Campus News

UK Board of Trustees Shares its Support for President Capilouto

LEXINGTON Ky. (Dec. 14, 2021) — University of Kentucky Board of Trustees Chair Robert Vance sent the following message to campus on changes implemented to support President Eli Capilouto's continued tenure leading the university. 


Campus Community,

Today, the Board of Trustees met for the last time this calendar year. Please know how proud we are of this institution and all of you, who make so much progress possible, even amid what are still challenging times. We want to thank you and wish you a holiday break of rest and renewal, with time for family and loved ones. 

I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on important actions the Board took this afternoon. The Board voted to modify President Capilouto’s contract to send a signal that we are strongly behind this leader and his vision for UK and Kentucky. We want to continue his tenure for as long as possible. 

  • In short, the Board voted to increase the president’s base pay about $200,000 to $1,035,646. That number represents publicly available data for the average of the two highest paid SEC public university presidents, plus 10 percent. It is the first time we have substantively adjusted his base pay in about six years, the last time we embarked upon a strategic plan for UK. 
  • Further, we have added retention payments on an annual basis to the contract and modified the agreement so that there is always a minimum of three years remaining on his term. 
  • Finally, at such time as Dr. Capilouto steps down as president, he will remain employed for an additional two years to continue work on behalf of UK at the discretion of the Board.

Dr. Capilouto is the second-longest serving SEC president. This university is, in many ways, more expansive and complex than most — a $5.1 billion institution with a broad array of undergraduate, professional and graduate programs, as well as a large academic medical center on our campus.

Our complexity and our mission, and the success we’ve had over the last 10 years as a campus, have reinforced for our Board that continuity and stability are important. Because of the efforts of so many on this campus, led by President Capilouto, UK has reached:

  • Record levels of retention and graduation rates and a record enrollment of nearly 32,000 students.
  • A focus on access and affordability, as evidenced by tuition rates below the level of inflation over the last four years and a nationally regarded initiative to target the unmet financial need of students and families, particularly Kentuckians. 
  • A historic high in research — nearly $470 million last year — that is making Kentucky healthier and stronger through discoveries and care in areas such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, energy and, most recently, historic inequities in issues of race.
  • Nearly $3 billion of investment in infrastructure across the campus — much of it paid for through philanthropy and partnerships — to reshape our classrooms, research facilities, living spaces, learning spaces and athletics venues.
  • A hospital system with nationally ranked programs that is expanding to address the health care needs of Kentucky.
  • A renewed and emboldened commitment to a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming campus that reflects the world our students will enter and in which they will compete.

UK is on an undeniable trajectory of progress as an indispensable institution in advancing this state. We have a leader, committed to moving UK forward, with the vision and proven capacity to work with you to make our ambitious goals a reality. And the last two years have underscored, in my judgment and that of our Board members, that this place has remarkably navigated through a once-in-a-century global pandemic.

While still facing challenges and uncertainty associated with this virus, we believe we are positioned as an institution to thrive, and we need to do so. That is why we are making these moves, at this moment, as an expression of support in our leadership and as a signal that we intend to continue moving forward for Kentucky.

Thank you for all you do to help make that progress possible.

Robert Vance


UK Board of Trustees