Through the education we provide, the creative research we conduct, and the care and service we render, we are the University for Kentucky—the institution our Commonwealth has charged with confronting the most profound of challenges in education, economic development, health care, and cultural and societal advance.
To serve that noble purpose — and to advance the interests of our Commonwealth, nation, and world — a "diversity of community" is central to everything we do.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “people fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
So, as we develop systems and networks of support for all members of our community who join the UK family from all walks of life, we must start with a willingness to connect—recognizing that when we understand the world around us from someone else’s experience, we begin to understand why that person feels or thinks the way he or she does. And we begin to understand how lived experiences shape perceptions and attitudes.
Different experiences – different ways of viewing life whether framed by culture, race, ethnicity, identity, gender, or perspective – enrich us and, by extension, our campus and communities.
This is an integral – sometimes quieter – part of a higher education. Exposure to new ideas and beliefs carried by different members of our community challenges us to grow intellectually and socially, preparing us for the world beyond our campus.
Open, respectful, and civil dialogue—what we call courageous conversation—holds the promise of opening up our best capacities for our full humanity. We are our better selves when we use our freedom of expression to build bridges of understanding.
A diverse and inclusive campus, where everyone feels a sense of belonging, prepares our students for that reality. And, as a practical matter, it informs and expands our capacity for teaching, research, care, and service.
I’m grateful to belong to a university family that understands we must all work together to create an environment in which everyone feels an unwavering sense of belonging. We are not there yet. Our work will never be complete. But we are resolute in our commitment to making that journey together, framed by different experiences and perspectives, but united in our resolve to be a welcoming, diverse community.
I look forward to continuing to work with you in a spirit of openness, mutual trust, and recognition of the value in all of us.
—Eli Capilouto, President