Advancing Kentucky: UK alumnus Colby Hall working to better his Appalachian home

By Ann Blackford Dec. 8, 2023

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 8, 2023)  When Colby Hall graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and biological sciences, he had no idea his career path would lead him to his current position as executive director at Shaping our Appalachian Region Inc. (SOAR), a position he has held since 2020. SOAR is a regional nonprofit focused on economic revitalization in Kentucky’s 54 Appalachian counties through local projects and programs.

However, every step of Hall’s journey so far has prepared him for the career he believes he was destined for, and that destiny is to bring hope and real-life solutions to the people in his Appalachian Kentucky home following the decline of the coal industry.

A native of Somerset, Kentucky, Hall credits his parents for shaping the person he is today by instilling in him a strong work ethic and living by the golden rule. These core values followed him to UK where he excelled as a student in the Honors program. He was also active in student organizations like DanceBlue, the Student Government Association, Alpha Tau Omega and Sigma Delta Pi Fraternities and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass. He held leadership positions in several of these organizations.

Hall specifically recalls some of his experiences while participating in DanceBlue. Learning how to look outside himself at the challenges that other people face, in this case, young children, no doubt only strengthened his innate ability to empathize with other people as he does on a daily basis at SOAR.

“I participated in DanceBlue all four years and at the time, it had a large impact on my world view. It showed me that this life, outside my life as a student, is so much bigger than mine. I thought I had challenges as a college student but those challenges don’t compare to what children dealing with serious illness deal with,” Hall said.