Dare to be great.
When the University of Louisville adopted that simple motto in the winter of 2000, it challenged itself and its community to strive for excellence. It also sent a message to the nation that Kentucky's metropolitan research university is on the verge of greatness.
One of the nation's oldest metropolitan universities, U of L has a longstanding reputation in areas such as business, law, engineering and medicine. The university is building on that reputation, establishing itself as a national leader in areas ranging from the humanities to entrepreneurship, from logistics and distribution to music composition, from social work to nursing and dentistry.
In 1998, U of L announced the Challenge for Excellence, a program designed to raise the university to national prominence within 10 years. U of L administrators have worked closely with Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton and the legislature to increase funding in key areas. Efficiency on campus has been improved in recent years, and university funds have been refocused on high-priority programs.
The effort already has paid off through national attention on the university and through benefits to the citizens of Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana and others around the nationaand the world.
In recent years, the university was one of 147 universities to achieve the Doctoral/Research University-Extensive designation from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
U of L's transplantation research program received international acclaim after performing only the second successful hand transplant in the world.
The university also was the first in the world to implant the Abiocor artificial heart in a patient. U of L continues to work with the company and other universities on the program.
The Institute for Cellular Therapeutics is working on leading-edge immunosuppression research that soon may lead to better, less risky transplantation procedures and treatments for diseases ranging from cancer to sickle cell anemia.
U of L's entrepreneurship program is ranked among the nation's best by Success magazine.
Its logistics and distribution program works with the United Parcel Service hub and other Louisville-area businesses to improve delivery systems throughout the world.
Its college of Education and Human Development works closely with area and state schools to continue refining Kentucky's nationally acclaimed efforts to reform education in grades P-12.
Through the presentation of the $200,000 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, U of L's music school has built the world's top collection of contemporary music.
And U of L's Brandeis School of Law boasts a student body that has won several national competitions in recent years.
The university continues to upgrade its research facilities. In recent years, U of L has opened two medical research facilities and broken ground on a building for nanotechnology, microfabrication and other high-tech research. It currently is planning for a third new medical research facility to help house the dozens of nationally-renowned researchers joining its faculty.
And the university is continuing its drive for Comprehensive Cancer Center status, a designation for the top cancer research centers in the nation. It would be the only such facility in the area.
Located in the heart of Kentucky's largest city, U of L offers its students a chance to learn in a “real world” setting, interacting with the community's education, corporate and civic leaders. Through programs like the Grawemeyer Awards and U of L's McConnell Center for Political Leadership, students are exposed to many of the world's most powerful citizens, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Soviet President Mikhael Gorbachev.