Campus News

Gray appoints UK Social Work Prof to staff


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 10, 2011) −As Jim Gray prepares to lead Lexington for the next four years, he'll be taking notes from some of University of Kentucky's best.

UK social work professor Beth Mills, also the Director of Field Work for the College of Social Work, has been appointed Commissioner of Social Services.

Mills, who received both her bachelor's and master's degrees from UK, was the Director of the Lexington Senior Citizens Center, Director of Urban County Government Division of Adult Services and Interim Commissioner of Urban County Government Department of Social Services, prior to joining the College of Social Work faculty.

The popular social work professor worked in social services for more than 14 years prior to coming back to UK in 2004.

"One of the many reasons it's great to be UK's hometown is the many resources it attracts to our town, especially wonderfully talented people," Mayor Jim Gray said. "Beth was educated at UK and is now coming back to city hall after working at the University since 2004. The wide range of experience she gained there, on top of the experience she gained here, made her an outstanding candidate to lead our Department of Social Services."

"I'm going to miss UK, especially the students," said Mills, "but the press conference felt like I was going home," she said.

Mills' responsibilities with undergraduate and graduate field placement will also help in her new post. "My work at UK has really expanded my knowledge of the social service community," she said. "I was aware of the many community partners before, but I feel prepared going back with my knowledge of an expansive network of social service providers."

In addition to Gray's appointment of Mills, two UK professors will assist the mayor as a part of his transition team.

Gray announced UK Law Professor Chris Frost as chair of and UK business professor Merl Hackbart as a member of his transition committee in December.

Hackbart, who is also a member of UK's Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, was also a member of former mayor Jim Newberry's transition team four years ago.