by Alan Lytle, Kentucky Public Radio
The University of Kentucky’s Board of Trustees has selected University of Alabama at Birmingham provost Eli Capilouto as its preferred candidate to succeed Lee Todd as the school’s 12th president.
Capilouto and his wife, Mary Lynne, were introduced at a press conference in Northern Kentucky late Sunday afternoon. Capilouto told reporters the couple paid an unscheduled visit to the campus last Tuesday.
“I walked through your athletic facilities, I spent time in your medical center area just casually talking to grateful patients. And it’s then that Mary Lynne and I realized we wanted to be a part of your family,” he said. “I also know that when I met people across campus and they came from every corner of your state, that there are lots of hope and dreams, and when I look at the data about your state, Mary Lynn and I are looking forward to traveling through every county, I learned that there are lot of dreams still deferred; dreams that haven’t been met.”
The Alabama native was asked what he thought of the school’s mandate to become a top public research university by 2020. He says a lot has happened since the legislature passed that mandate in 1997.
“Our economy is much different. We are seeing that federal funding for research may be stalled for a period of time. We are seeing demographic changes amongst our students and so forth. So I look forward to having a dialogue with the faculty, the students, and staff, and along with the Trustees, to learn what the best way to chart that future is; maintaining those high hopes and dreams.”
Capilouto will meet with the campus community at several forums on Monday. If that goes well, the Trustees are expected to formally offer him the job on Tuesday.