President Eli Capilouto

Dr. Eli Capilouto became the 12th President of the University of Kentucky July 1, 2011.

Under his leadership, Kentucky’s flagship and land grant research university has re-imagined what’s possible as the state’s most important institution for growth in education, health care and economic and social advances. In less than a decade, UK has grown from $2.7 billion to $5.1 billion in total operations, fueled by sustained and significant momentum in its missions of teaching, research, service and health care.

One example of that growth—and re-imagination of what is possible for a public university—has been a more than $2.8 billion transformation of the campus, aimed squarely at expanding UK’s education, research, service and health care missions. Specifically, through partnerships with the private sector, increased philanthropy and effective financial management, UK is self-financing the vast majority of this aggressive development.

Over the last ten years, the University has opened:

  • The $265 million Healthy Kentucky Research Building;
  • The $201 million Bill Gatton Student Center;
  • The $112 Jacobs Science Building (financed, in large part, through a $65 million partnership with UK Athletics);
  • The $65 million renovated and expanded Gatton College of Business and Economics building;
  • 20 new dining facilities;
  • 14 new residence halls, funded entirely with private equity;
  • A new $15 million home for the School of Art and Visual Studies;
  • A $126 million revitalized Kroger Field (funded solely by Athletics revenue);
  • Nearly $550 million since 2011 in the continued construction and fit-out of the new Chandler Hospital; and
  • A $56 million renovation and expansion of the J. David Rosenberg College of Law.

This re-imagination and innovation of the campus has resulted in:

  • Continued growth in students to a record level of more than 30,000 — central to our goal of fueling Kentucky’s future workforce needs;
  • Record retention and graduation rates, boosted by increases in the last five years alone of more than 5 percent;
  • Conferring more than 7,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in the last academic year, reflective of a record graduation rate;
  • A commitment to our state’s health needs, with UK HealthCare treating more than 40,000 patients and being named the No. 1 hospital system in Kentucky for five consecutive years;
  • Continued acceleration of our research efforts with growth in research and contracts to $429.2 million in FY20 — much of it focused on Kentucky’s most intractable challenges, from opioid use disorders to cancer, heart disease and our country’s energy future;
  • A historic investment of $10 million to conduct research into racial inequities and inequality in health, justice, education and society and an investment of seed money to launch the multi-disciplinary Commonwealth Institute of Black Studies;
  • Remaining in a strong financial position, reflected by a strong and stable bond rating; and
  • Negotiating a transformative partnership with the city of Lexington that will strengthen economic development, improve career prospects for our graduates and provide better pedestrian safety.

The progress on the campus is helping ensure an outstanding workforce for Kentucky, with dramatic increases in the number of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees. More than 77 percent of all UK graduates stay in Kentucky, with average earnings of more than 25 percent above the national average.

UK is Kentucky’s indispensable economic partner, with dozens of partnerships to provide research expertise to private business owners and internship opportunities for UK students; spending $5.5 billion with Kentucky companies since 2011; owning more than 600 patent assets; and employing more than 13,500 people, who pay more than $100 million in state and local taxes.

A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Capilouto previously served as provost of the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) and dean of the UAB School of Public Health -- a period of remarkable growth and transformation at one of the leading academic and health sciences institutions in the South. Dr. Capilouto holds several undergraduate and graduate degrees from schools within the University of Alabama system, a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (D.M.D.) from UAB and a Doctorate in Health Policy and Management from Harvard University. He and his wife, Dr. Mary Lynne Capilouto (D.M.D.) a former Dean of the UAB School of Dentistry, have one daughter.