Good day, everyone. Today is a beautiful day and a great day to be a Thorobred! I am proud every day to be a part of the Thorobred family. During my drive to campus this morning, a quote from one of my favorite poets and authors came to my mind that I would like to share with you. Maya Angelou once said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” This is a quote I try to model my life by every day.
Today, I am asking you to take those iconic words to heart. You have heard me talk a lot about how we must thrive as a campus community. Our ability to thrive is being threatened. I am deeply saddened by some current events on our campus. At a time when we should be coming together, recent events have fractured our campus community and obstructed our growth. Faculty members, administrators, and some members of the Board of Regents have felt aggrieved. We cannot build a positive culture at KSU on unfounded allegations or anything that hints of personal attacks. We must do all we can do to stop division and build a stronger community. All groups must come together and be unified for the good of KSU. As a faculty member and the leader of this institution, I respect academic freedom. As an American, I respect the right to free speech and everyone needs to feel as if they have been heard. As a community of scholars, we can make that happen without unfounded personal attacks and without squelching someone’s voice.
At this critical time in our illustrious 130-year history, I am asking for everyone in the Thorobred family to embody the values recently outlined in our Strategic Plan.
The values commitment statement spells INSPIRED.
I Integrity and Ethical Decision Making
N Nurturing and Supportive Campus Climate
S Student-Centered Philosophy and Student-Centered Processes
P Perseverance Today and Every Day
I Innovation through Creativity and Discovery
R Responsible Citizenship On and Off Campus
E Excellence in All Things – through Continuous Quality Improvement
D Distinctiveness Earned through Discipline and Diversity
When we do this, we will thrive as a University and continue on the path of “Racing Toward KSU’s Brightest Future.”
Kentucky State University is bigger than any one person. I pledge, as long as I am President of this University, to work with all of our stakeholders to accomplish our mission. My door is always open, and I look forward to working with all of you for the good of KSU.
Aaron Thompson, Ph.D.