Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II celebrated the University’s progress during the annual State of the University Assembly.

President Brown highlighted the institution’s increased enrollment, improved financial viability and upcoming beautification initiatives, among many other topics. The winners of the President’s Awards of Excellence were also presented.

President Brown announced an enrollment of 2,171 students at the preliminary count, bringing the University closer to its height of 2,500 students in 2013.

In 2018, Kentucky State posted its second budget surplus since 2012, with a surplus of nearly $3 million.

“This is our best fiscal net position in over 10 years,” President Brown said. “We are controlling our costs and controlling our spending. Kentucky State University will not cut backwards. We will spend forward.”

The endowment balance has grown by nearly $6 million since 2012, from $11.1 million to more than $17 million, President Brown stated.

Kentucky State’s current and long-term debt has dropped from $8.6 million in 2012 to under $5 million in 2018.

“We have the second highest credit worthiness among public institutions according to Moody’s in the Commonwealth,” President Brown told the University community.

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 2018, that number was around $3.6 million.

President Brown also provided facilities reports, including why the coal smokestack was coming down.

“The state discovered it was unstable and could possibly fall if hit the wrong way,” President Brown said. “Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to take it down.”

President Brown revealed that a fountain with horses that look onward, upward and forward will be installed in the courtyard outside of the Carl M. Hill Student Center.

“People ask, ‘where does the yellow brick road (on campus) lead?” President Brown said. “In the spring, we are installing a clock tower at the end of the yellow brick road outside of the Paul G. Blazer Library.”

After the State of the University address, the President’s Awards of Excellence were announced. Sean Ross received the award for excellence in community engagement; Dr. Kristopher Grimes received the award for excellence in cooperative extension; Dr. Roger Cleveland received the award for excellence in research; Dr. Walter Malone III received the award for excellence in student services; Dr. Erin Gilliam received the award for excellence in teaching and Natalie Turner received the award for excellence in university service.