UK’s top academic officer leaving after less than three years in the job

UK Provost Tim Tracy announced he is leaving UK for a private sector job.
UK Provost Tim Tracy announced he is leaving UK for a private sector job. University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky’s academic chief is leaving for a private sector job, President Eli Capilouto announced Wednesday morning.

UK Provost Tim Tracy will resign on Dec. 31 to become chief executive officer of Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, a research and development company in Cincinnati.

“Our provost did not seek this opportunity,” Capilouto said in a campus-wide email. “It sought him.”

Tracy has been provost since February 2015, when he was hired to replace Christine Riordan, who left UK after 18 months. Tracy temporarily left his role as dean of the College of Pharmacy to serve as interim provost for more than a year in 2012 and 2013, before Riordan was hired. His current annual salary is $447,741.

He had embarked on several complicated and ambitious initiatives, including a complete reorganization of academic and student life departments and dramatic goals to improve retention and graduation rates.

Capilouto cited Tracy’s accomplishments, including the current strategic plan, a new need-based strategy for financial aid, and new medical school sites in Bowling Green, Morehead and Northern Kentucky.

“His impact is deep and lasting,” Capilouto said.

Capilouto said he would move quickly to decide on his next steps.

UK Board of Trustees member Angela Edwards chairs the board’s academic affairs committee and called Tracy’s upcoming departure “bittersweet.”

“Above all, he’s been committed to student success,” she said. “He and his team worked diligently to identify the ways in which a student’s success can be impeded and to address those impediments, whether it be the need for more tutoring services and academic support, mental health services, or a small monetary grant for rent or food.”

Tracy received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Ohio Northern University and a doctorate in clinical pharmacy from Purdue University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical pharmacology at Indiana University. He was a faculty member at West Virginia University and the University of Minnesota before coming to UK in 2010 as dean of the College of Pharmacy.

He holds two patents related to drug delivery systems.

“Along with being a wonderful person and a well-respected scientist within the pharmaceutical industry, Tim Tracy has been a driving force for advancing the mission and development of the University of Kentucky,” E. Thomas Arington, Aprecia’s chairman, said in a news release. “We are excited that he will apply his extensive scientific and leadership capabilities toward the growth of Aprecia, and we look forward to the positive impact he will make across the organization.”

Aprecia has developed “ZipDose” technology, designed to make medicine easier to swallow.

In a statement late Wednesday, Tracy said his time as provost had been among the most rewarding in his career.

“Quite simply, this position — which only emerged within the last couple of weeks — was one of the few opportunities that would have enticed me to leave UK,” Tracy said. “It represents the culmination of decades of professional and scholarly work in pharmacy. These questions and solutions are the types I’ve spent my career as a scholar and researcher wrestling with. The opportunity to continue that work on a larger scale was incredibly attractive, even as I will miss my work and colleagues at UK a great deal.”

Linda Blackford: 859-231-1359, @lbblackford