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NKU Announces Four New
Members to the Board of Regents


Sept. 7, 2021 - Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear appoints Elizabeth Lee Thompson, of Lexington, and Kara Williams, of Florence, to Northern Kentucky University's Board of Regents. NKU additionally welcomes Aliya Cannon as Student Regent and Cori Henderson as Staff Regent this summer.

"NKU is pleased to have exceptional members of the campus and community join the Board," said NKU President Ashish Vaidya. "Each one brings years of service to NKU, and I am grateful for their desire to embrace our goals of championing student success and regional stewardship."

Thompson is an attorney and chair of the Creditors' Rights & Bankruptcy Service Group at Stites & Harbison, PLLC, focusing on creditors' rights, bankruptcy and business litigation. This is her second time being appointed to NKU’s Board of Regents, having served from 2010 to 2016 and as Vice Chair in 2013. Thompson also serves on the Women Leading Kentucky advisory board.

"I am extremely honored to have once again been selected to serve on NKU's Board of Regents," said Thompson. "The university plays such an important role across the state and beyond. NKU's administration, faculty, staff and student body are extraordinary. I truly feel privileged to serve this excellent university.”

Kara Williams is the owner and founder of The Marketing Collective, a results-based marketing strategy firm in Cincinnati, Ohio. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communication from NKU in 2001. While an undergrad, she served as the Student Government Association President and Student Regent on the Board. Williams also serves on NKU's Foundation Board of Directors, the university's Strategic Planning Committee. She previously served on the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

"Regional universities have the power to change lives for generations to come, and students are the future of our state," said Williams. "As an alumna, I want to ensure that degrees from the university are valuable, meaningful and ripe with opportunities for our graduates. NKU is uniquely positioned to support each of these goals, and I am honored to give back to this community and the university that I dearly love."

During the spring semester, NKU students elected Aliya Cannon as the Student Government Association president. Cannon, a senior studying social work and social justice, is the first African American female student elected to serve as Student Regent.

“My years here at NKU have allowed me to develop into the leader I am today, and it's an honor to represent my fellow students on the NKU Board of Regents,” said Cannon. “Representation matters, and that means addressing all of our students' needs and concerns as we make new strides to the future.”

University staff members also selected Cori Henderson to be the Staff Regent on the Board.  Henderson, who is the assistant director of Institutional Research, becomes the first African American woman to serve on the university's governing body.

“This past year was difficult for all of us as we navigated the unique terrain of dealing with a global pandemic. But our staff went above and beyond to meet the needs of the university during this uncertain time,” said Henderson. “I am proud to represent the amazing NKU staff and how I can best support the university in the upcoming years ahead.”

Thompson and Williams succeed Lee Scheben and Dennis Repenning, whose terms expired. Accompanying the new members, NKU's Board includes Chairman Andra' R. Ward, Vice Chairman Normand G. Desmarais, Secretary Gregory Shumate, Faculty Regent Michael Baranowski, Regent Richard A. Boehne, Regent Ashley Himes and Regent Ken Perry.

The new members will be sworn at the NKU Board of Regents meeting on Sept. 8. For more on NKU's Board of Regents, visit its website.

About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit