By Adam Baker/Editor
Two new faces will soon join Eastern’s Board of Regents, replacing Daisy
French and Cookie Henson. Both French’s and Henson’s terms expired
Wednesday, according to Eastern’s Division of Public Relations and
Marketing.Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced Wednesday his first appointments to each
of the state’s public postsecondary educational institutions as well as
made appointments to the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
Hunter Bates and Pheli Roberts will take their seats on Eastern’s Board of Regents for a six-year term beginning next month.
Bates, president of Bates Capitol Group, served as student body
president and student regent at Eastern in 1989. Bates also ran as
Fletcher’s running mate last year until a Fayette County judge declared
him ineligible on grounds he had not been a Kentucky resident long
He now calls Prospect home, but lived for several years in
Virginia while working for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.
The Kentucky constitution requires candidates for governor and
lieutenant governor to be citizens and residents of Kentucky for six
years preceding the election. Bates withdrew from the running for
lieutenant governor in March of last year. His eligibility was
challenged by a college student.
After graduating from Eastern, Bates attended Harvard University Law School, where he graduated and then served as chief of staff to McConnell. He returned to Kentucky in 2002.
According to Marc Whitt, associate vice president of public relations and marketing, Bates is the second person to serve as an Eastern student regent and then be appointed to the university’s Board. The first was John Cooper, a lobbyist who lives in Georgetown.
Fletcher’s other appointment to Eastern’s Board, Roberts, is a
pharmacist with the Kroger Company. She also is the former vice
president of the Christian Pharmacist Fellowship Association.
Roberts, of Louisville, is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy and, according to the governor’s office, indicated strong support for Eastern’s “diversification of students and curriculum, especially in the area of law enforcement.”
Roberts is married to Kentucky’s Director of Homeland Security, Erwin
Both Bates and Roberts are Republicans. Fletcher appointed 17
Republicans, 3 Democrats and one Independent to university boards across the Bluegrass.
Henson read a statement at Monday’s Board of Regents meeting indicating her exit from the Board may be near.
“Whether politics on the Board has had an affect on if I return or not,
it will not stop me from wanting to see the best for this university and
its people,” she said. “As the only African American, or anyone else of
color on the Board, I hope I’ve added the needed effort for the minority
Henson also offered one last challenge the Board: focus on diversity.
“We’ve hired a lot of senior executives lately and none of them have
been black or of any color other than white,” she said. “It’s time we
look at more than words … are we giving the minority population every
effort that we can?”
French, the Board’s vice chair, could not immediately be reached for
*Check out The Progress’ Aug. 26 edition for a closer look at the
university’s newest Regents.