Kentucky State University president updates the campus community during the State of the University address
Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II discussed from where the University has come and how it will shift into transformational change in the future during his address at the State of the University Assembly.
President Brown highlighted the institution’s financial stability, the shift in institutional priorities and new scholarship and support initiatives, among many other topics. The winners of the President’s Awards of Excellence were also presented.
President Brown said the institution’s new mandate is to provide uncompromising operational efficiency, innovative and cutting-edge academic programs and student enrichment opportunities and excellent customer service.
The institution’s financial position is stable, President Brown said, referring to the annual audit.
In 2017, Kentucky State posted its first budget surplus since 2012, ending a four-year period of budget deficits.
The endowment balance has grown by $5.3 million since 2012, from $11.1 million to $16.5 million, President Brown stated. The endowment will allow for up to $800,000 of scholarship money for students this year, President Brown said proudly.
President Brown also referenced a comparison of universities with moderate research activity. The comparison showed Kentucky State suffers significant salary compression among its peers.
“This must be addressed and addressed immediately,” he said.
Adjustments will be made for faculty in 2019, President Brown said. In the meantime, he added, staff will receive a cost-of-living adjustment in October.
Kentucky State’s current and long-term debt has dropped from $8.6 million in 2012 to $5.1 million in 2017.
“We have the second highest credit worthiness according to Moody’s in the Commonwealth,” President Brown told the University community. “We must press conversations with facilities and the Board of Regents because we can afford it.”
The University must improve in the area of total grants and contracts, President Brown said. The number of grants and contracts awarded in 2012 resulted in $7.5 million in funding. In 2017, that number was $3.6 million.
President Brown announced the creation of the Kentucky State Professional Travel Fund (KSPTF), which is a scholarly travel award program designed to provide support to University faculty members, staff and students engaged in professional development and research activities.
The Bred2Bred scholarship and support initiative was also announced.
Students in good standing who successfully recruit and enroll a new student to Kentucky State will receive $1,000 for each newly enrolled student who verifies they came to Kentucky State due to their effort.
There is much work to be done across campus, President Brown said, but the reward will be worth it.
“An organization is a reflection of its leader,” President Brown said. “I am proud to be part of Kentucky State. I am proud of our faculty, staff and students. Kentucky State is strong and vibrant. We must continue to go onward, upward and forward.”
After the State of the University address, the President’s Awards of Excellence were announced. Sonia P. Sanders received the award for excellence in community engagement; Louie Rivers Jr. received the award for excellence in cooperative extension; Dr. Buddhi Gyawali received the award for excellence in research; Katianna L. Yates received the award for excellence in student services; Dr. Fariba Bigdeli-Jahed received the award for excellence in teaching and Donna Carter received the award for excellence in university service.