Thompson

New Council on Postsecondary Education President Aaron Thompson (photo courtesy of Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education)

By Progress Staff

Aaron Thompson, EKU sociology professor and former associate vice president for academic affairs has been unanimously selected as the fourth president of the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), according to a brief from the organization on Oct. 25.

Thompson is the first Kentucky native and African American to hold the office since CPE's founding in 1997.

“I am humbled by the honor of being named the fourth president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. I love Kentucky, and it has been my life’s mission to add to the Commonwealth’s prosperity through education,” Thompson said.

Thompson first joined CPE in 2009, after holding numerous leadership positions at EKU and serving as a tenured professor in the department of educational leadership and policy studies. He left the Council briefly in 2016, when he took over as interim president of Kentucky State University for over a year. 

The new CPE president also earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and sociology from EKU before obtaining a master’s in sociology and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Kentucky.

“We have greatly benefited at the state level by Aaron’s strategic leadership and statesmanship over the past decade. Time and time again, we have relied on Aaron as an essential advocate and leader across many fronts, including the critical areas of college opportunity and student success,” Council Chair Sherrill Zimmerman said.

Thompson will begin his new duties on Nov. 1, filling the vacancy left by Robert L. King, who served as CPE president for nearly 10 years.

“As a native of Clay County, a son of an illiterate coal miner and a mother with only an eighth grade education, I am not only a first-generation college graduate, I am a first-generation high school graduate. Now, I am immensely fortunate to have an opportunity to represent that great opportunity to all citizens of Kentucky,” Thompson said.

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