President Capilouto said that Mr. Butler has been one ofthe classiest people that he has met
since arriving at the University. Thankfully for the University, Mr. Butler has agreed to stay on and
assist during the transition of a replacement. Mr. Butler will continue to manage part of his portfolio
until the search is complete. President Capilouto said he hoped to find the appropriate time to
celebrate everything that Mr. Butler has done for the University. He asked the Board to join him in
acknowledging Mr. Frank Butler. Mr. Butler was given a round of applause and a standing ovation.
President Capilouto then referred to PR l. He knows all ofthe Board takes particular pleasure
in reading the many accomplishments outlined in PR l. The University of Kentucky is truly
remarkable. He introduced Nikky Finney, who is UK’s first National Book Award winner for poetry
and featured in PR l. Professor Finney’s work has stirred the souls of readers at the University and
all over the world. President Capilouto encouraged the Board members to read her book entitled
H edd O]j’c1nd Split, which he had given to them. He talked about Professor Finney’s acceptance
speech that she gave at the award ceremony. Actor John Lithgow said it was the best acceptance
speech he had ever heard, and it truly was outstanding.
As a native of Montgomery, Alabama, President Capilouto said he took particular pleasure
and was deeply moved by Professor Finney’s poem Red Velvet. This poem is what makes poets
great. You feel like Nikky Finney knew you all your life, even when you were six years old in
Montgomery, Alabama. He remembers that time of tunnoil and vividly remembers the buses, or the
ones he took at least weekly in his youth. The times and tribulations and the scars and growth of a
community certainly never leave one’s mind. Professor Finney deeply stirred his thoughts as he read
her vivid account to the poem Red Velvet.
President Capilouto acknowledged Dean Mark Kombluh and the Interim Chair of the
Department of English Marion Rust, where Professor Finney holds her appointment. He thanked them
for attending the Board meeting and asked Dean Kombluh to introduce Professor Finney.
Dean Kombluh said it was an incredible honor to introduce Professor Finney because she
truly represents the best ofthe University of Kentucky. The University of Kentucky has a three-fold
mission: to advance knowledge, to teach a new generation, and to affect the larger society. The
University advances knowledge in innumerable ways but none more insightful than Nikky Finney’s
poetry. It is poetry of beauty and with infinite meaning.
The National Book Award given to her was UK’s first National Book Award ever. It
recognizes the power of her words, and for the University, it honors the fact that UK has had her
working with students for 20 years. This power echoes through her inspired teaching. At a reception
for Professor Finney, several of her students got up and talked. Listening to her students talk about
her in the classroom and in her office is a transcendent experience. Professor Finney really changes
Equally important, Professor Finney’s achievement is about the university’s Land Grant
Mission. Her poetry, as much as the research in agriculture and engineering, is designed to reach out
to the community to inspire insight and to truly improve lives. Nikky Finney is a treasure, and the
University is honored to have her on the faculty. Dean Kombluh expressed great pleasure in