‘Healthier, wealthier, wiser Kentucky.’ The changing landscape of UK


Abbey Cutrer

The class of 2026 fills the student section at Big Blue U on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Abbey Cutrer | Kentucky Kernel

Hannah Stanley, News Editor

As the fall 2022 school year begins, UK is challenged with welcoming a historical first year class of more than 6,000 students while juggling COVID, monkeypox and internal renovations.

In order to keep students, faculty and staff safe, UK has set plans to tackle public health emergencies, President Eli Capilouto said recently in a campus-wide email.

Precautions such as vaccinations, avoiding skin-to-skin contact, washing hands and isolation from those infected can reduce the spread, Capilouto said. Further information and precautions on monkeypox and COVID can be found on UK’s website.

A mask-optional policy will remain in place, as will the use of plexiglass, with the exclusion of UK HealthCare facilities which retain a mask mandate.

In addition to physically taking care of students, UK will be working on financially supporting graduate students in that tuition and scholarships will now cover all mandatory fees as well.

With a goal to build a more competitive and supportive program for graduate students, a plan to establish a minimum graduate stipend beginning the 2024 fiscal year will be included as well, according to Capilouto.

Infrastructure growth takes the form of the Chemistry-Physics Building as completion of two phased upgrades draws near. The first phase of development began with a $33 million budget followed by another $26 million, according to the UKNow website.

In an interview, Capilouto told the Kernel Wednesday that there is an investment of a few hundred million dollars being put towards a new health education building, to which UK will be adding another few hundred million dollars towards its production.

“Kentucky, as many states around the country, is experiencing a significant healthcare worker shortage,” Capilouto said. “That project is going to allow us to build space to educate people from the disciplines within medicine, health sciences, public health and nursing.”

Additional changes took place across campus with the removal of all Common Grounds Coffee House sites. The Jewell Hall venue was replaced by B’Juiced, a smoothie and açaí bowl bar, and the Rosenberg College of Law’s location with Pj’s Coffee.

Pj’s Coffee also took over the one-year-old Great Bagel venue in the Gatton College of Business and Economics.

For Capilouto, the future of the University of Kentucky is to do the best possible to serve the state whose name the university bears.

“We like to say, our responsibility is to advance Kentucky and when we do so, there will be a healthier, wealthier, wiser Kentucky,” he said.