Skip to main content

Kentucky CPE President Aaron Thompson to Deliver Lecture on Disparities in Higher Education

By Kate Maddox Wednesday

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 19, 2022) — The University of Kentucky Department of Sociology and the UK Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program will welcome Aaron Thompson, the president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3.

Thompson’s lecture, “Making Higher Education Matter to Kentucky,” will take place at Gatton Student Center Room 331. The lecture will be presented online as well. To join virtually, register at

Thompson will be sharing his personal experiences about the transformative power of higher education. He will also discuss his passions for closing opportunity gaps and increasing the value of higher education, and how it has influenced Kentucky’s new strategic agenda for postsecondary education.

Thompson is a first-generation college student from rural Clay County, Kentucky. He earned a master’s degree in industrial sociology from UK and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Eastern Kentucky University. He also received his doctoral degree in sociology with a focus on organizational leadership from UK. In his role as president of CPE, he works to ensure all Kentuckians have an equal opportunity to improve their lives through postsecondary education.

“Dr. Thompson’s return to the UK campus to deliver what promises to be an enriching public lecture based on his personal experiences and his wealth of expertise in remedying educational disparities in the Commonwealth,” said Claire Renzetti, professor and chair of the UK Department of Sociology.

Thompson also will participate in a coffee hour at 10 a.m. Feb. 3 at the Appalachian Center, 624 Maxwelton Court. A Zoom option also is availabe.

Graduate students are invited to join Thompson for lunch at noon in the Sociology Conference Room in Patterson Office Tower Room 1545. Interested students should RSVP to Justin Conder at

More information is available at

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.