Sullivan focuses on enrollment growth, state recognition


Less than one year ago David Keene was promoted to a new role at Sullivan University. The veteran of higher education administration was charged with—among other tasks—promoting growth in enrollment and enhancing the recognition and growth of Sullivan throughout Kentucky.

Keene, a Sullivan University graduate, became the vice president for community partnerships after serving as director of the Sullivan University Lexington campus as well as in other leadership and administrative roles. He has been instrumental in growing the school’s Centers for Learning, which are operating across the state, and forging partnerships with employers.

“David Keene’s extensive experience leading school operations within the Sullivan University System uniquely prepared him for his role,” said Sullivan University president and CEO Jay Marr. “Higher education today goes well-beyond the classroom and is complemented by employers and others in various fields who have a vested interest in a broad, diverse and educated workforce.

“David has reached out to organizations of all kinds to seek and support partnerships to ensure current and future generations are well-educated and have the professional skills that will prepare them for the jobs of today, as well as tomorrow.” Marr said.

Soon after assuming the new position, Keene worked with Sullivan’s leadership on how the Louisville-based university could reach out to various communities, employers and organizations “to help them provide educational opportunities” to their residents, employees and members.

“We began with identifying the various entities we could reach out to and assist,” Keene said. “One of the strongest parts of Sullivan’s mission has been outreach to employers, so we talked to them about how we could help educate and train their workers.”

To that end, Sullivan began offering special tuition discount programs to employers. “We have agreements with several employers, who see this as an opportunity to offer a benefit to their employees while boosting their training,” Keene said. “It fulfills our mission of educating more people while bringing value to the employer.”

Marr said Keene has been “instrumental in the success” of Sullivan’s strategy of opening Centers for Learning across the state. Currently, Sullivan operates Centers for Learning in Louisa in eastern Kentucky and Carlisle in central Kentucky. And the school recently announced plans to open the Mayfield Center for Learning in Graves County in western Kentucky.

“David has worked tirelessly with community leaders in various regions of the Commonwealth to promote educational opportunities in areas that may be under-served in the areas of post-secondary education,” Marr said.

Keene said the Centers of Learning are being embraced by local leaders who appreciate having a university in their community to call their own.

“In Louisa, Carlisle and Mayfield, it was economic development professionals, the county-judge executive or both who heard about Sullivan and approached us about opening facilities in their areas,” Keene said. Keene and Sullivan are continuing to look for opportunities to partner with employers and community leaders.