Campus News

UK President Eli Capilouto: Thank you for the hope you bring to campus and to Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2022) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto sent a holiday message this week that highlights the video above, which features a spoken word piece, written and performed by Deidra White, a UK graduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences.

White, a 2022 UK graduate and Lexington native, also performed her spoken word piece “Here in Kentucky” during both UK Commencement Ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 15. The piece showcases the beauty of the state and the resilience of people who reside here. White is currently a Master of Fine Arts student at UK.

She has received the 2022 Farquhar Award for Poetry “Meihua,” the Patricia and William Stacy Endowed Fellowship for Distinguished Honors in English, the William Hugh Jansen Fiction Award in the Art of Storytelling/Folklore “Woodstock,” and is the 2023 winner of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Nonfiction Award for her contemporary piece “DUCK.” She most recently won The Broadside Poetry Contest for her poem, “When They Came."

Below is the full campus message sent the campus community this week:


Campus Community,

The momentum from this past year is palpable across our campus. 

We are educating and graduating more students than at any other time in our university’s history. 

We are making life-changing discoveries in our $476 million research and development enterprise, generating $873 million in economic activity across Kentucky.

We are breaking ground on the new Michael D. Rankin M.D. Health Education Building, which will boost our state’s healthcare workforce and ultimately help create a healthier commonwealth.

And we have been called upon by the Board of Trustees to continue this momentum to advance Kentucky by providing more graduates from across our campus who will lead lives of meaning and purpose. 

But beyond the numbers and accolades are stories – stories of our people who feel the impact of this place and who want to pay it forward. 

Deidra White, an MFA graduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences, wrote and performed a piece to help us celebrate the completion of the Kentucky Can fundraising campaign.

Please watch this video of her performance of the piece she wrote, with the support of her creative writing faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, called “Here in Kentucky.”   

Her piece tells the story of what this university, including UK’s Markey Cancer Center, means to her, her family and her community. 

It is a very personal story, but it is also reflective of what this university is all about and the impact we collectively have on our state. 

Thank you for all you do.

With gratitude,

Eli Capilouto

This is a photo of the University of Kentucky campus.
This is a photo of Deidra White (L) and UK President Eli Capilouto (R) at the Dec. 2023 Commencement.

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.