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New EKU board chair realizes hiring will be challenging in the current climate

Stu Johnson

Richmond Attorney Michael Eaves is the new chair of the Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents. He chaired his first board meeting earlier this month. Eaves said he was surprised to be asked to lead the board, but very much excited about that role. The 1975 EKU graduate noted one ongoing challenge is to develop a closer relationship with the city of Richmond. Eaves added as the university thrives, so thrives the city.

“When the university has events like the All A Classic and 40,000 people come to town, that’s a big deal for Eastern, it’s a great big deal for the city,” said Eaves.

Eaves said his daughter went to the University of Mississippi. He says Oxford is a place where the city and university both reap significant benefits. Eaves said the capital construction updates on the Richmond campus go in line with student expectations. He added there was virtually no new construction on campus for 40 to 50 years after work in the late 60’s and early 70’s .

The Regents chair said faculty and staff compensation is a challenging issue today. Michael Eaves, said it’s a tough time economically to attract and adequately compensate staff and faculty.

“You’re just not going to be competitive as a university and we’re not gonna to satisfy our mission until we get to the point where we can have adequately compensated staff and can continue to attract that great staff and great faculty that we need to do, to do our job,” said Eaves

Eaves noted it’s exciting taking on the role as chair of the Board and he adds there’s a lot to learn. Eaves added new construction on the Richmond campus is important to meet student expectations. He said very little in new construction was done for about a half-century between the early 70’s and the last few years.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.
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