by Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio
University of Kentucky faculty, staff and students had a number of questions today for the man who may be the school’s next president.
Eli Capilouto is the provost of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He visited UK today as the board of trustees’ preferred candidate to replace retiring President Lee Todd.
Professor Dr. Steven Yates was glad to hear that top finalist had secretly toured campus last week, but says that if Capilouto had walked through the chemistry building, he would have seen buckets catching rain from a leaky roof.
“We reside in a building that’s more than 45 years old and by scientific standards our laboratories are just antiques in many cases,” he said. “We really need new construction on campus to accommodate the wave of students we’re getting in the STEM disciplines. So I was basically asking a question that doesn’t have an easy solution, but it’s one that has to be asked continually.”
Part-time ancient languages instructor Amy Clark asked how the candidate values smaller academic departments such as hers.
“I think too often we lose sight of the students and what they wish to learn,” she said. “And I think there’s a special problem in times of economic constraint where the bigger numbers get the greater attention. The number of people who want to learn Greek and Hebrew may be very small, but I don’t think they’re any the less important for it.”
Capilouto, who has a public health background, said the liberal arts are an important part of the university system. In addition to meeting with students, faculty, and staff, Capilouto spoke with alumni, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Governor Steve Beshear. The Board of Trustees will consider the feedback from those meetings before voting on whether to extend a formal job offer tomorrow afternoon.