The Kansas Leadership Center asks Kansans to care more, engage more and risk more on behalf of their communities. Our state's history indicates we may be on the right path.

The question, as we celebrate Kansas' 150th birthday, is how do we build on our incredible history? What should we be doing to shape the next 150 years? What would a future worthy of our past look like?

We have a lot to live up to. Kansas led the way socially even before statehood.

The Kansas/Nebraska Act of 1854 allowed Kansans to seal slavery's fate here. In 1861, our state decided women should have the right to vote in school elections. And by the end of the Civil War, Kansas had suffered the highest mortality rate of any Union state. We've launched international business ventures.

So now what?

Our founders could not have imagined the Kansas we inhabit today, but I'd encourage you to explore your aspirations for the next generations. To consider what you'd like to see. To imagine greatness.

And dream big.

You'll have to if we're going to come close to living up to our state's first 150 years.

ED O'MALLEY,

Topeka

O'Malley is president/CEO of The Kansas Leadership Center.