"Energizing Kentucky," the brainchild of Berea College President Larry D. Shinn, Centre College President John A. Roush, University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. and University of Louisville President James Ramsey, encourages Kentucky to focus on a coherent and integrated energy policy and will assist this policy formation by bringing together state and national energy experts to discuss the economic, educational and environmental opportunities and challenges presented by the world's current energy situation.
In the rotunda of Kentucky's capitol in Frankfort, the four presidents today announced the "Energizing Kentucky" series of three conferences. In a joint vision statement for the series, they said:
"We believe higher education has an important role to play in the work ahead: framing issues, seeking solutions, providing basic and applied research and educating the next generation.
"We know that this work requires a partnership across the Commonwealth that includes business and public policy leaders, as well as those involved in education.
"We four presidents, representing both public and private institutions, propose a public policy discussion focused on energy for the Commonwealth of Kentucky that we call 'Energizing Kentucky.'
"The conferences in the series will address a number of related challenges in education, business and economic development and the environment."
Berea College President Larry D. Shinn said, "Energy policy in the Commonwealth and the United States is currently uncoordinated and too often the result of 'quick-fix' reactions to external circumstances like the price or availability of oil. We four presidents agree that history rewards those who anticipate significant challenges and address them thoughtfully. Therefore, we invite the Commonwealth's business, political and educational
communities to a series of conferences where all perspectives on energy production, use and conservation are welcomed and where these dynamic political, economical and environmental considerations can focus our human capacity to thrive."
Centre College President John A. Roush said, "The public and private institutions in most states are strangers who live in different universes. I am really pleased that our four Kentucky institutions have found it so easy to work together for the long-term good of the Commonwealth. It will likewise take collaboration and cooperation among the businesses, public policy leaders and educators of our state to develop a powerful and effective energy policy that will serve all Kentuckians."
University of Louisville President James Ramsey said, "Our institutions are working together to promote straight talk about energy, an issue that will continue to grow in importance to the Commonwealth and the nation. By bringing together great minds from many different vantage points, we can initiate conversations and eventually develop concrete solutions and policies that will improve our citizens' quality of life for many years to come."
"Energy is one of the top public policy issues facing the nation today," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. "Fortunately for Kentuckians, the Commonwealth and the University of Kentucky's experience as one of the nation's energy leaders places the state in a unique position to lead a national energy discussion. I hope this 'Energizing Kentucky' series will help the state to develop a long-term, sustainable energy strategy that will create new jobs for Kentuckians and increase the state's competitiveness in math and science fields."
The first "Energizing Kentucky" conference will be held June 3 and 4, 2008, at the recently renovated Henry Clay building in Louisville, and will feature keynote remarks by Sandra Meyer, president of the Kentucky and Ohio units of Duke Power, one of the nation's largest and most innovative energy companies. In addition, the three leadoff speakers include Paul Thomson, Senior Vice President, Energy Services, of E.ON U.S.; Pearse Lyons, CEO of Alltech; and James Cantrell, Manager of Marathon Petroleum Company’s Catlettsburg Refining Division. This conference's focus will be on the role of Kentucky's business community in advancing sound policies governing the production, use and conservation of energy and on finding ways to have economic and educational interests help form effective public policy.
The second "Energizing Kentucky" conference on Sept. 18 and 19, 2008, will provide a forum for energy experts to engage with state and local government policymakers to lay the groundwork for a sustainable energy policy for the 21st century. This conference's keynote remarks will be delivered by Thomas L. Friedman, author of "The World is Flat" and a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and columnist for "The New York Times."Friedman's next book, "Green is the New Red, White, and Blue," which tackles the subject of energy, will be published in August 2008 with an initial printing of 1 million hardback copies.
The final conference will focus on K-12 and postsecondary education in Kentucky in establishing a framework for a curriculum to build a knowledge base revolving around sustainability and the development of alternative energy sources. This conference, in part, will emphasize developing the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math professionals essential to pursuing new knowledge and technologies.
Business, political and educational leaders will be invited to each of the three conferences. Information about the "Energizing Kentucky" conference series is available online at www.energizingkentucky.org.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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