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If you’re a fan of University of Louisville athletics you know it’s been an unbelievable year. Heck, it’s been an unbelievable month and a half!
An invitation to join the ACC; a conference championship and Sugar Bowl win for our football team; retention of our superstar football coach. And don’t forget the run to the Final Four by our men’s basketball team and 10 Big East regular season or tournament championships won earlier in the year by all our squads.
But what many of you may not realize is the incredible year UofL has had on the field has been matched or exceeded by the year we’ve had in the classrooms and research labs. It’s what I’m most proud of as I look back on 2012.
For the third straight year and 11 of the past 12, the most academically prepared freshmen class in UofL’s history arrived on campus in August.. With 56 high school valedictorians and an average ACT score of 25, we’re expecting big things out of UofL’s newest students. Once again we led the state in the number of prestigious Fulbright Scholars with eight. That makes 36 Fulbrights in the past three years - among the tops in the nation.
We are excited that our number of baccalaureate and doctoral degrees awarded continued to rise in 2012. That’s our main mission at UofL - help more Kentuckians get their college degrees. We’ve become increasingly successful as better students and better academic support services have resulted in a more students reaching graduation day.
We are also reminded of the work our faculty members are doing - work that will change lives through teaching AND research.
Our work on spinal cord injuries, heart stem cells, autism, cancer vaccines, Parkinson’s, high tech surgery techniques and other disciplines is helping, and will help, thousands of people live more healthy and productive lives.
And the new agreement between UofL, University Hospital and KentuckyOne Health will improve health care in our region while shoring up the hospital’s finances and providing more opportunities for students and faculty in our medical school.
It’s also been another banner year for the ongoing transformation of our campuses.
Phase two of the privately developed Cardinal Towne, a new North Entrance and the first new corporate building on the Shelby Campus were all completed in 2012.
We broke ground on the new Student Recreation Center 128,000 square feet of workout and athletic space that will open next school year.
You’ll also be seeing two new buildings on the Shelby Campus, expansion of the baseball stadium, completion of a 200,000 sq. ft. commercial and research building on the old Haymarket site downtown and a new soccer stadium under construction in 2013. We’re also hoping that as our economy stabilizes so will state funding, not just for UofL but for all Kentucky education.
We’ll also spend 2013 taking an objective look at our entire university, its structure, programs, research and academics to see what’s working and what’s not.
We’ve made extraordinary progress but realize we must continue to adapt to be an education, research, economic development and athletic powerhouse in the 21st Century.
2012 has been a terrific year for UofL. With your support, 2013 will be even better both on, and off, the athletic field.