Campus News

President Selects Medical Dean as Acting Provost

Photo of Bob DiPaola sitting at a desk in an office
UK College of Medicine Dean Bob DiPaola will be acting provost at UK starting July 1. Photo by Shaun Ring.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2021) University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto on Friday announced that he has selected College of Medicine Dean Bob DiPaola to serve as acting provost.

DiPaola will begin his duties as acting provost July 1 for a one-year appointment until June 30, 2022. Capilouto has announced he will begin a national search for a permanent provost this fall.

DiPaola “is a highly regarded leader who has successfully engaged multidisciplinary groups for initiatives in research and education,” Capilouto wrote in an email to the campus Friday afternoon. “His collaborative approach and commitment to shared governance — working alongside outstanding faculty, staff and learners — has led the college to unprecedented growth and progress in recent years in many ways that have led our institution in advancing our mission.”

“The opportunity to serve the University of Kentucky in this capacity is more than an honor, it is a privilege,” DiPaola said. “Our focus on the four-part mission — education, research, care, and service — paired with our college’s model of shared governance have prepared me well for this position. I look forward to working alongside campus leadership to fulfill our responsibly as a land-grant institution.”

Current Provost David W. Blackwell announced in January that he would end his tenure as UK provost June 30 as he is pursuing a presidential appointment at another university.

DiPaola came to UK and the College of Medicine in 2016 after previously serving as director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Under his leadership the College of Medicine has significantly accelerated and grown its research agenda, developed innovative education and service programs and strengthened commitments to diversity and inclusion.

Specifically, under DiPaola’s tenure, the UK College of Medicine has:

  • Established diverse teams together in efforts such as the Alliance Research Initiative that now has more than 18 teams and 350 members across nine colleges. Through such efforts, the college has had a two-fold increase in funding from the National Institutes of Health in only three years. The college was awarded more than $202 million in grants during fiscal year 2019.
  • Led UK’s START committee, an interdisciplinary workgroup of leading clinicians and scientists who have advised UK on health and safety practices in response to COVID-19.

“The START team has been vital to our successful work,” Capilouto wrote to the campus. “His leadership of this committee will help ensure continuity, while prioritizing health and safety as we return to post-Covid operations.”

  • Led UK’s efforts to open regional medical campuses in Bowling Green and Northern Kentucky as part of a focus on addressing the physician shortage in the state.
  • Added an associate dean for diversity and inclusion, making these efforts one of the pillars of the college’s strategic plan and has worked to increase training programs around unconscious bias, hiring and workforce development and increasing recruitment and retention of diverse students and employees. Most recently, DiPaola has been serving as co-chair of the search committee for a permanent vice president for institutional diversity.

Even though Dipaola will not formally begin in this new role until July 1, Capilouto said DiPaola will soon begin meeting people across the campus so that he can hit the ground running.

“This is a special community,” Capilouto wrote to the campus. “I am gratified during a weekend that reminds us all of why we are here to be able to serve with such capable and committed people.”


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 four 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" three 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 five 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.