Arts and Culture

While some professional hires are an act of necessity, others seem more like a stroke of destiny. Take the University Press of Kentucky’s latest hire, Leila Salisbury.

Earlier this week, UPK — which is overseen by the University of Kentucky Libraries — welcomed Salisbury as its new press director, becoming only the fourth in the press’s 68-year history. UPK serves all state institutions of higher learning in Kentucky, plus five private colleges and two major historical societies.

Salisbury comes to UPK from the University Press of Mississippi, where she had served as director since 2008.

But Salisbury’s connection with UPK, and the university as a whole, goes back more than two decades.

She grew up in Lexington and began her career in publishing as a student assistant at UPK when she was an undergraduate at UK.

Salisbury began working for the press full-time in 1994 as the assistant to the director. After receiving her M.A. in English from UK  in 1997, she moved to the marketing department, eventually becoming its director, as well as an acquisitions editor, before finally leaving for UPM in 2008.

While at UPM, Salisbury was responsible for strategic planning and the management of a $2.7 million scholarly publishing operation and a $3.8 million endowment.

She also has been involved with the Association of American University Presses, an organization of nonprofit publishers whose focus is scholarly publications. There, she served as chair of its marketing committee and member of the association’s national board of directors.

Amy Harris, UPK’s director of marketing and sales, said it’s an “exciting time” at UPK.

“Leila is an exceptional leader who possesses a rare combination of institutional knowledge and outside expertise,” she said.

Salisbury said she looks forward to delving back into the state’s rich history and culture.

“And the possibilities for telling the state’s story and working in concert with cultural institutions and university programs seem endless,” she said.