Skip to Main Content
Watch Interim Joint Committee Judiciary

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto talks about UK's 150th Anniversary, the new construction on campus, health disparities in Appalachia, and more.
Season 10 Episode 13 Length 28:03 Premiere: 02/01/15

As School Marks Milestone, UK President Looks to the Future

As the University of Kentucky celebrates its 150th anniversary with events to honor its rich history, school officials are recommitting UK to address challenges of the future.

University President Eli Capilouto appeared on KET’s One to One to discuss the school’s aggressive building program, and a new directive to focus on Kentucky’s most pressing problems.

“What is nice to see is that the DNA from the birth of this university is still manifest in what we do today,” Capilouto says. “Things have changed dramatically [in 150 years], but our commitment to the commonwealth remains at the forefront of everything we do.”

New Buildings Highlight Campus Changes
Capilouto says UK has $1.3 billion in construction projects underway at the Lexington campus. One emphasis has been to increase the number of residence halls. The president says the school now has 3,000 new beds with accompanying meeting spaces where students can gather for what Capilouto calls “living-learning programs” to strengthen the campus community.

Capilouto acknowledges the school is taking on debt to pay for the new buildings, but he says UK has also been able to retire old debt in recent years. He says the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s recently upped UK’s ranking from “stable” to “positive.”

“When we issued debt in market, we got extremely favorable rates because we’re really low risk,” Capilouto says. “So people have a lot of confidence in what we’re doing.”

The campus revitalization efforts will also change how students eat. UK recently launched a 15-year partnership with food service giant Aramark to manage campus dining facilities. Capilouto says the agreement will result in lower meal-plan prices for students, new dining venues, and greater use of Kentucky-grown products.

More Cancer Research
The university is home to the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, an honor the school received in 2013. But Capilouto wants to build on that success with a new research facility to study cancer and other chronic illness prevalent in Kentucky.

The proposed building, which has been endorsed by state Senate President Robert Stivers, has been estimated to cost up to $150 million. Capilouto says UK is prepared to fund half of the project if the state will pay the rest of the money. Lawmakers declined to fund the facility in last year’s legislative session, and it’s uncertain whether they would make a special effort to do so this year since they’re not scheduled to address budget issues until 2016. But Capilouto says time is of the essence since it can take up to 10 years to fund, design, and construct a research facility.

To back up his personal commitment to the idea, Capilouto and his wife recently pledged $250,000 to the project. Although he’s only been in the state for a little more than three years, Capilouto says he feels an obligation to help address health disparities in Kentucky.

Higher Costs for Students
Capilouto says the school has a responsibility to educate young people and prepare them with the skill sets they’ll need for today’s job market. But doing so has become increasingly expensive for students who face escalating tuition, textbook costs, and other fees.

Capilouto says repeated rounds of state budget cuts have forced the university and other schools to raise tuitions. But he’s quick to also report that 85 percent of UK students receive some kind of grant or scholarship support that they don’t have to pay back. Plus he says 50 percent of graduates have no debt. For those students that do graduate with debt, Capilouto says the average owed is $23,000.

“But I’ll tell you what is even more expensive: trying to get through this world without a college education today,” Capilouto argues. “As complex, as difficult, as unpredictable as it’s going to be, if you do not have the skill set that you get from a college education, navigating that frontier will present headwinds that you cannot overcome.”

amgrad3KET’s education coverage is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Sponsored by:

You give every Kentuckian the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through KET.

