Growing up, Lori Garkovich moved about every five years before landing in Missouri for high school and college. In 1976, she joined UK's faculty, and after 42 years, the professor in Community and Leadership Development will be retiring at the end of this semester.Lori Garkovich

Q: What first attracted you to the college?

A: I wanted to teach at a university level. I started with a research and teaching appointment, but I was doing some demography/population trends and started getting calls from towns to come talk about my work. I like to travel, so I said, “Sure.” My passion is working on things that are useful to real people. I would have left, if I hadn't been afforded the interaction with the real world.

Q: Throughout your career you have received many awards for teaching and advising. What do you like most about teaching?

A: That's easy; it is the kids. All students can succeed, if they are supported and want it. All they need is someone to believe in them and convince them to believe in themselves. Seeing their successes is just amazing.

Q: Your work often takes you to communities across Kentucky. What is most rewarding about that work?

A: It's when they don't need you anymore, or when they call you three or five years later with their accomplishments and are ready to do more. After I retire, I have told them that I am starting a consulting business – Food for Thought. Feed me, and I will come!

Q: What do you like most about the college? 

A: It's real. With my position, I have to keep one foot in the real world. I have learned that if you cannot explain something without the use of academic speak and jargon, then you don't really know what you are talking about. I love working with the students and communities. I've been really happy with my life. I cannot believe I get paid to do it. I love it so much.

Q: What do you plan to do next?

A: I'm active in several groups in Woodford County, and I plan to continue to be involved. I also will stay busy with my farm, and I plan to train my golden retriever, Ariel, to participate in the Reading to Dogs program and perhaps as a therapy dog to take to nursing homes. I've seen how important that work can be to residents.