Ron Daley is retiring from Hazard Community and Technical College after 22 years of service. Daley has served in several leadership positions at HCTC that followed a career as the owner and publisher of the Troublesome Creek Times in Knott County. He began working for the college in October 1997 via a Ford Foundation grant to build support and obtain funding for the Knott County Branch of Hazard Community College (HCC) and the Kentucky School of Craft. Daley worked with the governor and state legislators to get building funding as well as recurring operation funding ($550,000) for the Knott Branch. As the founding Knott County Branch Campus Director in 1998, he worked with community leaders to raise over $14 million in state funds for the Branch, adjacent KY School of Craft, and other community projects. He wrote three additional Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grants totaling $2.1 million for the Branch, and he built partnerships in which eight partners were part of the campus. He served as campus director from 1998 to 2003 where the enrollment grew to 350.
Daley was named the Founding Director of the University Center of the Mountains (UCM) in 2003-2008. He obtained an ARC grant to visit eight university centers across rural America to develop best practices. He also obtained a $500,000 ARC construction grant to build the center in the science wing of the campus.
Daley was an active member of the Kentucky River P-16 Council, served on the state P-16 Council, and was chairman of the KY Association of P-16 Councils.
In 2008, as Senior Director of Advancement and Governmental Relations, Daley organized fundraising efforts which included building a grants office, enhancing governmental relations, developing an alumni development plan, and creating an economic impact study of the college. Daley led the team that created the Distance Earning Initiative which was eventually housed with the local Workforce Investment Board and renamed Tele-Works.
Daley obtained a $250,000 ARC grant to build the KY Bluegrass and Traditional Music School studio in Leslie County. He submitted a successful $600,000 ARC renovation grant for the HCTC auditorium/training center and $600,000 ARC grant for the Telford Center in Jackson. He served as Senior Director of Advancement and Governmental Relations from 2008 to 2011. He served as Senior Director of Advancement from 2011 -2012, Dean of Administrative Services 2012-2013, and Director of Educational Programs 2013 to the present. Daley has been on loan to the 23 school districts in the KY Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC) since 2013 serving as the Strategic Partner Lead.
Daley has a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in political science and economics from Berea College and a master’s degree in history from Western Kentucky University. He began his career as an instructor and the Director of Appalachian Programs at Alice Lloyd College. He and his wife and two best friends started the Troublesome Creek Times newspaper in Knott County in 1980 which he published and edited until 2000. He was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 2017and received the Public Individual Award at the East Kentucky Leadership Conference in 2018.
“While I was fortunate to be a part of teams raising millions of dollars for the college, my greatest joy was working with students as a campus director and at the UCM,” Daley stated. “My most satisfying community and economic development work was the creation of the Distance Earning Initiative.”
Daley said he wishes to continue to make a difference in the lives of Eastern Kentuckians and will work part time with KVEC and continue to research and write about the region. “The future is bright in the region because of what is going on in our K-12 classrooms.”
He intends to reside in Lexington. Ron’s sons are Matthew Daley of Lexington, Paul Daley of Yuba City, California, and stepson Brandon Cornett of Hazard.
“I believe in the mission of the Ford Foundation ‘Rural Community College Initiative’ which states that rural colleges are in the best position of any institution to provide greater access to education, build civic capacity, and be catalysts for economic development in rural America,” Daley added. “HCTC is an important force in growing the regional economy and improving the lives of our citizens.”