Kathy Johnson

Capilouto Talks to UK Community; Praised by Alabama Colleagues

Published: May 2, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 2, 2011) — Eli Capilouto, the finalist for president of the University of Kentucky, met with UK faculty, staff and students today during well attended forums on campus.  Capilouto (pronounced Kapp-uh-loot-oh') answered questions and told the groups he was gratified and honored to be considered as the 12th UK president.


An Alabama native and current provost at the University of Alabama Birmingham, Capilouto said he felt "an immediate bond" with the UK presidential search committee members during his initial interview. He noted the he is willing to uproot himself from his home state where he has lived his entire life with the exception of four years.  "Why am I coming," he asked.  "That's because I believe in you," Capilouto told a forum audience.


Capilouto, 61, has served as provost at UAB since 2005 and was dean of the UAB School of Public Health prior to that.  His wife, Dr. Mary Lynne Capilouto, retired as dean of the UAB School of Dentistry in 2005. Their colleagues in Alabama have been congratulatory of UK in this selection.


"The University of Kentucky has made an outstanding decision by selecting Dr. Eli Capilouto," said Malcolm Portera, chancellor of the University of Alabama System.   "A brilliant scholar, a highly seasoned administrator, and an innovative consensus-builder, he has precisely the right credentials to lead a public flagship university successfully in the 21st century.  I want to congratulate Eli and Mary Lynne and wish them the very best.  They will be missed."


Louis Dale, vice president for equity and diversity at UAB said, “Dr. Capilouto worked very closely with me on faculty diversity and recruitment issues.  Under his administration we developed policies and procedures for faculty recruitment designed to maximize our minority faculty yield.  He was a fair person and I hate to see him leave.  He will be hard to replace.”


David Klock, dean of the School of Business at UAB described Capilouto as an exceptional academic and first rate administrator and Mary Lynne as a special person in her own right. "Eli is an exceptional human being and part of the reason I came to UAB," Klock said.  "He is a rare individual who has both humility and exceptional competency."


Dean Linda Lucas of the School of Engineering said she will miss Dr. Capilouto.  "He is one of the most honest people I know.  We have total trust.  When I need advice, I don't hesitate to call Eli," Lucas said.  "He is hands on and will be completely involved.  He will represent the University of Kentucky well as president."


UAB Senior Vice President and Dean of Medicine Ray Watts, said  "Dr. Capilouto has been a dymanic and progressive force within administration at UAB for many years.  He is a service-oriented leader with an open door to faculty and students.  Kentucky is very fortunate to have recruited Eli and Mary Lynne.  They will be missed by UAB and the Birmingham community but we wish them our best." 


Mark Hickson, a communications professor, has worked closely with Capilouto for two years as chair elect and now chair of the UAB Faculty Senate. "I have found him to be open and easy to work with.  Sometimes we disagree but are always able to negotiate to everyone's benefit,"  Hickson said.


As Student Government Association president, Brad Watts, a junior political science and history major, has worked with Capilouto this past year. He described the UAB provost as student friendly, very approachable, caring and a good listener.  "He has been a wonderful provost," Watts said.  "Representing the students, I can say we are very excited he has this opportunity, but sad to lose an advocate and transformational leader."


Ann Florie, executive director of Leadership Birmingham, said, “I have worked with Dr. Capilouto on the Mountain Brook Board of Education, in the Downtown Kiwanis Club and Leadership Birmingham, all of which demonstrate the range of his community involvement here.  He has brought to each of these strong, thoughtful leadership along with commitment and compassion. His ability to listen to all perspectives has enabled him to bridge constituencies and reach wise decisions.  He is respected by everyone with whom he has worked.   He is the perfect connector to the broader community for any institution.”


Suzanne Austin came to UAB four months ago to serve as vice provost for student and faculty success. "It has been a privilege and an honor to work with Eli Capilouto," Austin said.  "He cares deeply about the success of students and faculty and his leadership and vision have combined to raise significantly the academic profile of UAB."

As provost at UAB, Capilouto serves as the chief academic officer for a university with 11 schools and colleges, 17,543 students and some $460 million in annual external research. During his tenure, he has helped lead the adoption of the university's strategic plan, an integrated and more transparent budgeting system and continued increases in research funding for an institution that is one of the nation's leading public medical and health sciences' campuses.


Capilouto has served in a variety of administrative positions at UAB as a dean in the School of Public Health and senior executive administrator. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama, a Doctorate of Dentistry and Master's of Public Health from UAB and a Doctorate in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard University School of Public Health.


The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees will take a final vote on Capilouto's selection as president of the university tomorrow during its regular meeting which begins at 1 p.m. in the 18th floor Board Room of the Patterson Office Tower.  The vote, which will be live streamed here on UKNow, will be taken at the end of the meeting. 


Yesterday's forums and Sunday evening's news conference after Capilouto was named the preferred candidate were streamed live courtesty of Wildcat Student TV.  To view video

of the news conference, visit UK's YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeFHsWnK62I. To view video of Monday's Faculty Forum, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNk10ocXsO4. To view video of the Staff Forum, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6d0qBH6XaQ&p=38B71E278DE683DB. To view video of the Student Forum, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8muylmuFio&p=38B71E278DE683DB .


View attachments of Capilouto's CV and bio below the photo.




MEDIA CONTACT:  Jay Blanton, (859) 699-0041; jay.blanton@uky.edu

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