Sunday, March 17, 2019

"Willie T" @ 21


UK Libraries main library, the William T. Young Library, will soon celebrate its 21st birthday.  It is recognized as one of the outstanding university library buildings in the United States.  Over the past two decades, the library affectionately called "Willie T" by UK students, has become integral to student success.   
William T. Young, the library's namesake, was also once a UK student.  He was not known as "Willie T," but as "Billy" Young during his student days on campus.  An engineering major with a perfect standing in the college and one of the top ranking students in the University Military department, he served as president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.  He also was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi honorary engineering fraternity.
As a 21 year old UK senior in 1939, the Kentucky Kernel named "Billy" Young "Colonel of the Week" for being elected as UK's official delegate to the ODK National Convention at Washington and Lee University.
Kentucky Kernel, March 24, 1939

Friday, March 8, 2019

LOUIE B. NUNN, 1924-2004

Governor Louie B. Nunn was born 94 years ago today.  As Governor from 1967 to 1971 he also served as Chair of the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees.

Nunn may have been one of the last great storytelling Kentucky politicians.  He told me once about a county judge in a neighboring county.  Nunn, who was also a county judge at the time, helped the judge get elected and also helped him set up his office.  The judge happened to be a lay preacher and very religious.

When Nunn ran against his former law school classmate Marlow Cook for governor in the Republican primary in 1967, Cook visited the neighboring county for a political event.  The county judge, who Nunn had helped get elected, sat up on the platform with Cook along with other county leaders.

The next time Nunn was in the county the judge made a point of reminding Nunn that he was for him in the upcoming election.  He told Nunn that he had to sit on that platform with everybody else and insisted, "Now you know I’m for you against Cook."  Nunn replied, "I know that, Judge, I never worried about you being for me.  We've been friends all these years and I know you're for me." 
The lay preacher/county judge then said to Nunn, "I want to ask you one thing.  Is that fella Cook given to foul language?"  Without any hesitation Nunn replied with emphasis, "Just when he's drinking, Judge, just when he's drinking."  Nunn knew that would make sure the judge would never be for Cook and remembered having a good laugh all the way home at Marlow Cook's expense.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

DR. JANE HASELDEN, 1903-1991

Jane Haselden, a Lancaster, Kentucky native, graduated from Transylvania University in 1926 with a degree in French.  As a graduation present her parents sent Haselden to study in Paris for a year.  

Following her return to the United States she became a teacher, first in Beattyville, Kentucky and subsequently in her hometown of Lancaster.  While in Beattyville, Haselden achieved some notoriety for coaching the boys' basketball team at the local high school.  

During summers Haselden worked toward a master's degree at Columbia University, a goal she achieved in 1932.  After serving as Dean of Women at both Transylvania University and Murray State Teachers College in Western Kentucky, Haselden completed a Ph.D. in Psychology at UK.

Haselden also held a pilot’s license.  She and Anna Mayrell Johnson jointly owned an airplane and were known to rush out to the local airport during their lunch breaks to fly their plane over Lexington.  One time Haselden even flew her plane over Stoll Field during a football game between Kentucky and Alabama.  

Haselden and Johnson actively participated in the Kentucky chapter of the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots affiliated with the National Aeronautic Association in Washington D.C.  Haselden recalled that as the war began "casual flying" came to an end because the war changed things for everyone.   She was one of only three women who were members of the committee which drafted Kentucky's civil aviation regulations.

For additional information see:  (Transylvania University)

Dean of Women Papers, Special Collections Research Center, UK Libraries

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, UK Libraries
Interview with Jane Haselden, October 17, 1989
Interview with Jane Haselden, October 27, 1989

Thursday, February 21, 2019


February 22, 2019 marks the University of Kentucky's 154th birthday.  To celebrate the conclusion of UK's centennial celebration in 1966, the university invited then UN Ambassador Arthur Goldberg to speak at the Founders Day Convocation and to receive an honorary degree.

Ambassador Arthur Goldberg receiving honorary degree from the
University of Kentucky at the 1966 Founders Day Convocation.

Prior to becoming ambassador in 1965, Goldberg served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1962 to 1965.  Ambassador Goldberg said that he left the court and accepted the UN appointment, in part, to help bring an end to the devastating war in Vietnam.  At the UK convocation, Ambassador Goldberg noted that the "national debate on America's Vietnam policy has shown a remarkable consensus.

Ambassador Arthur Goldberg speaking at a press conference prior to the Founders Day Convocation.  Left to right, Governor Edward T. "Ned" Breathitt, Ambassador Goldberg, and UK President John Oswald.

But on the UK campus in February 1966 there seemed to be little consensus.  Protests and counter protests marred Ambassador Goldberg's visit to UK as anti-war picketers in front of Memorial Coliseum were pelted with eggs.  According to the Kentucky Kernel:

"The pickets, many of them members of the campus Students for a Democratic Society, were surrounded by approximately 200 onlookers shortly after they began their protest about 1:30 p.m. Just before 2 p.m., students with eggs concealed in their pockets infiltrated the crowd, and the barrage began.  Shells cracked on the heads, clothes, and signs of the picketers, oozing yellow yolk and sticky white. Most of the missiles broke on the sidewalk, as the throwers sacrificed accuracy for anonymity."

Just six months after his UK visit, anti-war protesters in Chicago reminded a national television audience during the Democratic Convention that "the whole world is watching."  Ambassador Goldberg left his post at the UN in 1968 before achieving his goals regarding Vietnam.  What was at the time America's longest war would not officially end until 1975.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


Keys sophomore men's honorary sponsored their "first annual Valentine's Day Dance" in 1953.  "The informal, all-student dance, the first big social event of the second semester," was held in the Student Center Ballroom from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.  Clyde Trask and his Orchestra provided the music.  All dormitory and sorority girls were granted "1:30 a.m. permission" for the occasion.

The dance featured the crowning of a Valentine Queen chosen from fraternity and dormitory nominees from the sophomore class.  An "applause meter" determined the winner during intermission with the Queen receiving a trophy from Key's president, Carl Kennedy.  Chaperones Dean Sarah Holmes, Captain G.G. Williamson, and Dr. J.D. Kemp were the "official readers" of the "applause meter."

Kentucky Kernel, February 13, 1953

Monday, February 11, 2019


A contentious and parliamentary confusing meeting of the University of Kentucky Student Government Association on October 3, 1968 made history.  Ultimately, by a 15-15 vote, a bill requesting that "Dixie" be played at UK athletic events failed.  The SGA chambers were filled with various student groups both for and against the bill.

Photo by Dick Ware
The issue of "Dixie" had simmered for several weeks before the SGA vote.  At the September 21 football game at Stoll Field, many in the crowd encouraged the UK band to play "Dixie."  Some observers thought the band played "Dixie" as the crowd left the stadium following the game.  Asked if "Dixie" would be played at future games, band director Harry Clarke would only say, "We'll just have to wait and see."  Acting UK President Albert D. "Ab" Kirwan added that, "If they have discontinued the song, I heartedly concur, but I didn't order it."

Kentucky Kernel, October 7, 1968, Guy Mendes

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


UK Heating Plant, 1918
December 1917 through January 1918 was one of the coldest and snowiest periods ever recorded in Kentucky.  For 12 consecutive days that winter the temperature remained at zero or below.

Read more here:

The small heating plant behind the Main Building on the UK campus struggled to provide sufficient heat.  Eventually, chapel exercises in the Main Building were cancelled until warmer weather returned.  Nevertheless, classes continued on a normal schedule for the 719 students.