Contact: Ralph Derickson
William H. Turner
“This is a lifetime opportunity for me to return to my Kentucky home and a Godsend to be back at UK. I am excited about what I will be doing to assist UK in its top 20 quest, to push the needles on community relations and academic outreach throughout the Commonwealth, diversity issues among students, faculty and staff; and I almost can’t wait to join the ongoing work at UK in economic development and publish service research in the Appalachian region of Kentucky.”
-- William H. Turner,
vice president for university initiatives/associate provost for multicultural affairs
Board of Trustees Budget Story
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2004) -- The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today named William H. Turner, a native of Lynch, Ky., and a graduate of the University of Kentucky, as the university’s new vice president for university initiatives/associate provost for multicultural affairs. His appointment is effective July 1.
Turner will report to UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. in regard to university initiatives. He will report to UK Provost Michael T. Nietzel for multicultural affairs.
“With his knowledge of the Appalachian culture and his skills and talents in academic administration, Dr. Turner will immeasurably enhance the university’s ability to serve the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Todd said. “I have known Bill Turner since our UK college days, and I am delighted to have him return to UK as a valued member of this administration.”
Neitzel said the new position combines three other UK posts dealing with university initiatives and multicultural affairs.
Nietzel was highly complimentary of Turner, whose fields are sociology and anthropology and who has studied and written extensively about issues affecting blacks in Appalachia. “The university administration is very fortunate to have someone of Dr. Turner’s caliber and experience join us in our efforts to take UK to top-20 academic status,” he said.
“This is a lifetime opportunity for me to return to my Kentucky home and a Godsend to be back at UK,” said Turner, who graduated from UK in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. "I am excited about what I will be doing to assist UK in its top 20 quest, to push the needles on community relations and academic outreach throughout the Commonwealth, diversity issues among students, faculty and staff; and I almost can’t wait to join the ongoing work at UK in economic development and publish service research in the Appalachian region of Kentucky.” After earning his UK degree, Turner earned a master’s degree in sociology in 1971 and a doctorate in 1974 in sociology and anthropology from Notre Dame University.
Turner served on UK’s faculty from 1979 through 1983. In addition to UK, he has taught, performed research, and held administrative posts at several colleges and universities including Fisk University, Howard University, and Winston-Salem State University.
He was Distinguished Visiting Professor of Black and Appalachian Studies at Berea College, 1988-89 and Visiting Research Professor at Brandeis University from 1990 to 1991. From 1979-1991, Turner was a research associate to Alex Haley, author of “Roots.”
For the 1983-84 academic year, he served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Kentucky State University. From January 2003 to April 2004, Turner served as interim president of Kentucky State University.
A freelance journalist/writer since 1980, Turner contributed occasionally on issues affecting blacks in Appalachia through “Appalachian Voices” in the Lexington Herald-Leader. His essays also appeared weekly from 1986 through 1996 in 10 black newspapers in North Carolina, syndicated by the North Carolina Black Media Group.
Turner’s editorial columns appeared weekly in The Journal, the daily newspaper of Winston-Salem, N.C., from 1996 through 2002. On a quarterly basis, he contributes to Urban Call, a trade magazine distributed to about 250,000 persons in the retail consumer business. He is also a member of the Trotter Group, a Harvard University-based network of black journalists.
Among his other writings are a master’s thesis “On Martin Luther King and Malcolm X: Parallels and Divergences” and his doctoral dissertation “Factors Accounting for Attitude Formation and Change Among College Students.”
His books include “Blacks in Appalachia,” co-edited with Edward Cabbell and published in 1985 by the University Press of Kentucky, “Black Colleges: Essays on Cultural Legitimacy and Economic Efficiency,” “Appalachian Heritage,” and “The Path of My Pilgrimage: The Autobiography of Marshall B. Bass.” He assisted in the production and wrote the afterward to the 2004 book, “African-American Miners and Migrants: The Eastern Kentucky Social Club,” published by the University Press of Illinois.
Turner’s wife of 35 years, Vivian, graduated with a degree in mathematics from Livingstone College, N.C., and holds a master’s degree in education from Notre Dame. She is retired from her post as president of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Foundation. The Turners make their home in Winston-Salem, N.C., have three adult children, Kisha, Jomo, and Hodari, and a three-year-old grandchild, Africa.