Kentucky State University President Mary Evans Sias is warning the 127-year-old institution faces serious challenges, and will have to change to survive.

Located in the bosom of the commonwealth’s capital, K-State is a historically black college with a proud tradition that counts the late Urban League President Whitney Young among its alumni.

As of late K-State has seen a significant drop in enrollment as it has weathered state budget cuts and the national recession.

As Sias writes:

As we expected, in May of 2012, our graduation rate hit a low of 14 percent, down substantially from 2003. That enrollment decline resulted in a $4.8 million loss of revenue for the year.

These are the current realities for KSU but they do not represent our future. We accept the fact that access without completion is a promise broken to every student who comes to KSU to get an education.

Sias joined Noise and Notes, and talked about what her administration is doing to address those issues.

She also discussed how K-State plans to have a more active role in Louisville’s food justice movement and the mission of HBCUs has changed over the past century, and whether it’s mission is relevant in the post-Civil Rights and Obama era.