That’s what President James Ramsey told faculty, staff, students and guests Sept. 21 in his annual State of the University address.

In it, he let the audience in on some of his fears and concerns about meeting the state’s 1997 mandate to UofL to become a premier metropolitan research university. He noted that he sometimes wonders if policymakers really expect us to meet a goal that was set in … a time when the economy was better and it was recognized, clearly understood, and articulated through the public policy of the commonwealth that this journey to 2020 was the way to improve the quality of life for the people in our state?

Ramsey then shared the things that inspire him to keep going when budget cuts and other challenges make him want to say enough is enough.

In the past year, he said, those things included

  • Delivering thousands of dollars of school worth of supplies that the Staff Senate collected from a wish list of the faculty and students at J.B. Atkinson Elementary School
  • Hearing that Monica Marks, a 2009 UofL graduate, was selected as a Rhodes scholar
  • Learning that UofL had 14 Fulbright scholars for 2010
  • Watching the first person graduate through the Cardinal Covenant program

The late Woodford and Harriett Porter, for whom the College of Education and Human Development building was named earlier in the day, also inspire him. Their stories of overcoming segregation and cancer make him think: Back off from our 2020 Plan? Slow down? Settle for second best? You have to be kidding! Never! No way! Harriett and Woodford Porter would not stand for it, Ramsey said.

Everyone at UofL has sources of inspiration, he said, and he shared some of the stories faculty and staff had told him about theirs.

For the coming year, Ramsey said UofL will continue to do more than we ever thought possible as it

  • Embarks on a major capital campaign
  • Seeks NIH approval for its clinical translational grant proposal
  • Affirms its commitment to the very best in cancer care, heart care and helping people walk again
  • Continues the work of its Signature Partnership Initiative to help people in the community who have been left behind educationally and economically
  • Provides the best educational experience to its students
  • Continues to work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all citizens of the community and state.