State of the University Address 2014 - Introduction

Delivered Oct. 2 2014

Thank you for coming. My intent is to report to you on the State of the University. But before I do so I want to remind us of the extraordinary talent that exists among the members of our community. There is no better way than to showcase a small representative of that talent. I am pleased to introduce Janka Krajciova, a third year Doctor of Musical Arts student in piano performance. She comes to Nebraska from Senica, Slovakia, with stops at Northwestern Louisiana State University and Kansas State University. In April of this year she was the recipient of the Glenn Korff Distinguished artist/Scholar Award. Please help me welcome Janka Krajciova, playing “Longing” by Josef Suk.

(Janka Krajciova plays)

This is the 25th anniversary of the Lied Center, this magnificent building that has brought us innumerable moments of entertainment, enrichment, and engagement. Unfortunately, this is not one of those moments. It is my State of the University Address. I am here today, as I have been for 15 years, to express my awe of what you have accomplished, my good fortune to be here to watch while it occurred, and my disbelief that you would still want to hear what I have to say.

For the last 14 years we have focused on building a vibrant undergraduate education program and an aggressive and competitive research agenda. As a land grant university we have an overriding responsibility to serve the people of Nebraska by attracting and educating young talent and through our research by helping to create a resilient, innovative economy.

This focus has served us well. It has allowed us to simultaneously set ambitious goals for both enrollment growth and increased graduation rates because we know we are offering an affordable and engaging undergraduate experience. It has allowed us to set an ambitious goal for annual research expenditures because we have witnessed the flowering of the talent in our faculty.

This focus has landed us in the Big Ten. It has sparked support for Nebraska Innovation Campus. It has allowed us to attract National Academy Members to our faculty, including our new dean of arts and sciences, Joe Francisco. It has allowed us to attract exceptional new faculty members and an almost entirely recomposed council of academic deans, including Maria Marron, our new dean of journalism and mass communications. And it has secured us the support of our alumni and the people of Nebraska. With 1.8 million people in Nebraska, it was audacious to announce a capital campaign of $1.2 billion and remarkable to succeed in raising $1.8 billion.