Kentucky State University celebrated the 131st Founder’s Day and the Investiture of President M. Christopher Brown II
After 158 days in office, Kentucky State University (KSU) President M. Christopher Brown II officially began his tenure during the 131st Founder’s Day and Investiture Convocation at the campus on Oct. 20.
President Brown earned early success in his tenure, with a 162 percent increase in first-year enrollment from June 1 to the beginning of the fall semester.
During his inaugural address, President Brown noted what he saw when he arrived at KSU.
“I saw that we had students proficient enough to any college of their choosing,” President Brown said. “I saw that the faculty complement was strong. I saw that fiscal stewardship was prudent and meaningfully conservative.”
He later added that with the transition in leadership, it is an ideal time for the institution to re-focus efforts on academic excellence, re-energize alumni and donor bases, and revitalize KSU’s institutional brand within the national higher education landscape.
President Brown unveiled four new initiatives to move KSU forward.
The first initiative is the creation of the M. Christopher Brown research collection.
“Today my wife, Adrienne, and I add more than $5,000 of material resources to create an impressive collection of readings that fight epistemophobia through a scholarship of praxis on organizational behavior, public policy, educational equity, social theory, and systemic theology,” President Brown said.
The second initiative is the initialization of the Green Ribbon Commission on Academic Prioritization and Budget Alignment.
“The commission will launch an evidence-based process that will result in placing academic programs at Kentucky State University into one of three categories,” President Brown said.
The three categories are: the program is a candidate for enrichment and new support; the program can be retained at a neutral or lower level of support; and the program is a candidate for elimination or consolidation with another program.
The third initiative is the renovation of the existing physical plant and the construction of new residence halls.
“In addition to repairing our aging facility and renovation in structure and function of the Blazer Library, we intend to begin converting classrooms and common spaces into dynamic 22nd-century learning environments,” President Brown said.
New housing is also on the horizon.
“I will be sharing with the Board of Regents at the December meeting a plan for building 400 new beds on campus,” President Brown said.
The final initiative President Brown highlighted is a full enhancement of campus life.
“We must and we will improve customer service for all – and we must create a living energy on campus,” President Brown said. “We know empirically that the higher graduation rates belong to students actively participating in band, choir, athletics, student clubs, and Greek life.”
At the end of his inaugural address, President Brown proclaimed that he accepted the charge to move KSU forward and choose to pursue excellence against the odds.
Delegates and guests traveled from far and wide to congratulate and celebrate the presidency of President Brown.
Dr. Crystal deGregory, director of the newly founded Atwood Institute, gave a history of the University and emphasized the odds KSU has overcome.
She concluded with a message of hope: “I give to each and every person under the sound of my voice today: forward, upward, onward, together,” she said.
Friends, family, colleagues and the the First Lady Adrienne Joyce Brown spoke about the life of President Brown leading up to his appointment as the leader of Kentucky State.
Special remarks were given by Dr. Aaron Thompson, immediate past interim president of KSU.
“I wish you tremendous success at the helm of this jewel of Kentucky,” Thompson said.
Thompson was recognized during the ceremony by President Brown for serving as an exceptional interim president.
Patricia Russell McCloud, Esq., a KSU alumna and recent inductee into the 2017 HBCU Alumni Hall of Fame, spoke on the occasion.
“We celebrate this moment with pride and joy,” she said. “We are going for the gold, setting the standard for excellence without excuse.”