Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Deirdre Scaggs part of Patterson Hall rededication, renaming of four residence halls

Although Patterson Hall may look familiar on the outside, once you step through its doors, you will see the inside of the historical building has been transformed. On Monday, September 12 the University of Kentucky celebrated the renovation of Patterson Hall as well as the many women pioneers who passed through its doors.

UK alumna and former Patterson Hall resident, Myra Tobin, treasures the time she spent in Patterson Hall as a student.

"It was a dorm that had character. It was well built. It was stately. It was right in the center of a beautiful grove of trees. It was a prestigious place to live," Tobin said.

Women were admitted to the university beginning in 1880, but they were not permitted to live on campus until Patterson Hall opened in 1904.

"Patterson Hall had a meaning that went far beyond just a place where students lived," said Deirdre Scaggs, associate dean of UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center.

As the first women's dormitory, the hall gave female students the chance to further their education and truly experience campus life — an opportunity they had not had before.

"It is important that we not forget the legacy of those pioneers and then how we cast the buildings around it to further remember that we didn’t just have a founding father at the University of Kentucky," said President Eli Capilouto. "Our history is built on the endurance and perseverance of — what I like to say — ‘our founding mothers.’"

Through the doors of Patterson Hall passed many of the university's women pioneers including Sarah Bennett Holmes, Cleona Belle Matthews Boyd, Georgia M. Blazer and Frances Jewell. As the university celebrates the transformation of Patterson Hall, it is also celebrating the legacies those women left behind.

"This place, that building, its halls and its ground are hallowed and sacred because these people had to go through something that was difficult in their time," Capilouto said.

Outdated residence halls bearing the names of these four women were torn down to make way for UK's recent residential transformation. During the September 12 ceremony, UK formally announced the renaming of four north campus residence halls surrounding Patterson Hall to honor these women. Champions Court I has been named Frances Jewell Hall. Champions Court II has been named Georgia M. Blazer Hall. Limestone Park I has been named Sarah Bennett Holmes Hall. Limestone Park II has been named Cleona Belle Matthews Boyd Hall.

As renovation began on Patterson Hall, the design team reviewed original plans in order to best capture and preserve the building in a way that will better serve current and future students. During the renovation, many remnants of the past were found throughout the building including a 1906-07 class assignment schedule and old postcards.

"It should be a tribute to what UK was and where it’s going in the future," said Mary Vosevich, UK vice president for facilities management.

"I think you need bridges to the past and Patterson Hall is one of those bridges," said Tobin.

Photo courtesy of UK Public Relations & Marketing

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