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Campus Community,

This spring, for the first time ever, more than 31,000 students were enrolled at the University of Kentucky at the start of the semester.

That preliminary count represents an increase of more than 4 percent over last spring. Put another way, we are serving, educating and preparing for lives of meaning and purpose well over 1,000 more students than we were last spring.

These powerful numbers speak to the outstanding quality and persistence of our students. But they also are undergirded by the tireless commitment and efforts of thousands of faculty and staff.

A few other numbers put this commitment into perspective:

  • In fall 2022, UK had more than 24,000 advising appointments. We can track these numbers better now through a partnership with University Advising and Information Technology Services. More than 93 percent of those scheduled appointments were completed, underscoring how engaged students are in their learning.
  • Spring retention for first-year students — the percentage who returned this spring after fall classes — is at a record 95 percent to start the semester, up nearly 1.5 percentage points over spring 2022.
  • Indeed, retention is up among most cohorts of students — students of color, first-generation students, students who live on or off campus and students who come to UK from Kentucky or outside our state.
  • The academic performance of our students is outstanding as well. For example, we know that our fall 2021 cohort of students faced unprecedented challenges in their senior year of high school. As we continue to support those students in their pursuit of a degree, the fall 2022 cohort of students largely bounced back to pre-pandemic levels based on their fall UK GPA. And when you break down their performance by who had not earned any college credit prior to arriving at UK, they are actually performing at a higher level than prior to the pandemic.

Behind these numbers are so many interventions and interactions by faculty, who go out of their way to work with students inside and outside the classroom; staff in our Disability Resource Center, which has thousands of appointments for accommodations each semester; resident advisors (RAs) who are on-call at all hours and so many others.

I recently received a note from a parent, which made the efforts of so many vivid to me. She wrote that she was concerned when her student enrolled at UK. People told her that her daughter would get lost at such a large place.

She was particularly concerned about how her daughter would fare in one particular subject, which had been a perennial struggle. But her instructor worked with her, pushed her and inspired her. She received an A in the class.

Another professor sat with her daughter after a personal loss. They shared stories of moments of concern and anxiety and how to handle them. 

A university staff member called after her daughter had been injured in an accident to make sure she was following doctor’s orders and to let the mother know that all her professors had been contacted to ensure she could make up missed work.

During a recent visit, her daughter remarked that she was missing home. “I looked at her funny and said, ‘You are home.’”

She simply said, “I meant I miss my UK home.”

That’s what you do to ensure the success of our students. You create a home. You build a foundation for them to find themselves, pursue their passions and reach their dreams. And that success for our students is, perhaps, the most important way that we, collectively, can advance Kentucky.

Thank you for all you do to make a home for our students. Thank you for all you do to advance Kentucky.

Eli Capilouto President