FRANKFORT, Ky. — Dr. OJ Oleka, president of the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU), has announced his intention to step down from his role effective November 30, 2022, to pursue other opportunities.
“It has been a tremendous honor to serve as AIKCU’s president during such a critical time in history,” Oleka said in a statement. “We successfully navigated the pandemic by keeping all 18 member institutions open for student learning, made fiscally responsible decisions that resulted in significant financial gains without increasing membership dues, and we raised thousands of dollars to make college more affordable for all Kentuckians. I am proud of the work my staff and I have done and will continue to do. My last day is November 30th and I plan to work hard each remaining day to promote our members and the incredible educational opportunities they provide. AIKCU is in a strong position to reach even greater heights, and I am thankful for my time as its president.”
Lyle Roelofs, president of Berea College and current chair of AIKCU’s Board of Directors, expressed his gratitude for Oleka’s leadership and many contributions over the three years he has held the position of AIKCU president.
“OJ was exceptional in monitoring legislative and executive activities in Frankfort and keeping the leadership of all of our institutions up to speed on all the issues that are so important both to us and to the college-going students in our Commonwealth,” said Roelofs. “We wish him well in his future endeavors, knowing that his commitment to opportunities in higher education for all students will continue and always inform his other work on behalf of the citizens of Kentucky.”
Oleka became only the second president in AIKCU’s history as a merged organization when he assumed the role in 2019. Under Oleka’s leadership, the association successfully navigated the pandemic, expanded government relations efforts at the state and federal level, increased ties to the Kentucky business community, and modernized operations. He also spearheaded several new strategic initiatives, including a student leadership program for low-income students of color and the AIKCU Diversity Summit.
Prior to joining AIKCU Oleka was the Deputy Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where he worked on a policy that streamlined government, developed financial literacy standards for Kentucky schools, and protected the property rights of Kentuckians. He also serves on numerous boards and commissions focused on expanding educational and economic opportunities for all Kentuckians.
The AIKCU Executive Committee will meet soon to begin planning for the transition.
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