To the editor:
Do Kansas University and Chancellor Robert Hemenway want a new campus building for its Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center? Absolutely. It has been a KU First capital campaign priority since the outset. The Journal-World has been a staunch advocate for a modern museum and research center at KU to showcase our spectacular dinosaur skeletons, to educate the next generation of biodiversity scientists and to foster our booming research into the life of the planet.
But the Jan. 16 Journal-World editorial worries whether this goal is compromised by our recent partnership with Kansas City's Science City. Not to worry. The partnership with Science City will promote KU and the KU First goal of a new biodiversity museum on Mount Oread through exposure, advertising and impact. At Science City in Union Station, the KU museum and research center can reach approximately half a million visitors each year.
Unlike the schools and college at KU, the museum and research center do not have a "natural alumni" to reach out to for capital campaign gifts. Instead, our private support depends on friends of KU and visitors who value our national leadership in biodiversity research and education. From among the visitors to Union Station might well come the leadership gifts for a dazzling new dinosaur museum and biodiversity research center at KU. Until then, our magnificent dinosaurs at Union Station will speak for themselves -- as big-impact marketing for such gifts and as big-science advertisements that KU is Kansas City's research university.
Leonard Krishtalka, director
KU Natural History Museum