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Mitch M.
Republican KY

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  • Tribute to Doug Whitlock

    by Senator Mitch McConnell

    Posted on 2013-03-11

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    McCONNELL. Madam President, I rise today to pay tribute to a good friend of mine and a friend to the Commonwealth of Kentucky who has served his State and his community for decades. I was saddened to hear that Doug Whitlock, the president of Eastern Kentucky University since 2007, will retire from that position this summer. In his 6 years at the helm, he has led Eastern Kentucky University to new growth and success, including the establishment of the EKU Center for the Arts, the New Science Building, the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity, the Center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies, and much more.

    Doug is EKU's 11th president. Like his predecessors, his mission has been to uphold the rich tradition of EKU while guiding the school to even greater excellence. Of course, this came naturally to Doug, as EKU is his own alma mater. Doug earned two degrees from EKU as a first- generation graduate--his bachelor's degree in history and social science in 1965, followed by a master's degree in history in 1966. Doug also earned a doctoral degree in higher education from the University of Kentucky in 1981.

    Doug's been with EKU since 1968, when he became the school's director of publications. From 1971 to 1976, he served as director of public information; then as executive assistant to the president from 1976 to 1998, and vice president for administrative affairs from 1998 to 2003. From 2003 to 2006, he returned to the classroom, teaching computer science.

    Perhaps Doug's greatest strength is that he understands the power of collaboration. He knows how to lead others to see great goals accomplished. Aside from the progress he has brought to EKU, he has served with the Madison County Schools Board of Education, the Richmond Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Commerce Lexington's Central Kentucky Public Policy Council, the Bluegrass Tomorrow Board of Directors, the International Town and Gown Association, the Southern Growth Policies Board, and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

    Under Doug's tenure, EKU produced its first Truman, Goldwater, and Fulbright Scholars and added several new Ph.D. programs. The 16,000- student school also gained several national distinctions, including recognition by both Forbes and U.S. News & World Report as ranking among America's best colleges; recognition by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a community-engaged university; and recognition by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of America's ``Great Colleges to Work For.'' Thanks to Doug's leadership, EKU also was honored as a veterans- friendly campus by G.I. Jobs magazine and earned the No. 1 ranking in the Nation for 2 of the last 3 years from Military Times EDGE magazine for being the university that is ``Best for Vets.'' As much as Doug will be missed by EKU's students, staff, and faculty, I am sure his family will appreciate seeing more of him in his retirement--including his wife, Joanne, and his granddaughters. I also understand Doug intends to spend a little more time on his hobbies, photography and electronics.

    Whatever endeavors are next for EKU President Doug Whitlock, I know my colleagues in the U.S. Senate join me in wishing him all the best and congratulating him for his decades of service to Eastern Kentucky University and to the Commonwealth. He has advanced the cause of higher education in his tenure, and he will be missed by the many who have had the pleasure of working with him, including this Senator.


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