Like a freshman handed a hefty assignment on the first day, Eli Capilouto is taking a crash course in learning about the state and the University of Kentucky, the sprawling campus he's now leading.
And just like a student in class, UK's new president seems to be doing more listening than talking as the soft-spoken Alabama native settles into a high-profile role he calls his "last and best job."
Since taking charge of the state's flagship school on July 1, and leading up to his new job, Capilouto has met with legislators, business and civic leaders, alumni and other education leaders. On the Lexington campus, he's met with administrators, faculty and staff.
The lineup of people wanting a one-on-one seems endless. He's even chatted it up with visitors to campus during leisurely walks with his dogs and with UK-cap-wearing convenience store clerks.
"When you meet people and realize the affection and the hopes they have for how this university can make a difference in this state, that moves me the most," Capilouto said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Capilouto hasn't had time yet to decorate his campus office, but he and his wife, Mary Lynne, have settled into Maxwell Place, a university-owned home, along with their two dogs. The walls of the home are getting fresh coats of paint, and his wife has talked about displaying student art in the home, Capilouto said.
The 61-year-old career educator was short on specifics about what he hopes to accomplish as UK's 12th president.