ALEMEDA, Ca—The objective observer of our recent past would note that history is a cruel judge of over-confidence. University of Kentucky President Lee Todd, Jr. apparently has yet to receive this message.
In a stunningly overblown ritual ceremony, Todd landed in a late-model military aircraft atop the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, dismounted from the plane’s cockpit, and proclaimed that the University of Kentucky’s quest to become a Top 20 institution has been achieved.
“Mission accomplished,” Todd said, as after disrobing from his package-accentuating flight suit and assuming the podium on the carrier deck. “If you believe it, it’s not a lie,” the President added.
UK has been seeking Top 20 status since at least 2005, when President Todd announced the Top 20 Business Plan. In that ill-fated document, Todd outlined empirical measures that would chart the success of UK, the Commonwealth’s flagship land-grant institution.
“Four years ago, I made promises. I argued for more money, and I made it clear that there is a direct relationship between level of education and overall quality of life,” Todd said. “I’m happy to say that we have achieved Top 20 status.”
Skeptical observers of Todd’s antics, which some feel to be an opportunistic strategy of revising history in front of an uncritical media, also predict that his “mission accomplished” speech will continue to haunt his administration for years to come.”
“The truth is that UK has declined precipitously since Todd first began this campaign,” said Morris Scrubbs, Director of Slave Management at UK’s Graduate School. “UK is hiring fewer faculty, attracting less qualified graduate students, and admitting woefully unprepared undergraduates, who continue to flounder. I’d say we haven’t accomplished anything, except a damn mess,” he continued.
UK’s diversity statistics have declined, and scholarship budgets have been slashed to save money. Staff members and faculty haven’t received a raise in two years.”
Those aboard the Carl Vinson could not help but become enraptured in the spectacle of Todd’s gesture, which is believed to be unprecedented for a public university administrator.
“When I saw him getting out of the plane with a smile on his face, I just knew that we’d done it,” said Gavin Caudill, a senior Chemical Engineering major. “God bless the University of Kentucky. These colors, blue and white, don’t run.”
University officials did not disclose the cost of renting a US Navy carrier, a fighter pilot, and petroleum, but the ceremony is believed to have cost at least $3.2 million.
“Top 20 universities demand Top 20 expenditures,” Todd said in his speech.
Still, other members of the university community could not help but to wonder how much more time exists before the sun sets on this golden photo-opp.