A Statement from University of Pikeville President Paul E. Patton on joining the state university system:
“The University of Pikeville has been in discussions with the leadership in Frankfort about the possibility of UPIKE joining the state university system. This could be the most important development in the region since the Mountain Parkway was established nearly 50 years ago.
If Kentucky is going to be what we all want it to be then the economic and educational level of Eastern Kentucky must be brought up to the rest of the commonwealth. The only way that can happen is if we have a state-supported, economical, high-quality university located in the coal-producing part of the state.
The University of Pikeville does a good job for those who can afford it; however, our students who are in the middle class cannot always afford the tuition of $16,250. A public regional university would substantially reduce the costs for our students. Too many of our young people do not return when we send them away to get an education. As a consequence, we continue to lose many of our best and brightest – the future leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators who could help grow the economy in Eastern Kentucky and Kentucky.
Should this go through we would like to see the university become a part of the state system effective July 1, 2012, which would be a very aggressive timetable. The state would then establish a university and appoint a board of trustees. Subject to the approval of the University of Pikeville’s Board of Trustees, all of the school’s assets and liabilities, with the exception of the endowment, would be transferred to the new entity.
Ultimately, the question of whether the University of Pikeville becomes a public university will be up to the state legislature. I appreciate the leaders who recognize the need in our region and are willing to participate in the dialogue and open debate that has begun. Becoming a state university would allow us to do more for the citizens of Eastern Kentucky – and to do it better. Should the legislature decide otherwise, we would continue to deliver the high quality, comprehensive education for which this institution has been known for the past 123 years.”