Maysville resident and former cabinet secretary Robert Vance has been named chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of Kentucky.
He was elected to the position in June by his fellow board members, Vance said recently.
Vance said UK has made strides in several areas over the past few years and he hopes to see that momentum continue,
“We are currently educating more students and conducting more research than any time in the past 150 years,” he said.
Over the last eight years, the university has spent $8.4 billion on construction, Vance said, and for the current academic year has the largest freshman class in history with 5,396 students. Statistics show that 66 percent will graduate, a historical high for the school, he said.
Recruiting and keeping students is important and at UK, more financial aid is being offered to students who make the grade academically, but may struggle financially, Vance said. The focus is on getting the best students from in state, he said, with a high percentage of all who applied being accepted.
“Our focus is on UK students not just first but always,” Vance said.
Vance has been a member of the UK board since 2014 and has served as chair of University Health Care Committee; chair of the Executive Committee; member of the Investment Committee; and member of Audit and Compliance Committee.
Vance recently retired as Secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet, having served as head of the Cabinet since December 2007.
In November 2013, the Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission presented Vance the prestigious Livingston Taylor Ethics Award for the 2011-2013 biennium. The commission established this biennial award program to recognize individuals, programs, or agencies within the executive branch of state government for their outstanding achievement and contributions in promoting the ethical conduct of executive branch employees.
As a former chair of the University Health Care Committee, Vance is intimately familiar with UK Health Care which has been named the state’s best hospital, he said. In addition, the Markey Cancer Center at UK is one of the top cancer centers in the nation.
With millions of dollars of research conducted annually at UK, the economic impact is billions, Vance said.
A native of Grant County, Vance earned business and law degrees at the University of Kentucky. He also is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University and the Executive Banking Institute at the University of Louisville. He has spent most of his career in banking, serving as chairman or senior officer of a number of banking institutions across Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.
He and his wife Judy, a retired nurse, have three daughters, one son, and nine grandchildren. The couple makes their home in Maysville.