Campus News

University Press of Kentucky Announces New Director

Portrait of Ashley Runyon against brick wall
Logo for University Press of Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 11, 2020) — The University Press of Kentucky (UPK) welcomes Ashley Runyon as its newest director, effective March 11. A Kentucky native, Runyon has a history with UPK, including getting her start in publishing as a work study student there.

Located on the campus of the University of Kentucky, the University Press of Kentucky is a consortium press — the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth — representing all of Kentucky’s public universities, five of its private colleges and two historical societies. 

"Coming back to the University Press of Kentucky feels like coming home,” Runyon said. “Kentucky and Appalachia are a part of my heritage and publishing the voices and issues of the region is not just a job, but a passion. I'm thrilled to lead UPK into the future of publishing.”

The University Press of Kentucky has a dual mission — the publication of academic books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields and the publication of significant books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South and Appalachia.

Runyon earned her bachelor’s degree in integrated strategic communication and master’s degree in communication from UK. After working in various positions in design, marketing, and production at the Lexington Herald-Leader and Blood-Horse Publications, she returned to UPK in 2008 as a marketing manager and then senior acquisitions editor while also coordinating fundraising and development. Most recently, she directed the trade list for Indiana University Press and Red Lightning Books. 

“Ashley Runyon brings new ideas and new energy to the University Press of Kentucky,” said Larry Holloway, vice provost and provost chief of staff at UK. “I am excited about the potential she brings for leading the press into the future.”

Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are located at the Thomas D. Clark Building at the University of Kentucky.

UPK’s editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Its publications in film and military studies have earned the press a national reputation in these fields, with reviews in such media as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and NPR. Nota­ble awards for UPK titles include multiple Frederick Jackson Turner Awards (history), Weatherford Awards (Appalachian studies), and Lillian Smith Book Awards (African American studies).

The University Press of Kentucky includes Bellarmine University, Berea College, Centre College, Eastern Kentucky University, The Filson Historical Society, Georgetown College, Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, Transylvania University, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Western Kentucky University.

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.