Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Turn Towards Science and Research

As the calendar turned to 1898 the University of Kentucky began a new era in scientific education and research with the dedication of the new Natural Science Building.  President James K. Patterson gave the welcoming address at the dedication ceremonies.  Unfortunately, he had broken his left leg over the holiday break.  With no use of his right leg which had been injured in a childhood accident, Patterson was unable to walk and "was carried by four stalwart soldiers (student cadets) to the dedicatory exercises."

In his dedicatory speech President Patterson reflected on the lack of attention paid to scientific discovery and education in Kentucky's past.  But with the new science building he predicted that the University of Kentucky (then known as State College) "must take the lead in the field of scientific study and investigation in this Commonwealth and among her sister States of the South."  The President called upon the state legislature "representing the intelligence and pride and patriotism of Kentucky" to provide the "material resources by which this may be accomplished."

The editors of The Cadet (student newspaper) joined in the celebration of the new building by noting that, "Not only is the study of natural science enhanced, but the work and reputation of the college will reap beneficial results.  We tip our hat to the new Science Hall.  Long may she stand."

The new Natural Science Building (now Miller Hall) was completed December 10, 1897 at a cost of $27,000 which included $5,000 for equipment.  The building "was erected by Lexington contractors" and all of the electrical wiring "was done exclusively by the students of the college."  All of the brick work for  the new building "was contracted for and done exclusively" by African-American workers.

Included in the three story building were botany, zoology, anatomy and physiology, and geology and paleontology.  The basement was "to be used for fish ponds and incubators."

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Medical Center Moving Day, 1959

Fifty-eight years ago a Kentucky Kernel headline announced that, "Medical Staff Begins Trek To New Home."  The move actually began a month ahead of schedule on December 16, 1959 after arrangements were made with the contractors to allow staff and equipment to begin moving into the lower floors even as construction continued on the upper floors of the six-story structure.

Medical Center under construction in 1959 on former College of Agriculture land.  Within a decade the field behind the Medical Center would become the Kirwan-Blanding Complex now designated for demolition.  Commonwealth Stadium (now Kroger Field) opened on the land in the upper section of the photograph in 1973.
Prior to the move the first medical departments created at UK had been housed in "borrowed facilities across the campus including a basement, an old farm house, a converted classroom, a livestock pavilion, and storage areas"  Research equipment would be ordered new and installed directly into the new medical facility.  The medical library was also one of the first units to move.

The creation of a medical center at the University of Kentucky during the mid-twentieth century became one of the most important decisions in Kentucky history.  There were many people at UK and across Kentucky who made this extraordinary achievement possible.  Today, Kentuckians across the commonwealth benefit from the medical care and research provided by the A. B. Chandler Hospital and UK Healthcare.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Sounds of Campus

Cadets 1906
UK Cadets with their Bugles
The early years of the UK campus resembled an army camp almost as much as a college.  All men students served in the Cadet Corps and wore their uniforms.  Marching drills were held on the large lawn in front of the Main Building.  In line with this military environment a bugle rang out on the hour to indicate the time to change classes.

By 1911 the university introduced a new way of letting students and faculty know it was time to change classes - a steam whistle.  Apparently the whistle was so loud that it not only alerted UK students to changed classes but annoyed most of the citizens of Lexington. Nevertheless, the whistle continued its hourly alerts for 7 years.

In 1918 a new bell system was introduced to the campus which, I suspect, students, faculty, staff, and townspeople all welcomed!

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
A. D. Albright - Education

Lewis Cochran - Physics
Mike Nietzel - Psychology

Kumble Subbaswamy - Physics
Christine Riordan - Business

Tim Tracy - Pharmacy

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.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

UK Students, Please Take a Bath!

Water has always been important to UK and sometimes a scarce commodity. 

October 7-13 is University of Kentucky Water Week, "a week of films, panel discussions, invited speakers and service activities examining climate change impacts on water quality" sponsored by the Colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering, and the Kentucky Geological Survey, all of which are members of the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment’s water systems working group. Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute is also a collaborator.

