Herald-Leader Editorial

Capilouto earns extra points at UK; returning bonus sends good signal

September 17, 2013 

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has been on the job since the summer of 2011.

CHARLES BERTRAM — Herald-Leader Buy Photo

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto is putting into practice the old adage about teaching through example by donating his $50,000 performance bonus to the university.

After the trustees approved the bonus that Capilouto said he would return, he explained: "There's no better place to invest than in the University of Kentucky."

We can only hope lawmakers, who have had nothing but cuts for higher education in recent budgets, pick up on the hint.

The board also gave Capilouto a 5 percent raise, based on his most recent evaluation, offered him a two-year contract extension, and heaped praise on his performance in his first two years.

Capilouto's most obvious mark on UK is a whirlwind of long overdue campus construction that he figured out how to finance without support from the state.

There have been other changes, as well. Fueled by more out-of-state undergraduates, enrollment has swelled to nearly 30,000.

The most recent fund-raising figures are 8 percent higher than the previous year. The student retention rate between freshman and sophomore years is inching upward.

And Capilouto helped crack the thick glass ceiling in UK's upper administration by hiring Christine Riordan as provost.

There's still plenty of work to do. UK has yet to exceed the national average for graduation rates, an improvement that's critical to Kentucky realizing its education goals.

And UK's graduate enrollment has declined, a troubling harbinger for a research university that's supposed to drive high-end economic development.

Capilouto has been nothing if not dynamic in his UK debut; we eagerly await the encores.

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