FRANKFORT–The Kentucky State University Board of Regents today announced the appointment of Dr. Aaron Thompson as interim president at Kentucky State University.

Thompson currently serves as Executive Vice President at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. He will take a leave of absence to lead KSU until a permanent president is appointed by the Board of Regents. Thompson begins immediately.

“I am honored to serve Kentucky State University as interim president and am excited for the opportunity to work with the incredibly dedicated and talented faculty, students, alumni and staff,” Thompson said.  “There is still much work to be done, and I look forward to collaborating with the Kentucky State community to make sure the university continues forward until a permanent president is selected.”

Thompson is nationally recognized in the areas of education attainment and academic success. He has given more than 800 workshops, seminars, and invited lectures to educational institutions (elementary, secondary, and postsecondary), corporations, non-profit organizations, police departments, and other governmental agencies. He is the co-author of Black Men and Divorce, and college textbooks, Thriving in College and Beyond: Research-Based Strategies for Academic Success and Personal Development, Thriving in the Community College and Beyond: Strategies for Academic Success and Personal Development, Focus on Success, and Diversity and the College Experience.

Dr. Thompson’s research has been cited in popular newspapers and magazines such as Cosmopolitan, The Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and The Tampa Tribune.

Board of Regents Statement Regarding Interim President Thompson

We look forward to working closely with Dr. Thompson. This board is committed to the mission of KSU and we look forward to continuing on a path that transforms this university into one of the best institutions of its size in the state, region and nation.

Search Committee Named

Regents on Tuesday also named a ten-member committee to lead the national search for KSU’s next president. The search committee will be led by E.M. Lysonge, VP and General Counsel at Cafepress. He was formerly a vice president at Churchill Downs Inc. The committee will begin its work soon. Please stay tuned for additional details about meeting times, and a timeline for selecting a new president. Additional committee members are:


  • Regent Mindy Barfield, partner in the litigation department at Dinsmore and Shohl law firm; Board of Trustees at Transylvania University; Board of Governors, Kentucky Bar Association.
  • Houston Barber, Superintendent, Frankfort Independent Schools; Frankfort native; former principal, Jefferson County Public Schools.
  • Retired Circuit Court Judge Hubert Grimes; KSU graduate; Director, Center for Law and Social Justice at Bethune Cookman University.
  • Venita Hawkins, President, KSU National Alumni Association; Fiscal Review Specialist for Fairfax County, Va., where she manages a budget of more than $25 million.
  • Faculty Regent Dr. Elgie McFayden, Associate Professor, College of Professional Studies, School of Public Administration, Social Work and Criminal Justice.
  • Staff Regent Hettie Oldham, Archives Assistant for Academic Affairs and the Library; KSU graduate.
  • William May, Mayor of Frankfort, graduate of Frankfort High School and Kentucky State University.
  • Ralph Williams, newly elected SGA President; Business Administration major; Served in 2015 on the White House Initiative on HBCUs as KSU’s student ambassador.
  • Karen Bearden, Board of Regents chairperson, ex-officio member.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of the Presidential Search Committee?

The Search Committee helps outline the criteria for evaluating presidential candidates. Additionally, the Search Committee will review application materials, interview candidates, and make recommendations to KSU regarding the strongest candidates.

What is the timeline of the search?

It is the goal of the Search Committee to move the search process along as quickly and efficiently as possible while acting in what the members believe to be the best interests of the University. Like many other presidential searches, it is difficult to determine exactly when the search will conclude. Updates will be provided to the alumnae as decisions are made and when information becomes available.

Who will make the final selection on the next President for KSU?

The search committee may recommend up to three finalists to the Board of Regents, which has final authority to select a new president.