“The University Press of Kentucky showcases the very best of the state’s history, heritage, and culture.”

– Ashley Runyon, Director of the Press

Mission Statement

The University Press of Kentucky has a dual mission—the publication of academic books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields and the publication of significant books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia. The Press is the statewide nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, serving all Kentucky state-sponsored institutions of higher learning as well as six private colleges and Kentucky’s two major historical societies.

History & Organization

The University Press of Kentucky (UPK) is a scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and was organized in 1969 as successor to the University of Kentucky Press.

Offices for the administrative, editorial, production, and marketing departments are found at the University of Kentucky, which is responsible for the overhead cost of the publishing operation. Bruce F. Denbo was the first full-time professional director of the Press and he was succeeded by Kenneth H. Cherry, who came from the University of Tennessee Press. During Cherry’s tenure, the size of the press more than quadrupled. Upon Cherry’s retirement in 2001, Stephen M. Wrinn, formerly of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, became director in 2002. Leila w. Salisbury, former director at the University Press of Mississippi, then serves as director of UPK from 2016 until 2019. In 2020, Ashley Runyon, who worked at the Press full-time for 8 years and later served as trade director at Indiana University Press, rejoined the University Press of Kentucky as director. She has modernized the operations and digitized UPK’s books to make them instantly available to citizens across the state.

Since the 1969 reorganization, the Press has represented a consortium that now includes all of Kentucky’s state universities, six of its private colleges, and two historical societies. Each constituent institution is represented on a statewide editorial board, which supervises the UPK imprint. The Press serves:

  • Bellarmine University
  • Berea College
  • Centre College of Kentucky
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • The Filson Historical Society
  • Georgetown College
  • Kentucky Historical Society
  • Kentucky State University
  • Morehead State University
  • Murray State University
  • Northern Kentucky University
  • Spalding University
  • Transylvania University
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Pikeville
  • Western Kentucky University