Through surveys and interviews with students, faculty, staff, graduates and others, the University of Kentucky developed something of a manifesto:
At UK, we achieve more through grit and grace. By grit we mean the drive and persistence to succeed. To be comfortable being knocked down and confident enough to get back up. By grace we mean how we support and treat one another on the path to success. Our grace is characterized by generosity toward one another, diversity without divisiveness and self-reliance without selfishness.
“I see examples of this promise each day,” says UK President Eli Capilouto. “And when we were called to respond to the opioid epidemic gripping our state and nation, we answered with our grit and grace.”
In response to federal calls for proposals, 20 UK faculty—partnering with the state—worked for 90 days to produce a 600-page plan to decrease opioid deaths in Kentucky by 40% in three years. Ultimately, Kentucky was one of four states granted an award of nearly $90 million to combat the epidemic.
“We have a responsibility to one another, so just as we have expectations of our students, they should have expectations of us,” Capilouto says. “I told our new class…that if they commit to opening their minds, closing the distances and supporting one another, we promise to provide the support and space to do so. And together, we will achieve something remarkable—what we call Wildly Possible.”