Building A Bright Future
Our transformation is not yet complete. To finish all that is planned in our physical transformation will require a significant commitment of funds from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. A new home for the Gordon Ford College of Business is planned, but we must first complete the renovation of Thompson Complex. Academically we must continue to build our curricula to meet the workforce needs for Kentucky’s long-term economic stability, and we must provide the healthcare workers needed to care for an aging nation. We must also increase our efforts to develop and commercialize new technology and grow the number of high-tech jobs in Kentucky.
Fifteen years ago Kentucky challenged its universities to think bigger, to be better, to strive for quality, and to increase the number of bachelor and master’s degree holders in Kentucky. We must do even more in the next 15 years.
Quantity, Quality, and Relevance. Those are the three things that Kentucky needs that we at WKU are focused on achieving. Quantity: our enrollment has grown significantly and our graduation rates have improved. We are doubling our efforts to recruit, retain, and graduate more students. From a quality perspective our Honors College is nearing the planned total enrollment of 1,200, and in the coming years we are committed to fully funding the faculty needed to make it a standalone, degree granting college. The sky is the limit for the Gatton Academy, but we must look to the state to support the expansion that will allow more of Kentucky’s best and brightest high school students to take advantage of the nation’s number one high school. And in terms of relevancy, the students who earn a degree from WKU must be engaged in their communities, knowledgeable and experienced in their field of study and in global affairs, and they must leave us as skilled leaders who are confident in their abilities. Our international efforts are still in the infancy stage at WKU, and we are going about the business of increasing the number of students studying and working abroad. And we will expand the languages we teach to include other critical cultures in the world, such as Arabic and Swahili.
The last 15 years have been exciting for me personally. So many faculty, staff, alumni,
friends, and communities have been a part of the transformation to this point. More
is planned. The future is bright for WKU!
— President Gary A. Ransdell
“We were looking for someone who would set the standard. He was engaging. He had great goals for WKU and strategies to make it happen. Gary’s vision was greater than ours. I can’t speak for other board members, but I don’t think we saw what was coming. We hoped, but we didn’t know. We got far more good things than we could ever have imagined. “And Julie, wow, what a first lady. They are the package.”
— Lois Gray, Regent (1997–2009)