Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The not so tranquil Thanksgiving of 1959


When someone mentions students riots one immediately thinks of students in the 1960's and early 1970's demonstrating in support of the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the anti-war movement, or any number of student movements from that time.

At least some UK students decided to disrupt the "tranquility" of the 1950's by engaging in a demonstration on the UK campus and through the streets of Lexington which was reported in detail in the November 24, 1959 Kernel.  What major societal issue could cause such a student disturbance in 1959?  Well, students wanted a holiday from class the day before Thanksgiving. 

The problem began a year earlier in 1958.  Following UK's 6-2 football victory over Tennessee.  Governor Albert B. "Happy" Chandler, a huge UK sports fan and Chair of the UK Board of Trustees, proclaimed the Wednesday before Thanksgiving a state holiday in recognition of UK's victory over the Vols effectively dismissing classes at UK that day.  Governor Chandler claimed to have no knowledge of the UK faculty's earlier decision not to dismiss classes that day.  All of this placed UK President Frank Dickey in a nearly impossible position.

In 1959 some students requested that classes be dismissed again on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  The UK faculty voted not to dismiss classes and the trouble ensued.

The day after a demonstration through downtown Lexington a second protest march by the students was held on campus.


To this day a debate continues among most colleges and universities about how best to handle classes the week of Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  



Saturday, November 18, 2017

UK Provost

As the university searches for a provost it seems a good time to look back at UK's previous provosts.  In its over 150 year history the University of Kentucky has had only seven provosts:

Elvis Stahr - Law
1954-1957
A. D. Albright - Education
1960-1962















Lewis Cochran - Physics
1965-1967
Mike Nietzel - Psychology
2002-2005















Kumble Subbaswamy - Physics
2006-2012
Christine Riordan - Business
2013-2015















Tim Tracy - Pharmacy
2015-2017













The first provost was not appointed until 1954 and there have been extended periods since when UK operated without a provost.  Instead, a Vice-President for Academic Affairs or a Chancellor of the Lexington Campus served as the chief academic officer for the university.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Armistice Day


1919 Kentuckian Dedication


Armistice Day Celebration 1921
University of Kentucky Cadets
in front of Main Building




Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Adapting to an Urban Campus

Since the first automobiles arrived on campus UK students have been searching for a place to park.  Often the streets around campus became so congested (and still do) that the streets seem more like parking lots.

In the late 1850's Rose Street, seen below to the right and parallel to Limestone, was little more than a quiet country lane.



By the 1920's automobiles had become a major issue on campus as more and more students owned cars.  The student's cars caused headaches for the Deans of Women and Men because it decreased substantially the control they had over their students.  As problematic was the challenge of where to park the increasing numbers of cars each year.  In 1929 the Board of Trustees issued the following rules for automobiles:


Parking on Administration Drive, 1938
By 1964 the Kernel editors were describing campus parking as intolerable.  Every new construction project on the ever expanding campus eliminated parking spaces.  In 1964 the number of student parking spaces were cut in half.

Traffic on Rose Street, both cars and pedestrians became a growing concern.  President Herman Donovan petitioned the city to install "an electric traffic light" at the intersection of Rose and Washington Avenue.  As dormitories and the medical center developed east of Rose Street the number of reports of cars striking students crossing the road increased dramatically.

By the 1960s some people began calling for the closure of Rose Street.  When UK suggested this solution to a Lexington official in 1962 they countered by suggesting that Rose Street be widened to four lanes through the campus.  Surprisingly, after acknowledging the danger to students crossing Rose Street, Kernel editors backed the four lane plan.
Kernel, 1964

Over the past several years portions of Rose Street have been closed to through traffic making the street much safer for UK students.  The recent proposal for UK to "swap" land for control of campus streets could be the beginning of the university's ability to continue enhancing campus safety while at the same time making the campus a more pleasant place to study and work.

Kernel, 2013

Campus parking?  Making progress but still a work in progress!




Tuesday, October 31, 2017

President Otis Singletary Birthday

On this date in 1921 Otis A. Singletary was born in Gulfport, Mississippi.  Today would have been his 96th birthday.  He served as the 8th president of the University of Kentucky from 1969 to 1987.


President Singletary enjoyed having his birthday on Halloween.  During his presidency, UK students would sometimes show up on campus wearing "Singletary masks" celebrating both the president's birthday and Halloween.



In 1981 students serenaded President Singletary in his office for his 60th birthday.



For his 80th birthday, President Singletary, Gloria Singletary, and granddaughter Addie gathered for a birthday celebration in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center along with friends, family, and the UK Singletary Scholars.

Friday, October 20, 2017

UK's First Mascot

UK tradition tells us that the nickname Wildcats became popular soon after UK defeated Illinois in football on October 9, 1909.  Supposedly, Commandant Philip Carbusie, Head of the Military Department, told a group of students in a chapel service following a victory over Illinois that the Kentucky football team had "fought like Wildcats."  The name wildcats soon became synonymous with UK sports teams.
But young Dulaney Lee O'Roark roamed the football field sidelines as the team's mascot before any wildcats!


Dulaney O'Roark, the son of UK engineering graduate student, Lauren Snyder O'Roark and Anna McCormick O'Roark lived across Rose Street from the football field in a house torn down to make way for the King Alumni House.  

Lauren O'Roark served as the university's yearbook editor in 1908 and 1909.  Young Dulaney became the football team's mascot after his father began taking him to football games where Lauren reported on the games and took photographs for the yearbook.  The photo above appeared in the 1910 yearbook.



Dulaney graduated from UK in 1931 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He went on to have a very successful military career serving as a Military Governor of the rural district of Kemnath in Bavaria after World War II and serving in Korea.  He retired from military service as a full colonel.


Dulaney Lee O'Roark, "The Little Wildcat"

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Name That Stadium


At a time when sports arenas and stadiums change names often in order to capture corporate sponsorship, there was a time when names of stadiums lasted far longer.  Still, a look back shows that even in the early 20th century some confusion surrounded UK's iconic Stoll Field located on the current site of the Otis A. Singletary Center for the Arts.  On either side of Stoll Field rose two concrete grandstands that comprised McLean Stadium, home to the football Wildcats until 1972.

Commonwealth Stadium opened in 1973 on the site of the former UK agriculture farm next to Cooper Drive.  In 2000 UK named the playing surface at the stadium C.M. Newton Field.  Commonwealth Stadium became Kroger Field in 2017 with C.M. Newton Field becoming C.M. Newton Grounds.

Stoll Field Plaque, October 14, 1916

In 1936 the Kentucky Kernel reviewed the then short history of its football field and stadium to highlight the confusion about what to call the home of the football Wildcats.

Stoll Field - McLean Stadium



Text of the UK historical marker placed at the site of Stoll Field/McLean Stadium in 2007:

In 1880 the first college football game ever played in the South was held here at what was eventually named Stoll Field. It was dedicated in 1916 at the Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt game and was named in honor of alumnus and long-term Board of Trustees member Judge Richard C. Stoll. The field was the setting of early football games and an integral part of student life. Class of 2007. 

(Reverse) McLean Stadium- This field, which once pastured President Patterson’s cows, was used for military training during WWI and in 1924 it held McLean Stadium. It was named for Price McLean, an engineering student who was fatally injured in a football game in 1923. McLean Stadium was the site of Kentucky football games until they were moved to Commonwealth Stadium in 1972. Class of 2007.