Professional News

Smith to Lead UK Alumni Association

photo of Jill Smith
Jill Smith has been named the new director of the UK Alumni Association. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 18, 2020) Jill Holloway Smith has been named associate vice president for alumni engagement and executive director of the University of Kentucky Alumni Association.

“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to serve as the associate vice president for alumni engagement and executive director of the UK Alumni Association. As a native Kentuckian and two-time graduate of this institution, I am incredibly proud of the many positive ways the University of Kentucky impacts the Commonwealth and beyond,” said Smith.

“Throughout my career at the university, I have had a front seat to see the myriad of ways in which our administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni work together to make UK a special place. I look forward to continuing to work with our outstanding alumni and talented staff as we work to move the university forward.”

Smith, a Paducah native, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management in 2005 from the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics and a master’s degree in career and technical education from the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment in 2011.

Smith has worked at UK since her graduation in 2005. At the UK Alumni Association, she has served as chief operating officer and associate director of communications, associate director of clubs/programs, program coordinator and most recently served as the interim director since September 2019. Prior to joining the UK Alumni Association, she held roles within UK Admissions and UK Athletics.

“Jill is an experienced and talented leader,” said Mike Richey, vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement. “She will bring great energy and vision to the position, and I am confident in her leadership. The UK Alumni Association will continue its legacy of great service to our beloved institution.”

Smith is a past president of Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Kentucky, past board member of CASE District III, and past alumni relations track chairwoman of the CASE III conference. She is an advisor to the Delta Rho Chapter of Delta Delta Delta, and a member of the Tri-Delta Lexington alumnae area chapter and national organization. She is also the recipient of the 2019 Terry B. Mobley Philanthropy Award.

“I am beyond thrilled that Jill will be the next associate vice president for alumni engagement and executive director of the UK Alumni Association,” said UK Alumni Association President Taunya Phillips. “For those of us who have known and worked with Jill, there could not have been a better choice. Her dedication to UK and the alumni association, talent and skills have earned her this much deserved success.

“She is viewed on campus, and by her industry peers as a leader, and I believe that she is the right person to help lead the association as we navigate significant changes in our organization. Jill’s loyalty to the University of Kentucky and the alumni association is deep.”

Smith is also a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association, member of the Spindletop Hall Board of Directors, the UK Fellows Society, UK Women & Philanthropy, and a member of the Stonewall Elementary PTA. She serves on several committees at UK and was part of the inaugural class of the UK Women’s Executive Leadership Development Program.

Smith lives in Lexington with her husband, fellow UK graduate Ryan E. Smith ’04 AFE, and their two children.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.