Campus News

UK launches OneUK, an innovative holistic business engagement program for strategic partnerships

OneUK is spearheaded by a dynamic, cross-functional team representing various industry-facing units within UK who work closely with each partner to co-develop custom engagement plans.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 17, 2024) The University of Kentucky has launched OneUK, a holistic business engagement program aimed at deepening relationships with strategic industry partners. OneUK marks a significant milestone in the university's commitment to fostering long-term collaborations that drive mutual benefits and maximize impact.

The program is set to launch with an inaugural cohort committed to growing strategically with UK in the areas of talent, innovation and support. The cohort includes Appalachian Regional Health (ARH), Fischer Homes and Valvoline Global Operations.

“At the University of Kentucky, we take seriously one of the things that propels our purpose — strategic partnerships,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “It's these alliances, like OneUK, that connect deeply with our mission at UK, paving the way for workforce expansion, more research and development, and essential scholarships for students who need them. OneUK is a coordinated approach to meet the evolving needs of our Commonwealth, and we are proud to engage in this important work. This program is about us, our partners and our shared commitment to advancing Kentucky.”

OneUK is spearheaded by a dynamic, cross-functional team representing various industry-facing units within UK who work closely with each partner to co-develop custom engagement plans. These plans include shared goals, projects, success metrics, timelines and designated points of contact, fostering coordinated excellence in education, research and community engagement.

The key objectives through the initiative are as follows:

For partners:

  • Gain access to UK student and alumni talent.
  • Access impactful research outcomes that positively impact partner businesses.
  • Receive early notification and exclusive access to new industry-university shared spaces, labs and events.
  • Attain recognition for high-performing partnerships and related gifts through prestigious events.
  • Communicate business and industry needs and priorities to inform UK curriculum development.

For UK:

  • Maximize talent pipelines for UK students and alumni with OneUK partners.
  • Boost investments in student projects and collaborative research from OneUK partners.
  • Augment gifts and support from OneUK partners.
  • Expand the strategic engagement of UK departments and colleges with corporate partners.
  • Enhance internal communication, coordination and collaboration among multiple colleges and units working with OneUK partners.
  • Benefit from streamlined communication and support as OneUK partners.

The inaugural cohort is made up of businesses with strong ties to Kentucky. ARH operates in the eastern region, Valvoline Global is headquartered in Central Kentucky and Fischer Homes is based in Northern Kentucky. This diverse group spans three key industries in the Commonwealth: health care, home building and automotive. The inclusion of these companies reflects the varied economic landscape of Kentucky, showcasing their contributions to the state's growth and development in their respective sectors.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare appreciates the long history of partnerships we have shared with the University of Kentucky through the years to help build opportunities for students across the state and to help expand ARH’s workforce with exceptionally trained medical and business professionals,” said Hollie Harris, ARH President and CEO. “We are excited to be a part of such an exciting new partnership with UK as one of the first businesses to be a part of the OneUK program. Through this partnership, ARH and UK will strategically tailor programs and opportunities for those pursuing careers in healthcare and will maximize the impact we both can have on Kentucky’s workforce as well as the level of healthcare we are able to provide to the people of Central Appalachia.”

Fischer Homes is honored to be included in this strategic partnership and we applaud Dr. Capilouto and the University of Kentucky for taking this important and proactive step that coincides with our plans for growth in the Commonwealth," said Jason Finch, Northern Kentucky Division Market President at Fischer Homes. "This effort also provides a tremendous workforce development opportunity by allowing us to engage and inform UK students about the various career paths available in the homebuilding industry."

Innovation is at the heart of Valvoline Global Operations, and this new partnership with the OneUK program continues that tradition,” said Roger England, Chief R&D Officer and Vice President, Engineering, Valvoline Global. “Opportunities such as this help increase the deployment of groundbreaking, high-impact science, and we look forward to this partnership.”

The OneUK team is dedicated to applying learnings from the pilot to continuously enhance the holistic engagement experience. Plans are underway to expand the OneUK program to additional cohorts.

The OneUK team includes:

  • Landon Borders – UK Innovation Connect
  • Ashley Castorena – Economic Development Collaborative and Marketing
  • Ray Clere –  Stuckert Career Center 
  • Melody Flowers – Economic Development and Real Estate
  • Ellen Gish – Legal Counsel
  • Jessica Koenigsknecht-Talboo – Philanthropy 
  • Kim Kluemper – Business Engagement
  • Kim Sayre – UK Innovation Connect

For additional information on OneUK, visit the program’s website at

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.