President Geoffrey Mearns has high hopes about the future of Northern Kentucky University, and he professed them explicitly in a recent editorial he wrote for the Kentucky Enquirer.
In this article, published Jan. 18 and entitled “Officials Bolster Optimism,” Mearns described attending the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner in Lexington and listening to the speeches of elected officials. These officials included Governor Beshear, in addition to leaders of the House and Senate, both Republicans and Democrats.
According to Mearns’s column, their speeches delivered promises of taking action in addressing challenges facing public education in the state, and they emphasized the importance of officials working together to find bipartisan solutions to pressing issues. Mearns commends these state government leaders for their passion and commitment to progress, saying he was “inspired by their genuine sentiment,” and that he believes their words “were not mere political rhetoric.”
When asked to comment on why he was compelled to submit the column to the Enquirer, Mearns stated that he wrote the piece for two principal reasons.
“First, I wanted to express my appreciation for the leadership of our elected officials on an issue that affects our university and our students very directly,” he said. “Assuming that we obtain the authority to issue the bonds, we will be able to begin the renovation and expansion of the health and recreation center—which is very important to our students.”
Mearns went on to explain that his second reason involved a desire to reach out to the community. “I wanted the community to know that we all need constructive solutions to the problems that are facing our commonwealth,” he said. “The recent public commitments by our elected officials suggest that such solutions are possible.”
Kathryn Herschede, President Mearns’ executive assistant, said that she was pleased at how Mearn’s column demonstrated so much positivity. “I think it’s always good for universities when presidents practice optimism,” she said. “Also, I think he really gave some great examples of how Kentucky wins when elected leaders work together.”
Herschede explained that although this is the first piece Mearns has written for the Enquirer, it won’t be the last. Mearns is one of the publication’s “community columnists,” a diverse team of contributing writers designated by the Kentucky Enquirer to submit occasional articles on topics of their choice. Herschede said Mearns plans to write a column every month.
Some NKU students who have read Mearns’ column said that it had an inspiring impact. Paula Gernhardt, a junior, said that she found the university president’s outlook refreshing. “This seems to be one of the first times I’ve seen such positive thoughts being expressed about our school’s future,” she said. “I’m excited that we have such a hopeful and optimistic attitude leading us to better places.”