Rockcastle County native named to top post at U of L

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (U of L Public Affairs) – A Rockcastle County native with experience in leading academic affairs on both traditional college campuses and health sciences centers will become the next executive vice president and university provost at the University of Louisville.

Lori Stewart Gonzalez, Ph.D., vice chancellor for academic, faculty and student affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, will assume the position as UofL’s provost by April 1, 2021, pending approval by the UofL Board of Trustees. She succeeds Beth A. Boehm, who has served as provost since 2018. Boehm is returning to her role as dean of the Graduate School.

Reporting directly to the president, the executive vice president and university provost is the university’s chief academic officer, overseeing undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The provost works closely with deans, vice presidents and other administrative officials to advance the teaching, research and service missions of the university.

“The University of Louisville is a unique institution that combines a national reputation for teaching and research with a firm commitment to its community,” Gonzalez said. “This opportunity to make a real difference both locally and globally stands out among higher education institutions. I look forward to being part of its continued and growing success.”

Gonzalez brings a wealth of administrative experience to the role of provost. As vice chancellor at the UT Health Science Center since 2015, she oversees the offices of academic, faculty, student and international affairs, education services, equity and diversity, community engagement and others. As interim dean in 2016-17, she oversaw the departments of Audiology and Speech Pathology, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Health Informatics and Information Management, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy.

Previously, she served as senior advisor to the senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina General Administration, as provost and executive chancellor at Appalachian State University, and associate dean and then dean of the College of Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky.

“Dr. Gonzalez boasts an impressive resume of strong academic qualifications and administrative experience in the liberal arts and sciences and the health sciences,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi. “Just as important, she brings high energy, a devotion to students, faculty and staff and a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. I look forward to working with her as we continue to advance UofL as a premier anti-racist metropolitan research university here and beyond.”

Search Committee chairs David Jenkins and Gerry Bradley, deans of the Kent School of Social Work and School of Dentistry, respectively, called Gonzalez a great fit for UofL.

“After a national search including thorough vetting and conversations with the finalists, Dr. Gonzalez clearly stood out,” Bradley and Jenkins said. “She brings a breadth of leadership experience in academia and was the consensus choice across all campus constituencies.  Dr. Gonzalez showed a clear and decisive commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion that fits perfectly with President Bendapudi’s strategic work in this area. And she was truly impressive in her interactions with students, faculty and staff. We look forward to welcoming her to the University of Louisville family.”

A native of Rockcastle County, Ky., Gonzalez earned her bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from UK and her master’s degree in communication disorders from Eastern Kentucky University. She earned her doctorate from the University of Florida Department of Speech.

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