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The University of Kentucky, also known as UK, is a public, co-educational, university, and is also the state's land-grant university, located in Lexingtonmarker, Kentuckymarker. Founded in 1865 by John Bowman as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky, the university is the largest in the Commonwealth by enrollment, with 27,209 students, and is also the highest ranked research university in the state, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Colleges and Programs

The university is home to 16 colleges, a graduate school, 93 undergraduate programs, 99 master programs, 66 doctoral programs, and four professional programs. The University of Kentucky has fifteen libraries on campus. The largest is William T.marker Young Librarymarker, a federal depository, hosting subjects related to social sciences, humanities and life sciences collections. The university currently has an endowment of $831 million.

Recent Years

In recent years, the university has focused expenditures increasingly on research, following a compact formed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1997. The directive mandated that the university become a Top 20 public research institution, in terms of an overall ranking to be determined by the university itself, by the year 2020.


Memorial Hall on the University of Kentucky campus.

John Bryan Bowman founded the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky (A&M), a publicly chartered department of Kentucky University, after receiving federal support through the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act in 1865. Courses were offered at Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate. Three years later, James Kennedy Patterson became the first president of the land-grant university and the first degree was awarded. In 1876, the university began to offer Master's degree programs. Two years later, A&M separated from Kentucky University, which is now Transylvania Universitymarker. For the new school, Lexington donated a 52 acre (210,000 m²) park and fair ground, which became the core of UK's present campus. A&M was initially a male-only institution, but began to admit women in 1880.

In 1882, the official colors of the university, royal blue and white, were adopted. An earlier color set, blue and light yellow, was adopted earlier at a Kentucky-Centre Collegemarker football game on December 19, 1891. The particular hue of blue was determined from a necktie, which was used to demonstrate the color of royal blue.

On February 15, 1882, Administration Building was the first building of three completed on the present campus.

Three years later, the college expanded with the formation of the Agricultural Experiment Station, which provided research results to farmers throughout the state, addressing issues relating to agribusiness, food processing, nutrition, water and soil resources and the environment. This was followed up by the creation of the university's Agricultural Extension service in 1910, which was one of the first in the United Statesmarker. The extension service became a mode of the federally mandated programs that were required beginning in 1914.

The school's first women's dormitory, Patterson Hall, was constructed in 1904. Residents had to cross a swampy depression, where the student center now stands, to reach central campus. Four years later, the school's name was changed to the "State University, Lexington, Kentucky" upon reaching university status, and then to the "University of Kentucky" in 1916.

In 1912, the University of Kentucky's graduate school opened, offering bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees relating to Master of arts, Master of Science, Civil Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Mining Engineer and Doctor of Philosophy, followed by the founding of the College of Commerce in 1925, known today as the Gatton College of Business and Economics.

In 1924, Memorial Hallmarker was completed, dedicated to the 2,756 Kentuckians who died in World War I. This was followed up by the new King Librarymarker, which opened in 1931 and was named for a long-time library director, Margaret I. King.

The university became racially integrated in 1949 when Lyman T. Johnson, an African American, won a lawsuit to be admitted to the graduate program.

Ground was broken for the Albert B. Chandler Hospital in 1955, when Governor of Kentucky A. B. "Happy" Chandler recommended that the Kentucky General Assembly appropriate $5 million for the creation of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and a medical center at the university. This was completed after a series of studies were conducted that highlighted the health needs of the citizens, as well as the need to train more physicians for the state. Five years later, the College of Medicine and College of Nursing opened, followed by the College of Dentistry in 1962.

Authorized by the Kentucky General Assembly and signed by Governor Bert Combs in March 6, 1962, a mandate was placed upon the University of Kentucky to form a community college system. Two years later, the Board of Trustees implements the legislation and established the Community College System, creating centers in Covingtonmarker, Ashlandmarker, Fort Knoxmarker, Cumberlandmarker, Hendersonmarker and Elizabethtownmarker. In 1969, the Patterson Office Tower was completed, currently the tallest building on campus.

