The old saying is definitely true — you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

In this era, if you’ve pleased half of the people then the other half will be up in arms.

Over the weekend, the Commonwealth Journal broke the story that a new four-year university was being planned for the downtown area.

It’s true, the University of Somerset strives to move away from what has become a stereotypical college experience — one that is dominated by left-leaning educators.

The premise was the brainchild of the university’s founding president — the late Dr. Michael Hail, an unapologetic political conservative, who dealt with the problematic dilemma of not fitting in with more liberal peers throughout his career.

The idea of seeking out conservative educators and administrators for Somerset’s new higher education entity didn’t sit well with many of our left-leaning friends and neighbors.

After one visit to the University of Somerset webpage, many leapt to the conclusion that liberals would not be welcome at the private university.

That’s simply untrue.

After talking with Somerset Mayor Alan Keck and his brother, Michael Keck, who is the man spearheading the effort to make this school a reality, I can tell you with confidence that an “all-conservative faculty” is not the goal.

The goal here is balance — an exchange of ideas that will make faculty members and students from every walk of life feel welcome on campus.

The vision is for both conservatives and liberals alike to be represented — to share and debate their stances and come out of the experience with a deeper understanding of views different from their own.

I don’t see how that’s a bad thing.

And, all political concerns aside, sometimes you just have to look at the big picture.

We are all in this community together. Yes, this is a conservative town, but we have quite a few liberal-thinking folks, too.

The bottom line is, from a strictly economic standpoint, this university will be game-changing. Maybe I’m an eternal optimist, but I can foresee a complete transformation of our downtown area. How can this influx of faculty and students not be good for our business community?

And how can it not be good for our children and grandchildren? The University of Somerset will give our kids another option if their goal is to further their education.

We have made tremendous strides in the past few years with the Somerset Community College-based University Center of Southern Kentucky making four-year degrees more attainable for area students. Campbellsville University’s foray into Pulaski County has provided local high school graduates with another solid opportunity.

The University of Somerset could be our crown jewel.

Granted, we have a long way to go. There is a great deal of work to be done.

But let’s not close our minds to the prospect of a flourishing college campus in downtown Somerset before it even gets off the ground.

Quite frankly, when you consider what’s best for Somerset, for Pulaski County, for our region and, yes, for our state, there’s not much of a downside to the University of Somerset.

I wish the founding board the best of luck. And I can’t wait to see what our town will look like in just a few short years.

JEFF NEAL is the Editor of the Commonwealth Journal. Reach him at jneal@somerset-kentucky.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jnealCJ.

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