Governor Andy Beshear appointed two new members to the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) Board of Regents who were officially sworn in yesterday, July 21. Kristie Michele Whitlatch and Edwin Ray Orange will serve on the board through June 30, 2028.
“Regent Whitlatch and Regent Orange have extensive experience in innovative and successful leadership,” said EKU President David McFaddin. “I am confident they will work to advance our institution and create more opportunities for students.”
In addition, McFaddin expressed his gratitude to Diaz and Vasudevan for their service to the Board, “I am grateful for the tremendous experience and passion Lewis and Vasu brought to serving their alma mater over the years. During their time on the board, they shepherded Booksmart, our free textbook program and the successful passage of historic educational investment.”
Whitlatch, from Ashland, Ky., replaces Lewis Diaz of Union. She has 30 years of experience in healthcare management, 10 of which were in a senior leadership position. Whitlatch received an associate’s degree in nursing from Ashland Community College, a bachelor’s degree in nursing administration from Bellarmine College and a master's degree in nursing administration from the University of Phoenix. Whitlatch has a proven track record in successful planning and driving innovation. She has held several notable positions at King’s Daughters Health System in Ashland, such as president and chief executive officer, vice president and chief operating officer and director of quality management/education.
“I am honored to be appointed by Governor Beshear to the Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents,” said Whitlatch. “As the CEO of a health system in eastern Kentucky, I’m especially interested in promoting higher education, strengthening the bonds between the excellent healthcare programs at EKU and the need for highly trained professionals throughout the Commonwealth.”
Edwin Ray Orange, from Frankfort, Ky., replaces Vasu Vasudevan of Frankfort. Orange possesses several favorable skills such as revenue cycle management, data science and analytics and quantitative and qualitative market research. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kentucky and has a certification from the Amazon Web Services Solutions Architect-Associate Exam. This certification verifies Orange’s knowledge of AWS’s technology is up-to-date and relevant. For the past 10 years, Orange has overseen Three Poplars LLC as president. During his time as president, Orange created an innovative health care revenue cycle and data science and marketing strategies that showed a positive effect on bottom-line profits. He showed good collaboration efforts with other health programs and had positive outcomes from plans that went into effect under his supervision.
"I am excited to be joining the EKU board,” said Orange. “EKU educates more Kentuckians and returns more graduates to the Commonwealth's workforce per capita than any other postsecondary institution, and I am proud to be part of EKU's mission as a beacon of opportunity."
The Board of Regents is the governing body of EKU. It has 11 members, eight of which are appointed by the Governor. The Board additionally has a faculty representative, a staff representative and a student representative each elected to serve by their respective peers.