Miller Hall
In May 1970, students at the university began protesting the shootings at Kent State Universitymarker. In response, Governor Louie Nunn deferred to the National Guard in an attempt to disperse the protesters. An outdated ROTC building was destroyed by fire. Nine years later, the Singletary Center for the Arts opened, named in honor of former university president Otis Singletary.

In 1979, the University of Kentucky hosted the first Kentucky Women Writers Conference, which is now the longest-running conference of its kind. The Kentucky Women Writers Conference is now in its 29th year and will be help September 11-13, 2008 at the University of Kentucky and throughout the Lexington community.

In 1997, the Kentucky General Assembly reorganized the community college system, withdrawing the university's jurisdiction from all but the Lexington Community College. The other colleges were merged with the Kentucky Technical College system and were placed under a separate board of control.

On April 3, 1998, numerous neighborhood homes were demolished and neighbors forced to leave their homes to make way for the William T.marker Young Librarymarker, which was the largest university project at the time of completion. The six-level William T. Young Library was constructed on south campus and the largest book endowment among all public university libraries in the country. Nine-years later, on April 13, 2007, an entire city block of neighborhood homes were demolished and ground was broken for the Biological Pharmaceutical Complex Building, the largest planned academic building in the state of Kentucky, and one of the largest in the United Statesmarker. The Biological Pharmaceutical Complex Building complements the adjacent Biomedical Biological Science Research Building, and is expected to be part of the new university research campus. Other recent announcements include the construction of the new $450 million Albert B. Chandler Hospital, which will be one of the largest projects in the state's history in terms of size and economic impact.


On January 12, 2007, the university's "Domestic Partner Benefits Committee" unanimously voted recommending domestic partner benefits, such as health insurance and employee education benefits, to homosexual couples and unmarried heterosexual couples to help enhance the university's competitiveness in attracting top faculty and staff, part of the "Top 20" plan. The program stemmed from a work-life survey of university employees in 2005 and 2006, and led to several proposals to improve employee conditions that would affect 13,600 employees, of which 68 are same-sex partners, and 272 opposite-sex partners. The estimated cost of the original domestic partner benefits program would be $633,000 annually, less than 1% of the university's $68.2 million annual health care budget; 40% of which would be paid from the university's undesignated general funds, with the remainder coming from various grants, contracts, athletics, and hospital revenues.

The measure was supported by the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, but opposed by the Family Trust Foundation and The Family Foundation of Kentucky. The measure was also opposed by state House Republican Stan Lee, who filed a bill to ban domestic partner coverage at Kentucky's public universities, and by state Senate Republican Vernie McGaha, who sponsored Senate Bill 152 to ban state and local governments, public and private colleges, and some quasi-government institutions from offering domestic partner benefits. Both bills were never passed.

University President Lee T. Todd, Jr. endorsed the benefits proposal on April 24, 2007. The original proposal was slated to go into effect on July 1 with the university being only the second public college in the state to offer such benefits. Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo stated on June 1, 2007, however, that the benefits package violated the constitutional definition of marriage.

On June 18, the "Sponsored Benefits Plan", an amended plan that eliminates the conflict with the definition of marriage in the Kentucky Constitution, took effect on July 1. The revised plan uses no state appropriated funds.

Lexington Herald-Leader articles on December 10, 2008 and February 10, 2009 discussed the controversy over the proposal that the entire UK campus would be made tobacco free. Following a failed attempt by the UK Task Force to extend the ban to public sidewalks, the campus wide ban was implemented November 19,2009 with lax enforcement.


Completed in 1998, the William T.
Young Library serves both the university campus and the Commonwealth of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky is home to numerous notable structures, such as Main Building, a four-story administration building dating to 1882, which was gutted by fire on May 15, 2001. The cause of the blaze was attributed to a welders torch during repairs to the building's roof. Total costs for reconstruction after the fire exceeded $17 million. The Patterson Office Tower is the tallest building on campus. The university is also home to several major construction projects, including the new Albert B. Chandler Hospital and the Biological Pharmaceutical Complex Building, which will be the largest academic building in the state.

