Chancellor Venkat Reddy spoke about the challenges and opportunities of living in a changing world at his Oct. 6. State of the Campus address.
The annual State of the Campus address highlights successes of the past academic year and speaks to obstacles the campus may face in the future. This year, a socially-distanced live audience attended the event in Berger Hall in addition to a livestream.
Reddy opened the address by celebrating the work of UCCS students over the years to advocate for the expansion of the Multicultural Office for Student Access, Inclusiveness and Community and the LGBT+ Resource Center, which will be made possible through initial funding from the CU President’s Office. Reddy emphasized that as UCCS supports this effort to affirm diversity of identities, the university is also committed to freedom of speech and diversity of thought.
“It took years for us to secure the financial support we needed to begin the renovation. But our students never let up on their dream of a space they could call their own,” Reddy said.
“There is a lesson here for all of us. We must all remember to advocate for ourselves and our needs. Creating the world we want to live in isn’t easy, but it will never get done unless we start asking how we can get there.”
Reddy shared highlights from the past year, during which time UCCS launched the 2030 Strategic Plan that will chart the university’s path forward into the next decade. UCCS opened the state-of-the-art William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center in collaboration with Centura Health and celebrated the two-year anniversary of UCCS Downtown.
The university established new degree programs in digital, technical and human service fields to equip students with relevant skills for the region’s workforce. Record-setting research funding brought UCCS’ sponsored awards for the year to $18.3 million.
Reddy highlighted that while the university has responded nimbly to short-term challenges, it has not lost sight of its long-term goals.
“In spite of challenging circumstances, we are still looking to the future,” Reddy remarked. “Our efforts here will not go unnoticed. Our work to advance the university, and our work to positively impact humanity, are one and the same.”
In support of the university’s future growth, UCCS received more than $5 million in U.S. Economic Development Administration and donor matching funds to finish the final phase of the UCCS Cybersecurity building renovation, with an anticipated 2021 completion date. UCCS is also planning to renovate the Engineering and Applied Science building and add a 25,000 square foot annex to serve up to 1,300 additional engineering students.
Reddy celebrated funds received from the Lyda Hill Foundation, which enabled UCCS to launch the National Institute for Human Resilience just three weeks before COVID-19 hit the United States. The university will also utilize initial funding by the CU President’s Office to nearly double the size of the Multicultural Office for Student Access, Inclusiveness and Community and the LGBT+ Resource Center, and funds from the CU Foundation will expand UCCS’ mental health services for students.
Reddy also addressed challenges facing the university.
“It’s clear to us all: we are all living in a changing world,” Reddy said.
“The future of work will be different than we ever expected. We are preparing our students for changing jobs, in a changing economy, with changing expectations about how we contribute to the global workforce. At the same time, we are combating rising mental health challenges, economic and political uncertainty and a host of obstacles.”
Reddy encouraged students, faculty and staff to safeguard their physical and mental health and spoke with pride about the work of the entire campus community to step up as leaders in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have shown that even as we face challenges, we can continue to serve as a first-rate comprehensive regional research university, achieving national and local impact, and caring deeply about the success and wellbeing of our students,” Reddy said.
The State of the Campus included a live Q&A answering questions submitted by the campus community and featured videos from shared governance leaders David Weiss, president of Faculty Assembly; Alex Baker, president of Staff Association; and Aidan Meadows, president of the Student Government Association.
Reddy closed by sharing the words of the University of Colorado’s fifth president, George Norlin: “We can light the way, if we all hold a candle.”
“When the world feels dark, or your challenges insurmountable, look around you,” Reddy said. “Every member of our campus is united by our common goal – to continue onwards. To shine a candle for our future generations.”
“These tough times won’t last. And we will be stronger, and better, if we each hold out a light.”
To learn more, watch the recorded 2020 State of the Campus address.