University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has selected two deans as finalists for the soon-to-be-vacant provost’s position.
Donna Arnett, dean of the College of Public Health, and David Blackwell, dean of the Gatton College of Business and Economics, will participate in public forums later this week with the campus community.
Current Provost Tim Tracy will leave at the end of the month to become CEO of a Cincinnati pharmaceutical company.
“I remain convinced an internal search is the right approach,” Capilouto said in a campus-wide email that went out Monday afternoon. “And I assure you this has been a thorough and thoughtful process, even as we must move quickly to fill the role of provost by the end of the calendar year.”
Capilouto said previously that he wanted to fill the position quickly to continue Tracy’s momentum with numerous campus initiatives. However, some faculty said they thought a national search would bring a more diverse pool under consideration. Capilouto’s inner circle is mostly white men, with two women, one of whom is black.
Blackwell also a finalist for the provost job in 2015, when Tracy got the job.
Blackwell has been a professor and financial consultant. He came to UK as dean in 2012 from Texas A&M University, where he served as a finance professor and the associate dean for graduate programs. He also worked as a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers’ financial Advisory Services practice after teaching finance at Emory University, the University of Georgia and the University of Houston.
Since coming to UK, Blackwell helped oversee a $65 million renovation of the business school and creation of the John Schnatter Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise with a $10 million gift from Schnatter, the CEO of Papa John’s Pizza and the Charles Koch Foundation. The gift generated controversy on campus because of the Koch Foundation’s stated aims at influencing public policy by establishing libertarian-leaning think tanks on college campuses, but Blackwell said he had made sure the group could not influence day-to-day operations.
Arnett is a Kentucky native who received a PhD in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to coming to UK in 2016, she was associate dean and chairwoman of epidemiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, where Capilouto served as provost before coming to UK in 2011. She is also a former president of the American Heart Association. As a researcher, Arnett studies genes related to hypertension.
Arnett will hold two forums on Dec. 7, from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. at Karpf Auditorium and from 3 to 4 p.m. at Memorial Hall. Blackwell’s forums will be on Dec. 8, from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. at Karpf Auditorium and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Kincaid Hall at Gatton.
UK employees can provide input on the candidates at http://www.uky.edu/president/provostsearch.