The University of Kentucky once operated 14 community colleges with more than 100 extended sites, centers and campuses under the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, but relinquished control under the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997. The network of community colleges is now known as the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). Adjoining Lexington Community Collegemarker, despite the reorganization of the community colleges, remained integrated with the university, but separated from the University of Kentucky in 2004 and became a part of KCTCS.

The College of Engineering currently operates a satellite campus in Paducahmarker, located on the campus of West Kentucky Community and Technical Collegemarker.

Campus Safety

The University of Kentucky campus area has been the scene of multiple incidents. On July 17, 1994, a sniper hiding in bushes along Woodland Ave. near campus shot and killed UK football player Trent Digiuro as he sat on the front porch of his house celebrating his upcoming 21st birthday. The gunman's alleged motive was being blackballed from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. UK Student Shane Ragland pled guilty to manslaughter and DiGiuro's parents later won a $60 million civil penalty.

On August 29, 1997 UK student Christopher Maier and a girlfriend were attacked while walking along railroad tracks near the UK campus after a party. Maier was bludgeoned to death and the girl was raped and beaten but survived. "Railroad killer" Ángel Maturino Reséndiz later confessed to the crime.

On May 2, 2002 UK students Jeffrey Pfetzer and Matthew Rzepka were roughhousing on the third floor of UK's Kirwan tower high rise when they fell against a window that broke. Both men fell to their deaths. The cause of the accident was attributed to the use of plate glass in the building, rather than stronger tempered glass .

On April 3, 2006 the Lexington Herald Leader reported that 7 to 10 gunshots were fired outside the Kirwan-Blanding dormitory complex around 3:15 am. No one was injured, but a bullet pierced a 12th floor window in Kirwan Tower. A 22-year-old man was beaten, according to Maj. Joe Monroe of UK Police.

On September 23, 2006, UK student Lauren Fannin and friend Lindsey Harp were swept into a storm drain and drowned near the UK campus after stepping out of a taxi cab into flooded Nicholasville Rd. Neighbors had repeatedly warned UK officials that increased paving of fields near Commonwealth Stadium would cause increased flooding.

Academics and demographics

The university features 16 colleges, a graduate school, 93 undergraduate programs, 99 master programs, 66 doctoral programs, and four professional programs.


The university is home to 15 campus libraries. Among them is the William T.marker Young Librarymarker, which houses the university's social sciences, humanities and life sciences collections; the library also acts as a federal depository and a public library for the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

  • Agricultural Information Center
  • Chemistry-Physics Library
  • Design Library
  • Distance Learning Library Services
  • Education Library
  • Geological Sciences Library
  • Law Library
  • Library Link at the Patterson Office Tower
  • Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center
  • Mathematical Sciences Library
  • Medical Center Library
  • Shaver Engineering Library
  • Special Collections and Digital Programs
  • William T. Young Library



Currently the university's undergraduate program is ranked 122nd in the nation, and tied with the Catholic University of Americamarker, according to U.S. News & World Report's college rankings. The University of Kentucky has "Top 20" programs in:

The university ranks 137th in the world as a "top level institution" for finance and economics research output.

The university also ranks 19th in the nation among public research universities based upon the level of faculty scholarly activity, according to the 2005 Faculty Scholarly Activity Index.

U.S. News and World Report has ranked several of the University of Kentucky's graduate programs, including the College of Law, the College of Medicine, and the College of Pharmacy.

Research and endowment

The University of Kentucky currently has an endowment of $831.8 million, as of 2007. Prior endowments were $538.4 million in 2005 and $195.1 million in 1997, the rapid increases partially attributed to the "Top 20" Plan. Currently, the William T.marker Young Librarymarker book endowment is the largest among public universities in the United States.


