Eastern Kentucky University Colonels filled the Kentucky State Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 15, as EKU hosted the annual Colonels at the Capitol event. The event allowed EKU Regents, faculty, staff and students to visit the Capitol to participate in discussions with Kentucky legislators regarding vital issues impacting the Commonwealth.
The day started in the Capitol Rotunda with a speech from Gov. Andy Beshear.
“Within the past two years, we have seen the highest budget in higher education in two decades. We are moving into a new world and a new Commonwealth,” Beshear said. “I am especially proud of EKU. Yesterday, we held an exciting event here at the Capitol to announce the new manufacturing engineering program at EKU. EKU is leading the way.”
Afterward, EKU President David McFaddin shared similar excitement for the future of EKU.
“It is a unique day to come together as an EKU community and get to share the vision we have to invest in the Commonwealth with state legislators. We recognize the importance of our legislators taking the time to meet with us and their dedication to higher education. As the School of Opportunity, we strive for innovative ways to provide a stronger future for our students and for our state,” said McFaddin.
EKU shared plans to help address the current workforce shortages throughout the Commonwealth by offering the Option 9 teacher alternative certificate program and other teacher education pathways, EKU’s renowned aviation program, award-winning nursing programs and the new manufacturing engineering program that was announced on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Legislators also heard about campus renovation projects of Alumni Coliseum and the new Veterans Memorial located in the Carloftis Garden.
Participants spent the rest of the morning in conversation with state officials including: House Speaker David Osborne, House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, Senate Floor Leader Damon Thayer, Senate Education Committee Chairman Steve West, House Education Committee Chairman James Tipton, Senator Jared Carpenter, Representative Deanna Frazier Gordon, Representative Josh Bray, Representative Bobby McCool, Representative Ken Upchurch and Representative Timmy Truett.
“Colonels at the Capitol provides a wonderful opportunity for EKU Regents, administrative officials, faculty, staff and students to spend time with key policymakers and discuss important higher education issues, as well as EKU’s strategic initiatives,” said Amy Scarborough, EKU’s chief government, community and corporate relations officer. “We are grateful to all the elected officials who took time out of their busy schedules to meet with our group in Frankfort. We will continue to engage legislators to ensure they understand EKU’s innovative programs, our dedication to student success and our commitment to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”