LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 17, 2019) — Jim Wims, a leader and student mentor at the University of Kentucky, has been named interim director of the UK Gatton Student Center.
Wims began his new position this month, taking over for John H. Herbst who retired after over 40 years serving UK.
“Jim Wims has demonstrated a deep and committed passion for student support and success throughout his years at the University of Kentucky,” said Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric N. Monday. “He is devoted to making this campus the absolute best environment for our community, and the Gatton Student Center is central to that vision.”
Most recently, Wims served as senior assistant provost in the Office of Student and Academic Life at UK, a position he’s held since 2016. In that role, he has collaborated with the university and beyond to create a supportive and challenging environment that provides opportunities for student learning, engagement and success.
Prior to that, Wims served in a variety of key leadership positions at UK including director of Residence Life, interim director of Dining Services, assistant and associate vice president for Student Affairs and interim dean of students.
Throughout his career he has been recognized for his primary focus of serving students. His philosophy includes a pay-it-forward attitude, coupled with the notion that students always come first.
Wims subscribes to the idea that students should be challenged and supported. To this end, he has engaged students in both formal and informal settings by teaching first-year orientation and experiential courses, advising student organizations and mentoring students throughout his career. In addition, he believes strongly in giving back to the university through service, some examples include the President’s Commission on Diversity, the Work-Life Task Force, the University Sustainability Committee, the University Safety Committee, the University Commencement Committee, the Employee Benefits Committee, the Dining Service Advisory Committee and co-chair for the vice president for Student Affairs search.
Prior to his time at UK Wims held student affairs leadership positions at both Kent State University and Lincoln University of Missouri.
“I look forward to working collaboratively with the Gatton Student Center team, our students, faculty and staff, to build on past traditions of excellence,” stated Wims. “I firmly believe that the potential to have a positive impact on student success is unlimited.”
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 two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for," 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 three 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.