Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us today.
A few years ago, we revived a wonderful UI campus tradition during Welcome Week—inviting our entire incoming student body to a UI-wide convocation ceremony on the Pentacrest lawn. Beneath the golden dome of this historic building, which symbolizes the UI’s proud history, the future gathers—thousands of eager, hopeful, and determined young students who, with our help, will be leaders in the 21st century.
In an increasingly complex and globalized world, the leadership that our students must learn and practice in the 21st century is quite different from when I and many of you went to college. Today, experience is just as important as instruction. Whether it’s through active learning, service learning, entrepreneurial training, or internships, our students must leave the university not just well-informed but also practiced. Today, adaptability has never been more crucial. Our students must be adept at responding to—and leading—the swift technological and cultural changes that are so much part of our everyday professional and community lives. Today, that change happens so quickly because innovation is accelerating as well. Our students must leave the UI with the skills to create and innovate if they are to lead our society into the brightest of futures.
Our students are learning these skills each day. Our faculty and staff are practicing and teaching these skills each day. And our state and society expect these skills of our university community and our graduates. That is why today, we must become a more adaptable, international, interdisciplinary, solutions-focused university built on 165 years of excellence and innovation. That is why today, to create a university that is grounded in history and ready for the future, we must turn to the power of transformational philanthropy. Philanthropy is about partnership—and in the 21st century, our private supporters are crucial partners in the public mission of our great university.
With the challenges we face today and the great opportunities that lie before us, we are announcing the largest fundraising campaign in UI and state history. For Iowa. Forever More: The Campaign for the University of Iowa not only will benefit generations of UI students and faculty, but also people throughout the state.
Let me briefly outline the three goals of the campaign: First is educating our students—the leaders of tomorrow—to thrive in a complex, global society. Our next goal is ensuring a healthier and more sustainable world through discoveries in medicine, allied health fields, and environmental science. And our final goal is enriching commerce, culture, and communities for Iowans through creative entrepreneurship in business, the arts and humanities, social sciences, and civic literacy and engagement. Lynette Marshall will be sharing a few more details about these campaign priorities with you shortly.
Our goal is ambitious—we aspire to raise $1.7 billion. And I am very pleased to announce today that we are well on our way toward that goal. Thanks to generous alumni and friends, we have already raised $1.025 billion for this historic comprehensive campaign.
Let me close by saying how honored and excited I am to join the our faculty, staff, and students; the UI Foundation and UI Alumni Association; and our many friends and supporters in launching this historic effort on behalf of the University of Iowa and the people of the state of Iowa.