In light of the impending battle between the University of Kentucky Wildcats and the University of Louisville Cardinals, social media sites are abuzz with talk about which team will prevail to ultimately play in the NCAA Championship game. Usually, I don’t even entertain these petty Facebook conversations about who is going to win the basketball game. However, a certain Facebook friend of mine, a UofL student herself, struck a nerve recently when she posted a status in which she not only predicted that the Cardinals would beat the Wildcats (I’ll believe it when I see it), but she also went on to underestimate the spirit and power of the Big Blue Nation.
I decided it is important for our student body to reflect not on the reasons why the University of Kentucky is better than the University of Louisville but to reflect more on just a few of the amazing things that our university is doing to better our community and the Commonwealth as a whole.
In 2011, grants and contracts for research at UK totaled to more than $299,110,000.
This year the Admissions Department received a record number of applications, more than 15,000, a 12 percent increase from the previous year. Not only has our university grown in size over the last several years, but UK is also attracting more talented students. The fall 2011 freshmen class had an average 3.63 GPA and average ACT score of 25.4. Now more than ever, high school students dream of becoming Wildcats and strive towards excellence in school to makes those dreams come true.
Since 2005, DanceBlue, UK’s 24-hour, student-run dance marathon, has raised more than $3.5 million for the Pediatric Oncology Unit at UK Children’s Hospital and the Markey Cancer Center. The largest philanthropy in the SEC, DanceBlue helps to better the lives of children with cancer both in our community and across Kentucky.
According to the 2011 NCAA Academic Progress Rate report, all 22 Of UK’s varsity sports passed the NCAA cutoff score, with 16 teams exceeding the national average for public universities in their sports. Not only are our athletes superior in their sports but in the classroom as well.
These examples of greatness are just a glimpse at the incredible accomplishments our students, faculty and staff have to brag about. I could spend all day going on and on but there is neither time nor space to list them all.
So fellow Wildcats, I ask that you keep it classy this weekend as you watch the game and (hopefully) enjoy a Wildcat victory. Celebrate with class and dignity and cheer louder and prouder than ever before. Remember to be safe and demonstrate respect for our fellow Wildcat fans and members of the Lexington community. Show the UofL fans that the Big Blue Nation is a force to be reckoned with. Act like a true Wildcat and prove that the University of Kentucky is No. 1 both on and off the court and that our university is indeed the best institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth. GO BIG BLUE!