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Published: Tuesday, 8/24/2004

Johnson says UT in position to gain prestige

The time is now to 'go for it,' University of Toledo President Dan Johnson says in his address. The time is now to 'go for it,' University of Toledo President Dan Johnson says in his address.

After a couple years of planning, the University of Toledo is ready to move up to a higher level of national recognition, President Dan Johnson told the campus community yesterday.

Speaking at the annual fall convocation welcoming back faculty and staff, Mr. Johnson said that the university is getting stronger, setting records, and attracting better-prepared students.

"We are in a position to move up in the many rankings of universities and programs, to elevate UT's reputation, and to achieve the recognition that is so well deserved for the quality of our faculty, the beauty of our campus, and the strength of our programs," he said.

The university has put in place a strategic plan and officials are completing a master plan for facilities. UT also has laid the foundation for a capital campaign and a major faculty hiring initiative, and a science and technology corridor to maximize the economic impact of its researchers and laboratories, Mr. Johnson said.

The time is now to "go for it" and implement these plans, he said.

"We are now faced with the question, 'Can we deliver?'" Mr. Johnson told the audience of nearly 300 people in Doermann Theatre in University Hall.

To accomplish these goals, the university will have to succeed during very difficult financial times. This year, UT had to produce a budget based on $2 million less in basic state funding and a $2.4 million hole left by an internal budgeting error.

Mr. Johnson referred only obliquely to fiscal issues during his speech. Afterwards he explained, "We've talked about it for so long in great detail. I didn't want to restate the obvious."

That is not to say, he continued, that officials are ignoring such challenges. A prioritization process to strengthen top programs and reallocate money is underway and the university continues to search for creative ways to identify new revenue sources, he said.

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