The focus on water reminded me that in 1930, in addition to economic woes brought on by the Great Depression, Lexington and the University of Kentucky faced a severe drought that put the region's water supply in jeopardy.

During a gathering in Memorial Hall for the first convocation of the 1930 school year, President Frank McVey advised the students that if they had been in the habit of taking a daily bath that they should consider taking one "every other night."  If they had been "taking one every other night, take two baths a week."  But if any student had been taking only one bath a week, McVey encouraged those students "for goodness sake keep that up!"

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Depicting UK Women Students

Hugh Hefner's passing is being marked by the ongoing controversy regarding his objectification of women.  Unfortunately, the University of Kentucky has a long history of emphasizing women's physical appearance more that their intellectual ability and presenting images of women as sexual objects.

The first woman to be recognized at a UK commencement in 1884, Leanora Hoening, received more comments about her appearance that her academic achievement. A reported wrote that she "was a fresh, healthy young woman, with an eye as full and bright as a dove's, and the head of a Greek Venus on a neck like a lily-stalk.  She was a happy, wholesome, appetizing creature, with an expression of frank good-fellowship about her, well mingled with a becoming and maidenly modesty.  

Writing in 1916 about Margaret Ingels, UK's first woman graduate in Engineering, a reporter noted breathlessly that Ingles was not of the "mannish" type but rather "ladylike" and added that, "she is medium height (about five feet two inches) and of slender figure.  She is really pretty; has large, intelligent gray eyes, the slightly tanned complexion of the outdoor girl and the long upper lip that denotes a poetical temperament and a love of ease and luxury.  But this feature is given the lie by the strength of her chin and the way she closes her mouth as she works."

Kentucky Kernel Front Page, January 18, 1957
By the mid-twentieth century the Kentucky Kernel represented the changing culture in it pages by portraying women students  as "Kernel Kuties" or "Kernel Pin-Ups."  

Front Page Kentucky Kernel, September 28, 1950

What will this generation of women students demand from the popular culture in regard to the representation of women on campuses across the United States?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Learning A Skill...Learning To Live

The debate over "liberal" versus science and "practical" studies is as old as the University of Kentucky itself.  Founded in 1865 following the Morrill Act that intended to support agricultural and mechanical education and access to public higher education generally, UK's early history illustrates the persistent tension between "practical" and "liberal" education.

The details of the early debates are presented in James Hopkins, The University of Kentucky: Origins and Early Years (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1951) and J. Allen Smith, College of Agriculture, University of Kentucky, Early and Middle Years, 1865-1951).  

President James K. Patterson, UK's first president and a central figure in the debates, received a "liberal" education at Hanover College and his intellectual interests focused primarily on philosophical studies.  Many believed that he hindered the growth of UK's science, engineering, and agricultural programs because of his own background and intellectual interests.

As explained by Smith, "In an 1880 report...he (Patterson) contrasted eloquently and convincingly the agriculture and mechanical colleges conducted under the 'narrow gauge' view with those conducted under the 'broad gauge’ view, to the great advantage of the latter, and he declared the intent of the Morrill Act of 1862 was 'to make scientific and technical education the privilege of all, and not the prerogative of the few...to dignify labor and ennoble toil by making the agriculturist and the mechanic the equal in intelligence, in culture, in breadth of information, and in nobleness of aim of those in any rank and in any profession of life."

Unfortunately, the debate over “liberal’ versus “practical” education continues in 2017.  People outside the academy somehow feel the need to pit interpretive dance against STEM majors, English against engineering, art against agriculture, and foreign language against business.  But within the university there is tremendous cooperation among the colleges.  I believe President Patterson would be very pleased with the scope and breadth of his university today and the opportunities that UK students have to learn a skill and learn to live.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wendell Ford - Last Governor to Serve as UK Board Chair

Today is Wendell Hampton Ford's birthday (September 8, 1924 – January 22, 2015).  He would have been 93.

Wendell Ford served Kentucky as State Senator, Lt. Governor, Governor, and U.S. Senator.  His passing in 2015 brought tributes to his life and service from all levels of government.

