LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The University of Kentucky on Tuesday
elected the first woman to lead its governing board, a historic
move prompted by the surprise withdrawal of the apparent
front-runner for the post.
Mira Ball, an executive with a Lexington construction company,
had intended to run for vice chairwoman of the board of trustees.
But early Tuesday afternoon, Steve Branscum - the initial nominee
for chairman - persuaded her to swap positions on the slate.
Ball defeated another trustee, Myra Tobin, 11-6 with two
abstentions. Branscum was elected vice chairman, also over Tobin.
"I just heard the thundering sound of glass breaking," faculty
trustee Ernie Yanarella said of the election of the board's first
Although Ball's name surfaced from the start as a possibility to
succeed James Hardymon, she was a reluctant convert, concerned she
wouldn't have the time to balance her busy schedule. However, she
acknowledge it was an important step for the university, which has
tried to focus more on diversity in recent years.
"I sort of put aside my feelings and decided I would do what
was asked," Ball said. "I guess it's pretty significant. It had
to happen, and I think maybe it wouldn't have if some people hadn't
been so determined. I'm glad it did."