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UK, U of L Presidents Say Sixth Straight Year of Budget Cuts May Lead to Drastic Measures

Kentucky’s two largest universities are facing grim futures with more budget cuts planned for the coming years. But the schools’ presidents say they can survive

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and University of Louisville President James Ramsey addressed the Senate Education Committee today.

They did not attempt to talk their way out of proposed 6.4 percent budget cuts. Instead, both men talked highly of their current programs and their ability to survive past budget cuts.

Kentucky’s universities have been cut 11 times in the last decade. And Capilouto says UK’s top priority is to protect students as much as possible.

“And that’s going to be our guidepost as we go through these tough choices and they will be tough choices,” he said.

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Education Commissioner Denies Free Trips Influenced Contract Decision, Rand Paul to Release GOP Jobs Plan, UK President Says Schools Must Modernize, Occupy Louisville Continues: Afternoon Review

  • Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says international trips paid for by an education foundation did not lead to the decision to contract with its business arm. The New York Times reported several states entered into agreements with Pearson after it gave them free trips. Holliday says there were no ethical violations.
  • Offering an alternative to President Obama and his American Jobs Act, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, John McCain of Arizona, and Rob Portman of Ohio have drafted and released a “Real American Jobs Act.”
  • University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto says the state’s economy and the proposed super-region between Louisville and Lexington relies in part on upgrades to public universities.
  • A week and a half in, the Occupy Louisville protest continues in Jefferson Square Park downtown, but the protest’s size and location change throughout the day.
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UK President Says Schools Must Modernize

The president of the University of Kentucky says the proposed super-region between Louisville and Lexington relies in part on upgrades to public universities.

The super-region would be based around manufacturing, most of it for the automotive industry. UK President Eli Capilouto says research at the universities will play a role, and that, in turn, will require more modern facilities.

“I think there are many colleges and universities across the United States that have significantly upgraded their facilities, introduced technology, have an architecture and form that support this 21st Century learning. It’s going to be essential for Kentucky to be a competitor not only in our region, but the country,” says Capilouto, who visited Louisville today to speak at the downtown Rotary and with University of Louisville President James Ramsey.

However, state support for higher education has been either stagnant or waning in most recent state budgets.

“We live in a new normal where the likelihood for significant increases in federal support and state support are dimmed because of our lagging economy. So we’ve got to look for other ways to do this,” says Capilouto.

He says that will involve finding private companies or foundations that will help finance research or education that will be mutually beneficial to the funding source and the school. He adds that it will be important to make sure the results of the partnerships are in line with academic standards.

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Capilouto urges UK to ‘challenge itself’ in first State of the University address

by Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio

UK President Eli Capilouto gave his first State of the University address this afternoon. He touted the successes of students, faculty, and staff in his speech, saying the University of Kentucky is a place of opportunity. This year’s freshman class is the most academically accomplished in the school’s history, but Capilouto says UK must continue to challenge itself.

“We have got to do more to recruit, educate, and graduate the next generation of leaders,” he said. “We must do more to prepare our students for an uncertain world.”

The president says that means going beyond teaching students about the tools and skills necessary to find a job, to the concepts and theories that make those tools possible.

Student Government President Micah Fielden also addressed the student body, urging them to get involved.

“Your four years go by very quickly, but it is never too late to make an impression upon this university, an impression that will last for generations of students to come,” Fielden said.

Fielden said he is confident in Capilouto’s leadership ability, and asked the president to fight for student interests by limiting tuition hikes and investing in new and updated campus buildings.

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Candidate for UK President Speaks With Students and Faculty

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.

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UAB Provost Preferred Candidate for UK Presidency

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.