Northern Kentucky University Takes the Show on the Road

For immediate release…
Friday – Sept. 26, 2014

Northern Kentucky University is taking its vision, its programs, and its people on the road to communities across Kentucky during the 2014 #RoadToNKU Commonwealth Tour.

The tour begins Sept. 29 in Somerset, the first of eight stops through Dec. 4.

“Northern Kentucky University will celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2018 when our strategic plan, Fuel The Flame, is fully implemented,” said NKU President Geoffrey Mearns. “The #RoadtoNKU tour is providing us the opportunity to visit prospective students, parents, community leaders, and alumni from across the state to share with them that something special is happening at NKU.  It also provides us the opportunity to listen to the communities across the state to ensure that NKU is serving them.”

Something Special

Among NKU’s many distinctive strengths are academic programs such as cyber security, theater, entrepreneurship, and teacher education, and a new initiative called the Health Innovations Center.

The Health Innovations Center will integrate a portfolio of health care disciplines with psychology, social work, and many other disciplines. The university will bring together traditionally separate areas of learning into a trans-disciplinary and creative environment to address population health.  In an unprecedented effort, the university has brought together 41 external stakeholders representing businesses, health care providers, public health care organizations, foundations, and consultants.  This team is challenged with identifying the next generation of talent and applied research needed to impact Kentucky's health indicators. The facility was funded in the 2014 General Assembly Session and will open in 2017.  (

"Regional economists tell us that the fastest job growth for the foreseeable future will be in the areas of information and health care,” said Mearns.  “This is true throughout the state.  We intend to provide the best education and applied research opportunities possible at the intersection of informatics and population health disciplines.  And we will use our region to model best practices to keep citizens healthy.  This will help businesses cut costs of health care insurance, and avoid employee lost time. We can then share these ideas across Kentucky. If we want future job growth, we are going to have to get a handle on the relative health of Kentucky citizens.  We can do this together through partnerships statewide.”


The university is also home to the Kentucky Center for Mathematics, a statewide initiative to improve mathematics achievement for preschool through college students.  The center manages a cooperative that brings mathematics resources of all eight universities to the local schools.  The center has seen phenomenal success with children by training teachers to use the best tools to identify and meet the needs of every child.

As part of the university's visit to South Central Kentucky, several of these mathematics teachers will be honored with the NKU Trailblazer Award for persistence in making a difference in the mathematics skills of our children.  The university will also recognize Trailblazer Award winner Carol Sexton, a 2012 graduate of our library informatics program. Carol is the children’s librarian at the Pulaski County Library in Somerset and is using her education to build upon the tools the library has to continue the great work going on in the schools.

"The Trailblazer Award is recognition of those citizens throughout the state who are changing lives through new and innovative education programs,” Mearns said.  “With improved math skills and added library capacity, Kentucky's children will be better prepared to meet the demands of this century."

The awards will be given at the Center for Rural Development at 5:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and will include an opportunity for high school students and adults who want to return to school to complete their degree to meet with university admissions representatives.  

The university will visit the Somerset Community College as well as four high schools in the region.

About Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University is a major metropolitan university enrolling more than 15,000 associate, undergraduate, graduate, professional, and doctoral students in six colleges — the College of Arts and Sciences, the Haile/US Bank College of Business, the College of Education and Human Services, the College of Health Professions, the College of Informatics, and the Chase College of Law. NKU's innovative academic programs and unparalleled commitment to student success both in the classroom and beyond have helped the university earn the designation of one of America's Best Colleges by Forbes magazine six consecutive years.

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