for UK.

“Dr. Todd has a really good vision,” Huber said. “It’s empowering to see the university wanting to help the state as whole.”

Fran Gentry, a senior nursing student, agreed with Huber about Todd’s plans.

“It’s exciting to see this place going places and improving,” Gentry said. “They really want for kids to want to come to UK.”

Todd ended his speech by asking the crowd to close their eyes and dream.

“Imagine a Kentucky where citizens are more educated, healthier and more financially secure,” Todd said. “Imagine a UK that is solving the nation’s and world’s most complex problems.”

The event also featured a student organization fair set up outside the Main Building.

Lydia Cartright, a sociology sophomore, worked the booth for the UK Greenthumb environmental club and said the event was very successful in reaching out to students.

“A lot of people are realizing more ways to get involved on campus,” Cartright said. “It is in a really good part of campus with a lot of traffic. There were definitely not this many people here last year.”