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UK Board of Trustees names new health education building, discusses university financial reports

Travis Fannon
University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto walks to the Podium during the Board of Trustees Meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Travis Fannon | Staff

The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approved the official name of the new health education building as the Michael D. Rankin M.D. Health Education Building at a Dec. 5 meeting.

Dr. Rankin attended the meeting and was applauded for his success with UK Medicine and his support for the construction and scholarships for the College of Medicine. 

“Dr. Rankin has made a significant impact upon the College of Medicine, both through his philanthropy and through his service to the college in so many ways,” UK president Eli Capilouto said. “Including this gift, his total giving to the university stage is $23.5 million. And we are so grateful that he’s here with us today.” 

Capilouto also discussed the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ (SACS-COC) decennial visit to UK in March of this year, where they assessed the campus for reaffirmation and maintaining federal financial aid eligibility.

Earlier this week, the university received an official report from SACS-COC that the affirmation was approved by the accreditors, according to Capilouto. 

“When the review team, composed of several longtime educators visited us (UK) in March, several made the point that a recurring theme that they heard throughout this campus was our commitment to advancing Kentucky,” Capilouto said. 

Capilouto said that the university had been positively noted by a SACS-COC review team member and that they noticed UK’s commitment to being focused on educating and advancing its students.

“That focus, that unyielding sense of commitment is part of what makes our community so so special,” Capilouto said. 

Penny Cox, the university treasurer, also provided a brief overview of the follow-up examining the workgroups and researching how UK can be more responsive in supporting a well-rounded education while developing within the 21st century economy. 

“Our group has had quite a bit of discussion about the importance of being nimble, the importance of accelerating our contributions to the state,” Cox said. “So that is to review the policies, procedures and financing strategies to ensure the institution is aligned with the state’s needs.”

The next step at the February meeting is to provide an update on that process and where the workgroups stand, according to Cox. 

The meeting moved into committee reports, with a report from the investment committee represented by Trustee Elizabeth McCoy. 

The committee had met earlier Tuesday to discuss and review performance results. The university was found to have an estimated market value of $2 billion as of Oct. 31, though has since experienced a 3% decline, according to McCoy. 

Representing the University Health Care Committee, Trustee Robert D. Vance addressed the group with an update from Vice President Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Rob Edwards about the expansion of outpatient sites throughout Central Kentucky. 

According to Edwards, the Hamburg Baptist Health development is expected to be completed in 2024. 

“This will be the first for ambulatory locations in Central Kentucky that are targeted to open in 2024,” Capilouto said. “UK College of Medicine is responsible for training the physicians of the future through their graduate, medical and educational programs.” 

Aaron Cramer, a member of the Board of Trustees since 2022, was also highlighted for accepting the position of chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

He will be stepping down from the board to pursue his new title due to being unable to hold both titles at once.

“When I say how we do things matters at least as much as what we do, I mean working to maintain and improve the relationships, culture and character that distinguish the university from other institutions,” Cramer said. 

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