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Archive for Wednesday, September 10, 1997

CHANCELLOR CALLS FOR KU TO EMBRACE FUTURE

September 10, 1997

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Several ofRobert Hemenway's goals for the year 2000 are coming closer to fruition.

Standing in the newly refurbished Budig Hall, Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway said he could not think of a more appropriate place to reaffirm the university's goals for the turn of the century, and to introduce the missions for the next one.

The building, he said, combines the memories of the past (before Hoch Auditorium was struck by lightning and gutted by fire in 1991) with the promise of the future.

"Reinvented, renamed ... grounded we hope," Hemenway said to laughs from the crowd at Tuesday's faculty and staff convocation.

Since Hemenway's first appearance at the convocation in 1995, the number of National Merit Scholars enrolling each year at KU has jumped from 47 to 90, he told the assembly. He had set a goal of 100 by 2000. And the average ACT score has risen from 23.6 to 24.

Research has seen similar improvements.

Although noting that "no chancellor should claim credit" for research, Hemenway said the Kansas University campuses have exceeded $100 million in research funds, creeping closer to the chancellor's goal of $120 million by the year 2000. He implored KU faculty to stay committed to research.

During World War II and through the Atomic Age -- which began in December 1942 at the University of Chicago with the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction -- universities became the major hubs for scientific research.

"Research and education have become cause and effect," Hemenway said. "One does research to become educated."

In addition, he said, KU should continue investing scholarship funds and tuition support for its faculty and staff, and expanding the concept of traditional campus education while working to keep the campus beautiful.

Hemenway did relate two areas of concern: the recent inability both in maintaining a 5 percent per year increase in faculty salaries, and in attracting minorities and women to the campus.

"We must do a better job of recruiting minority students and minority and women faculty," Hemenway said. "We have fallen short because of the current political climate."

In the future, Hemenway said he hopes KU continues to expand its appeal in becoming the "institution of choice" for greater Kansas City.

Kansas Highway 10 and Interstate 70 are the "lifelines of opportunity -- at least when there's not construction on K-10," Hemenway joked.

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