Professional News

Smith to Lead UK Alumni Association

photo of Jill Smith
Jill Smith has been named the new director of the UK Alumni Association. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 18, 2020) Jill Holloway Smith has been named associate vice president for alumni engagement and executive director of the University of Kentucky Alumni Association.

“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to serve as the associate vice president for alumni engagement and executive director of the UK Alumni Association. As a native Kentuckian and two-time graduate of this institution, I am incredibly proud of the many positive ways the University of Kentucky impacts the Commonwealth and beyond,” said Smith.

“Throughout my career at the university, I have had a front seat to see the myriad of ways in which our administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni work together to make UK a special place. I look forward to continuing to work with our outstanding alumni and talented staff as we work to move the university forward.”

Smith, a Paducah native, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management in 2005 from the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics and a master’s degree in career and technical education from the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment in 2011.

Smith has worked at UK since her graduation in 2005. At the UK Alumni Association, she has served as chief operating officer and associate director of communications, associate director of clubs/programs, program coordinator and most recently served as the interim director since September 2019. Prior to joining the UK Alumni Association, she held roles within UK Admissions and UK Athletics.

“Jill is an experienced and talented leader,” said Mike Richey, vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement. “She will bring great energy and vision to the position, and I am confident in her leadership. The UK Alumni Association will continue its legacy of great service to our beloved institution.”

Smith is a past president of Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Kentucky, past board member of CASE District III, and past alumni relations track chairwoman of the CASE III conference. She is an advisor to the Delta Rho Chapter of Delta Delta Delta, and a member of the Tri-Delta Lexington alumnae area chapter and national organization. She is also the recipient of the 2019 Terry B. Mobley Philanthropy Award.

“I am beyond thrilled that Jill will be the next associate vice president for alumni engagement and executive director of the UK Alumni Association,” said UK Alumni Association President Taunya Phillips. “For those of us who have known and worked with Jill, there could not have been a better choice. Her dedication to UK and the alumni association, talent and skills have earned her this much deserved success.

“She is viewed on campus, and by her industry peers as a leader, and I believe that she is the right person to help lead the association as we navigate significant changes in our organization. Jill’s loyalty to the University of Kentucky and the alumni association is deep.”

Smith is also a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association, member of the Spindletop Hall Board of Directors, the UK Fellows Society, UK Women & Philanthropy, and a member of the Stonewall Elementary PTA. She serves on several committees at UK and was part of the inaugural class of the UK Women’s Executive Leadership Development Program.

Smith lives in Lexington with her husband, fellow UK graduate Ryan E. Smith ’04 AFE, and their two children.

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.