Dr. Aaron Thompson is a passionate advocate for higher education. As a first-generation college student from rural Clay County, Kentucky, he experienced first-hand the transformative power of a college credential. As President of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, he works to ensure all Kentuckians have an equal opportunity to improve their lives through postsecondary education.
Before taking the helm of CPE, Thompson served as interim president of Kentucky State University; CPE executive vice president and provost; and faculty member and administrator at Eastern Kentucky University. He has extensive leadership experience within the private and non-profit sectors and is a highly sought-after national speaker. Dr. Thompson has authored or co-authored numerous books and peer-reviewed publications on diversity, cultural competence, first-year experience programs, retention, and student success, among other topics. In 2019, he was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
Thompson received his doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Kentucky, with an emphasis on organizational leadership. He earned a master’s degree in industrial sociology from the University of Kentucky, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Eastern Kentucky University.
Featured Media Interviews
- Interview with Higher Learning Advocates (May 27, 2020)
- Interview with Renee Shaw (Oct. 1, 2021)
- Interview with the Commonwealth Policy Center (Oct. 18, 2021)
- Interview with Bill Bryant (Nov. 14, 2021)
Featured Newsletter Articles
- President’s Message: Celebrating our successes, looking to the future (December 7, 2021)
- President’s Message: Inclusion is key to strengthening the workforce (November 16, 2021)
- President’s Message: Confronting the workforce crisis (October 7, 2021)
- President’s Message: We cannot take URM progress for granted (September 7, 2021)
- President’s Message: Kentucky higher ed fuels optimism, even during pandemic (August 4, 2021)
- President's Message: CPE's strategic agenda provides higher ed cornerstone (July 6, 2021)
Last Updated: 11/30/2021