UK Happenings

Kentucky CPE President Aaron Thompson to Deliver Lecture on Disparities in Higher Education

photo of Aaron Thompson
Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Aaron Thompson.

UPDATE FEB. 2, 2022: This event has been postponed. Once a new date is confirmed, a new announcement will be made.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 19, 2022) The University of Kentucky Department of Sociology and the UK Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program will welcome the president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), Aaron Thompson, at 2:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 3.

Thompson’s lecture, “Making Higher Education Matter to Kentucky,” will take place in the E. Britt Brockman, M.D. Senate Chamber of the Gatton Student Center. There will also be a virtual option. If you would like to join virtually, register at

Thompson will be sharing his personal experiences about the transformative power of higher education. He will also discuss his passions for closing opportunity gaps and increasing the value of higher education, and how it has influenced Kentucky’s new strategic agenda for postsecondary education.

Thompson is a first-generation college student from rural Clay County, Kentucky. He earned a master’s degree in industrial sociology from UK, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Eastern Kentucky University. He also received his doctoral degree in sociology with a focus on organizational leadership from UK. In his role as president of CPE, he works to ensure all Kentuckians have an equal opportunity to improve their lives through postsecondary education.

Claire Renzetti, professor and chair of the UK Department of Sociology, said, “the sociology department is both pleased and proud to co-host Dr. Thompson’s return to the UK campus to deliver what promises to be an enriching public lecture based on his personal experiences and his wealth of expertise in remedying educational disparities in the Commonwealth.”

There will be a special coffee hour at 10 a.m. earlier that day, featuring Thompson. It will take place at the Appalachian Center, located at 624 Maxwelton Court. There will also be a Zoom option.

Graduate students are invited to join Thompson for lunch at noon in the Sociology Conference Room, located in Patterson Office Tower Room 1545. Interested students should RSVP to Justin Conder at

More information is available at

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.