Senator Ford attended the University of Kentucky during the 1942-1943 academic year leaving to return to Davies County to help on his family's farm before entering the military during World War II.  Upon becoming Governor in 1971, like his predecessors, Ford became Chair of the UK Board of Trustees. However, during his time as Governor, he supported the removal of the Governor of Kentucky as UK's Board Chair, therefore, making Wendell Ford the last governor to serve in that position.  

Many believed that removing the Governor from the board would help keep politics out of the university. Perhaps it did, but more recent events in Kentucky illustrate that politics, as practiced in the bluegrass state, are never far removed from Kentucky's educational institutions.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

UK's Scottish President

The legacy of James K. Patterson is remembered across the UK campus because of the Patterson Office Tower, the Patterson statue, Patterson Hall, and the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. UK's first president served four decades before retiring in 1910.  He is credited with guiding the university through its difficult early years and setting the institution on a path to become today's modern public research university.

What many may not know is that President Patterson was born March 26, 1833 in the Gorbals parish of Glasgow, Scotland.  His family immigrated to a farm near Madison, Indiana in 1842.

Moreover, at the age of four, an accident severely injured young Patterson's leg requiring him to walk with the aid of a crutch (which can be seen as part of the statue) for the remainder of his life.

UK's founding president overcame his immigrant status, a disability, and meager family resources to play a crucial role in the history of the University of Kentucky.

Photograph of Main Street Gorbals,1868
Today, the University of Kentucky welcomes students, faculty, and staff from across the globe and is committed to a policy of providing opportunities to people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

I trust that commitment on the part of UK would have made President James K. Patterson proud.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Remembering Norma B. Case - UK Librarian

Over seven years ago UK Libraries began a new effort of international involvement.  Toni Greider, a senior librarian with extensive international experience, led the new initiative with tremendous success.  The number of visiting international librarians increased, more UK librarians traveled internationally and presented at scholarly meetings, and UK Libraries' involvement with the UK International Center and international students increased exponentially.

This week, while looking for an article in the October 10, 1952 Kentucky Kernel, I was reminded that UK Libraries' international involvement began decades earlier.

Norma B. Case

Norma Case, described as "one of the leading reference librarians in the country" established benchmarks for what it means to be an academic librarian in a research library that we should still aspire to today in the 21st century.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Basketball Memories

On occasion I intend to include some of my personal experiences at UK in this blog.  After all, beginning my 45th fall on the University of Kentucky campus gives me some perspective on its history.

Almost as far back as I can remember UK played a prominent role in my life.  Of course, those earliest memories revolve entirely around Kentucky basketball.  Like so many young Kentuckians I listened intently as Claude Sullivan called UK games over the Standard Oil Network that covered most, if not all, of Kentucky.  I also was lucky enough to see Kentucky play at Vanderbilt one or two times since it was not far from my home in Hopkinsville.

Finally, as a teenager I experienced UK basketball in Memorial Coliseum.  I do not recall how I secured the ticket but in February I saw Kentucky (Rupp's Runts) beat Georgia 74-50.  Following the game Larry Conley and Tommy Kron autographed my game program which I still have.

The price of admission to the game, $2.60.  The experience for one Kentucky teenager, priceless!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Moving in!

Students have been moving into UK each fall since the 1860's.  The first on-campus dorm, Whitehall, was for men only.  Even though women began attending UK in 1880, they had no place to live on campus until the construction of Patterson Hall nearly a quarter century later.

Whitehall Men's Dormitory

The Patterson Office Tower replaced Whitehall dormitory in the 1960's.

Patterson Hall

Patterson Hall for women opened in 1904 but state funding stipulated that it must be constructed "off campus," thus its location across Euclid Avenue from what was then the main campus.

Back in the day parents and students dressed more formally for the big move.

Wonder how many students moving in this week know that suitcases were not always on wheels?

Thanks to the assistance of large numbers of UK volunteers (administrators, staff, and faculty), this year's move-in should be the best ever and hopefully easier than balancing a table on one's head!

Welcome new Wildcats!!