The University of Kentucky hosts the annual Kentucky Foreign Language Conference. The 2008 conference (April 17–19) was the 61st annual.

"Top 20 Plan"

In 1997, the Kentucky General Assembly formed a compact with the university. The Top 20 Plan mandates that the University of Kentucky becomes a Top 20 public research university by 2020. According to the compact, states with "Top 20" universities feature higher average household incomes, higher education attainments, healthier lives and more financial security. As a result, fewer citizens live in poverty and as a result, fewer public dollars are spent on health care. The plan would also spur technological advancements due to university-based research and increase the marketability of the state to investors.

As part of the "Top 20" plan, the university plans to,
  1. Increase enrollment by 7,000 students to 34,000;
  2. Increase the state's highest graduation rate by 12% to 72%;
  3. Increase the number of faculty by 625 to total 2,500;
  4. Increase research expenditures by $470 million to total $768 million per year; and
  5. Increase the university's role in Kentucky's "schools, farms, businesses and communities."

The "Top 20" plan has already produced results,
  1. Total enrollment increased from 24,061 in 1996 to 26,440 in 2004, an increase of 2,379.
  2. The six-year graduation rate increased from 59.5 percent in 1998 to 61.2 percent in 2007.
  3. Research expenditures increased from $124.8 million in 1996 to $297.6 million in 2003. It dipped slightly to $274 million for 2005. It is currently ranked 28th among public universities in sponsored research.
  4. Endowment increased from $195.1 million in 1997 to $538.4 million in 2005.

In 2000, to help finance the "Top 20" plan, the university launched "The Campaign for the University of Kentucky", a $600 million fundraising effort that was used to "enhance facilities, academic programs, public service, and scholarships." It passed that goal and the effort was raised to $1 billion. In March 2007, $1.022 billion was raised, months before the fundraising effort was set to end.

According to the Statewide Facilities Condition Assessment Report released on April 4, 2007, the University needs $12.5 billion to complete the 1997 mandate to become a "Top 20" institution.

On August 17, 2008 The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Forbes Magazine ranked UK number 468 (out of 569 colleges surveyed) on its list of "America's Best Colleges 2008".

Student life

The university offers seven main dining facilities, 23 residence halls, and numerous recreation facilities spread between three distinct campuses: north, south, and central. It is also home to more than 250 student-run organizations.


Beginning in the 1890s, students at the A&M scheduled football games with neighboring colleges. In 1902, the basketball program began on campus, originally as a women's sport; a men's team was added one year later. The "Wildcats" became associated with the university shortly after a football victory over Illinois on October 9, 1909. The then-chief of the military department, Commandant Carbuiser, stated that the team had "fought like wildcats." The slogan was later adopted by the university, and a costumed mascot debuted in 1976.

In 1930, then-high school coach Adolph Rupp was hired as a basketball coach for the university, a career that would span over 40 years until 1972. During his tenure, he lead the Wildcats to four NCAA championships in 1948, 1949, 1951 and 1958. The Wildcats later won a fifth championship under Joe B. Hall in 1978, another in 1996 under Rick Pitino and its last under Orlando "Tubby" Smith in 1998. In 2007, the University of Kentucky named Billy Gillispie as the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team. On March 30, 2009, the University of Kentucky named John Calipari as the next head coach of the men's basketball team.

The university also boasts a cross country national team championship (women's, 1988), eight individual championships in gymnastics, an Olympic medalist in track and field, and 17 national championships in cheerleading.

Other athletic programs sponsored at the varsity level include baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country running, football, men's and women's golf, women's gymnastics, the coeducational sport of rifle, men's and women's soccer, women's softball, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field and women's volleyball. The school also has a popular club-level men's ice hockey team.

The University of Kentucky football coach is Rich Brooks. Brooks has led the Wildcats to three straight bowl games, all resulting in victories, a first in the school's history. Wins in the Music City Bowl in 2006 and 2007 were followed by victory in the 2009 Liberty Bowl (at the end of the 2008 season). The only other Wildcats coach to lead the team to three consecutive bowl appearances was Bear Bryant in the 1949-1951 seasons, respectively the Orange Bowl (loss), Sugar Bowl (win) and Cotton Bowl Classic (win).


Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement, convocation and athletic games is the University of Kentucky fight song: On, On, U of K.

Greek life

Nineteen sororities and twenty-six fraternities serve the university, representing over 3,000 students with a budget of $3.2 million per year. The governing bodies include the National Panhellenic Council, an organization for nine historically black organizations, international Greek assemblies, the National Panhellenic Conference for sororities and the Interfratnerity Council for the fraternities.


The University of Kentucky has many student-based service and advocacy groups. The Center for Community Outreach is the university's largest volunteer organization host 2 of the largest events on campus, UKFUSION and DanceBlue Dance Marathon.

Student Government

In the spring of 2003, two time President of the Student Government Tim Robinson pleaded guilty in Fayette County Circuit Court to charges of interfering with voter registration. He resigned from his position from student government. The charges were the result of Robinson's failure to turn in 747 voter registration cards to the County Clerk. A voter registration drive was meant to threaten members of the city council that proposed laws to curb student partying.


The University of Kentucky is currently served by two independent FM stations. The first, 91.3 FM WUKY, is an Triple-A station and was the first university-owned FM radio station in the United Statesmarker and Kentuckymarker's first public radio station. The operations started on October 17, 1940 as WBKYmarker out of Beattyvillemarker, although the station moved five years later to Lexington.

The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was the home of one of the earliest college amateur radio stations in the United States, beginning with W4JP that began continuous operation prior to World War I. The station broadcasted until amateur radio licenses were granted by the US Government. In 1971, the station was one of the first to carry NPR's "All Things Considered" and helped debut National Public Radio, changing its call letters to WUKY in 1989 to better reflect its affiliation with the university. In 2007, it became the first Lexington radio station to broadcast in high-definition digital radio.

The second is 88.1 FM WRFL which has been in operation since 1988. WRFL is operated by students and broadcasts live 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and features music that is spread across most genres.

The campus is also served by the Kentucky Kernel, a student-run, financially independent daily newspaper, with the first issue published in 1915. The official yearbook of the University of Kentucky is the Kentuckian, first published in 1906. The Kentuckian was preceded by at least one previous book, the Echo.


The university has over 140,246 alumni in the state of Kentucky, 216,737 in the United Statesmarker, and 1,119 internationally. The University of Kentucky Alumni Association is the primary affiliation for former students and faculty, and is located at the corner of Rose Street and Euclid Avenue. The building, dedicated in 1963, is named for Helen G. King, the first permanent director of the association and was former "Miss University of Kentucky." The association also meets at Spindletop Hall, a large mansion along Iron Works Pike, which serves as a central alumni gathering point.

The University of Kentucky boasts seven governors, including current Governor of Kentucky Steve Beshear, current Governor of Ohio Ted Strickland, current Governor of North Carolina Beverly Perdue, and former governors Ernie Fletcher, Paul E. Patton and Tom Jefferson Terral, and former governor, U.S. Senator and Commissioner of Major League Baseball Albert "Happy" Chandler. It also claims Ken Lucas, a former U.S. representative from the commonwealth's fourth congressional district, current U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, Carol Gatton, an automobile dealer executive and donor of the largest gift ever to the university, and Paul Chellgren, Chairman and CEO of Ashland Inc.. The university was also the home of Dr. Thomas Hunt Morgan, a scientist and winner of the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and William Lipscomb, 1976 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Image:Thomas_Hunt_Morgan.jpg|Thomas Hunt Morgan, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and father of modern geneticsImage:Mitch McConnell official photo.jpg|Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senator, current Senate Minority LeaderImage:Ashley Judd head.jpg|Ashley Judd, actress

Points of interest

See also


  6. NRC Rankings
  10. Referenced from and

External links

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