“Now is the time” was a phrase said often by President James Ramsey during the 12th annual State of the University address on Wednesday.

Ramsey said that now is the time for the University of Louisville to act on many of its initiatives and future plans.

This includes the University of the 21st Century Initiative, which is a strategic plan that identifies excellence, promotes multidisciplinary collaboration and streamlines administrative functions. He said the University is also ready to fight for state funding.

“On the financial front, let us note today that the 2016 legislative session of the Kentucky General Assembly is a biennial budget session and represents our best opportunity for an increase in state funding in a decade,” said Ramsey, noting that state revenues are growing after years of recession and job losses.

Ramsey says within in the next year U of L will put the plan into action.

Ramsey also discussed many achievements made by the University within the past year. Some of these include being named the only “cool school” in Kentucky for sustainability efforts and becoming one of the top 25 healthiest colleges in the United States.

In the past year, U of L again improved its graduation rate, Ramsey said, and led the state in the number of Fullbright scholars and had the state’s only Truman Scholar.

U of L also exceeded set goals for the number of doctoral degrees awarded and National Science Foundation research expenditures, and the University earned a spot as one of only 52 public universities in the nation to raise more than $1 billion.

“Where U of L leads, others follow,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey also mentioned that the progress of the university has only been possible because of the students and for the university community to “maintain a singular focus on our students and our community.”

Following Ramsey, the university awarded Drew Hilliard with the Presidential Medal. Hilliard was treated for cancer at U of L’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center. His parents accepted the medal on his behalf.