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Dear Campus Community,

I am excited to announce that a preferred candidate for the position of Vice President for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement will visit our campus Monday, Feb. 20, for a series of meetings and discussions.

I met with our philanthropy and alumni team this morning to discuss this next step. As a member of our campus community, you will have the opportunity on Monday to interact with the candidate and provide feedback.

  • As we have done with other high-level searches, we will post the preferred candidate’s resume Sunday morning, or 24 hours prior to the candidate’s visit, at this link
  • On Monday at 3:30 p.m. in Room 191 of the Gatton College of Business and Economics, a campus forum will be held where the candidate will discuss their philosophy about the position as well as the credentials and experiences they would bring to this critical leadership post.  
  • At that time, you will also have the opportunity for dialogue with the candidate. 
  • A recording of the open forum, as well as an online feedback form, will be posted on this page after the forum concludes. It will remain open until 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 22. Please note that you must have a linkblue ID and password to view the candidate’s resume, open forum and feedback form. 
  • The candidate also will be meeting with senior members of the philanthropy and alumni team, my direct reports, deans and faculty and staff leaders throughout the day on Monday. 

This has been a thorough process, in large part because these are difficult positions to fill across higher education.

I empaneled a broad-based and experienced committee in fall 2021 to conduct a search. Led by Vice President for Student Success Kirsten Turner and College of Engineering Dean Rudy Buchheit, the committee provided me with invaluable insights as well as a deep dive into the very competitive marketplace in higher education that exists for senior-level philanthropy positions.

The fact is that philanthropy and alumni leaders are in high demand as raising private dollars and foundation support has become more and more essential to the work we do in higher education. The team reviewed some two-dozen applications and conducted roughly 10 interviews with semi-finalists and finalists before I decided to pause the search last spring. Even after doing so, we continued to review applications and talk with potential candidates.

Given these positions are highly relational to their respective institutions and donors, these searches must be handled with utmost confidentiality and care. As such, our search has taken more time to yield an excellent candidate to present to campus.  

I want to thank our philanthropy and alumni teams and the search committee for their excellent work and commitment to this process and our university.

Together, we are advancing our state in everything that we do. I’m excited about the future we are forging together with Kentucky’s future as our north star.

Thank you for all you do to make this progress possible.

Eli Capilouto