Investiture Ceremony marks start of Caboni’s tenure as 10th president

President Caboni is instated as the tenth president of WKU at his Investiture in Centennial Mall on April 27. “Sometimes the circumstances of our journey may make it feel like a uphill climb, but then again we are on a hill, aren’t we,” Caboni said.

Emma Collins

President Timothy Caboni was inaugurated as WKU’s 10th president this afternoon in front of the WKU community, delegates from other universities and elected officials.

The ceremony, formally called the Investiture Ceremony, was held nearly eight months after Caboni started his job at WKU on July 1.

“This ceremony stands as one of the most significant events in the life of a university,” Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs David Lee said in his welcoming speech.

During his speech, Caboni thanked his colleagues and students who he said helped him accomplish what he has done so far. He said WKU was the place where his path to higher education began and where he “came to understand how a university could be more like a family.”

Caboni spent much of his speech talking about WKU’s mission of transforming the lives of students. He also spoke about several of his goals for WKU, including increasing WKU’s retention rate and keeping WKU affordable for everyone.

Caboni also addressed two upcoming construction projects on campus. The first project is to build a first year village where Barnes-Campbell and Bemis Lawrence halls currently sit to create living learning communities for first year students. Barnes and Bemis are scheduled to be demolished in 2018 and 2019, respectively, according to WKU’s 10-year housing plan.

“As we build these new residence halls, we will use the space in a way that enables deep faculty and peer engagement around the important ideas that connect directly to student success and learning,” he said.

This will be known as the First Year Village. He said the goal of the village is to connect students with similar interests and common goals. 

Instead of rebuilding the Garrett Conference Center, Caboni said those funds will be used in another way. He said through the partnership with Aramark, the funds designated to rebuild Garrett will instead be invested in the campus libraries to create the WKU Commons.

“Essentially, we will create a flexible and modern space that serves as a dining destination for our entire community,” he said.

He also announced the creation of an Innovation Campus, which will combine the WKU Research Foundation, Office of Research & Creative Activity and the Center for Research and Development into a single location. 

“The WKU Innovation Campus will be a lighthouse that attracts the best and most innovation thinkers and brings them together around the table to create the next generation of companies that will grow here,” he said. 

Due to the university’s original $15 million deficit, the three regional campuses, Elizabethtown, Glasgow and Owensboro, were placed back to the management of the Division of Learning and Extended Outreach. Caboni stressed that the regional campuses will still be vital to the university’s mission. 

Caboni also announced the creation of the WKU Opportunity Fund, which will be an effort to raise $50 million to support students who are unable to afford experiences such as study abroad or attend conferences. The fund will be lead by Caboni’s wife, Kacy Caboni.

Board of Regents Chair Phillip Bale presented Caboni with the President’s Medallion during the ceremony. Bale said a replica of the university seal is on the medallion’s face, and the medallion identifies Caboni as WKU’s designated leader.

Caboni closed his address saying those who have chosen to invest their lives in support of higher education do so because of a shared desire to change lives. 

“It’s a fantastic journey. Sometimes the circumstances of the day may make the path seem more like an uphill climb. But then, we are on a hill, aren’t we?” 

The hour-long ceremony on Centennial Mall was followed by a reception.

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