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Commonwealth Fund chairman stepping down after 20 years

Will be replaced by former Keeneland president Nick Nicholson

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 8, 2014) —John R. Hall, founding chairman of the Commonwealth Fund for KET board of directors and retired chairman and CEO of Ashland Inc., is stepping down after 20 years. He will be succeeded by Nick Nicholson, retired president and CEO of the Keeneland Association, who assumes the chairmanship on October 29. Hall will remain on the board in an emeritus capacity.

Nick Nicholson, left, and John Hall.

“John Hall’s vision and commitment to KET’s mission have been steadfast since the creation of the Commonwealth Fund. His integrity, leadership, and giving spirit have inspired all of us, and we are forever in debt to his legacy of service,” said Shae Hopkins, founding president of the fundraising non-profit, and who today is executive director and CEO of KET. “Nick Nicholson will bring extraordinary experience and energy to help lead our continuing efforts to engage our viewers and others in support of KET. Few people have achieved such success and commanded as much respect as John and Nick. KET’s programs and services are stronger thanks to their tireless leadership, and we are truly grateful.”

The Commonwealth Fund for KET was established in 1994. To help provide funding in perpetuity for some of KET’s programs and services, Hall helped launch three endowments, including the W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Endowment for the Arts, the O. Leonard Press Endowment for Public Affairs, and the Endowment for Kentucky Productions. Hall is particularly proud of KET’s original biographies about distinguished Kentuckians – such as the late William T. Young Sr., the late Sally Brown and, more recently, Ted Bassett – as well as KET’s original production Thoroughbred, which brought the pageantry and traditions of the horse industry to the nation, airing on PBS in 2011.

Nicholson, who joined the Commonwealth Fund for KET board of directors in 2003, served for nearly 13 years as president of Keeneland and previously as the senior executive for The Jockey Club. He is the current chairman of Equibase.

For his contributions to the equine industry, Nicholson received the Eclipse Award of Merit, the Lifetime Service Award from Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and The Jockey Club Gold Medal.