Campus News

UK announces CivicLex as 2023-24 Cornerstone Community Innovation Partner

The Cornerstone Digital Media Wall.
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 21, 2023) — The University of Kentucky unveiled its new Cornerstone Community Innovation Partner (CIP) for the upcoming 2023-24 academic year. This year’s partner is CivicLex, who will have an ongoing presence at The Cornerstone to increase community engagement with students, staff and faculty.

This 12-month long partnership is intended to help foster The Cornerstone’s vision of innovation and entrepreneurship through building connection between the community and the university.

“Strategically located at the intersection of UK’s campus with downtown, The Cornerstone was built to encourage vibrant interaction between students, faculty, staff and the broader Lexington community," said Melody Flowers, UK assistant vice president for economic development & real estate. "The CIP program is an intentional approach to community-driven social innovation that guarantees the university's resources are highly accessible to the community, fostering a stronger sense of collaboration and mutual benefit.”

CivicLex works to improve the civic health of Fayette County, Kentucky. They help residents understand local government, provide local government assistance to connect with residents, and work to build a community in which everyone can meaningfully participate in the decisions that shape where they live.

The organization will work with the university to create a physical home for civic education, civic technology, and community-building programming inside The Cornerstone. The space will be used to host workshops, community events and educational data installations.

The Cornerstone building serves as the gateway to an emerging innovation district that will further connect the university with the city of Lexington. It is designed to foster a wide range of idea sharing, event hosting and programmatic opportunities around the concepts of innovation, creativity, technology, entrepreneurship and equitable economic development.

Over the course of the last five years, CivicLex has dedicated itself to cultivating meaningful relationships aimed at engaging Lexington residents in local governance and various civic establishments. Partnering with UK, The Cornerstone space presents an excellent opportunity for students to connect with Lexington's community members and decision-makers. This connection adds depth to their education and encourages them to see Lexington as a vibrant place for their personal and professional growth.

“The Community Innovation Partnership is the perfect opportunity to help students connect with Lexington community members and decision-makers, to provide nuance and texture to their education, and ultimately encourage them to see Lexington as a vibrant, viable context for them to continue their personal and professional development,” said Megan Gulla, director of programs. 

For more information about community programming at The Cornerstone, please contact Ashley Castorena 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.