The Smothers Brothers standing back to back in black turtlenecks and smilingThe Smothers Brothers standing back to back in black turtlenecks and smiling

TV Schedules


No upcoming airdates


No recent airdates

Season 10 Episodes

Jeff Smith and Jonathan Miller

S10 E53 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 12/27/15

Economic Boom for Kentucky Bourbon

S10 E52 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 12/20/15

Steve Beshear Reflects on Service

S10 E51 Length 28:46 Premiere Date 12/13/15

Dr. R. Albert Mohler

S10 E50 Length 28:00 Premiere Date 11/22/15

Governor-elect Matt Bevin

S10 E49 Length 29:03 Premiere Date 11/15/15

Kentucky Life Host Doug Flynn

S10 E48 Length 28:26 Premiere Date 11/08/15

Al Cross on the 2015 Election

S10 E47 Length 28:32 Premiere Date 11/01/15

Trey Grayson

S10 E46 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 10/11/15

Tony Kemper of the de Paul School

S10 E45 Length 27:26 Premiere Date 10/04/15

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth

S10 E44 Length 28:27 Premiere Date 09/27/15

David Gregory on His Journey of Faith

S10 E43 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 09/20/15

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie

S10 E42 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 09/13/15

Sen. Mitch McConnell

S10 E41 Length 28:37 Premiere Date 09/05/15

Education Chief Reflects on Service

S10 E39 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 08/23/15

Making the Case for Higher Academic Standards

S10 E38 Length 28:11 Premiere Date 08/15/15

Emily Bingham Discusses Aunt's Biography

S10 E36 Length 28:31 Premiere Date 08/01/15

Personalized Cancer Treatment

S10 E35 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 07/25/15

Stu Silberman and Brigitte Blom Ramsey

S10 E34 Length 28:07 Premiere Date 07/18/15

Coding - Part 2

S10 E33 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 07/11/15

Scott Terrell on the Lexington Philharmonic

S10 E30 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 06/20/15

Jane Chu and Lori Meadows Discuss Kentucky Arts

S10 E29 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 06/13/15

Giving Voice to Kentucky Women

S10 E28 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 06/06/15

The Heroin Epidemic in Kentucky

S10 E26 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 05/23/15

Al Cross Discusses May 2015 Primary

S10 E25 Length 28:00 Premiere Date 05/16/15

Immigration Laws in Louisville

S10 E24 Length 28:17 Premiere Date 05/09/15

Cameron Ludwick and Blair Hess

S10 E23 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 05/02/15

Len Peters Discusses the EPA

S10 E22 Length 27:46 Premiere Date 04/25/15

Kim Baker Discusses the Arts

S10 E21 Length 28:56 Premiere Date 04/18/15

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Dr. Alison Davis

S10 E20 Length 27:46 Premiere Date 04/11/15

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz

S10 E19 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 04/04/15

Dr. Mark Evers

S10 E18 Length 27:11 Premiere Date 03/28/15

Teddy Abrams

S10 E17 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 03/21/15

Dr. Robert Davies

S10 E16 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 02/22/15

Brad Jones: Black Walls Turn Gray

S10 E15 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 02/15/15

SOAR Executive Director Jared Arnett

S10 E14 Length 28:16 Premiere Date 02/08/15

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto

S10 E13 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 02/01/15

Rep. Andy Barr: One to One from Washington

S10 E12 Length 28:22 Premiere Date 02/04/15

Rep. Thomas Massie: One to One from Washington

S10 E11 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 02/03/15

Rep. John Yarmuth: One to One from Washington

S10 E10 Length 27:41 Premiere Date 02/02/15

Rep. Brett Guthrie: One to One from Washington

S10 E9 Length 28:46 Premiere Date 01/30/15

Rep. Ed Whitfield: One to One from Washington

S10 E8 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 01/29/15

Rep. Hal Rogers: One to One from Washington

S10 E7 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 01/28/15

Sen. Rand Paul: One to One from Washington

S10 E6 Length 27:31 Premiere Date 01/27/15

Sen. Mitch McConnell: One to One from Washington

S10 E5 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 01/26/15

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell

S10 E4 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 01/06/15

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers

S10 E3 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 01/18/15

Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo

S10 E2 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 01/11/15

Gov. Steve Beshear

S10 E1 Length 28:41 Premiere Date 12/26/14

Explore KET