The Tracy Farmer Center for
the Environment primarily will address environmental challenges that face Kentucky and
surrounding regions. The center will strive to attract experts from various
disciplines while taking advantage of the university's existing resources.
15, 2000 (Lexington, Ky.) Lexington-area
horseman, banker and long-time entrepreneur Tracy Farmer is providing a $2 million gift to
the University of Kentucky to establish a research and educational center that will assist
public and private organizations in addressing environmental issues and developing
solutions. The gift is eligible for an additional $2 million from the Commonwealth of
Kentuckys Research Challenge Trust Fund, for a total of $4 million to create the new
center. The announcement was made today during a news conference at the University of
Through research, education and consultation
and in conjunction with private and public sectors the Tracy Farmer Center for the
Environment primarily will address environmental challenges that face Kentucky and
surrounding regions. The center will strive to attract experts from various disciplines,
while taking advantage of the universitys existing resources providing a
broad perspective on environmental research and education. It will be one of the few such
centers in the nation that address the complex environmental issues facing its home state.
Cornells Center for the Environment, Sonomas (Calif.) Institute for Community
Planning Assistance, and Tennessees Energy, Environment and Resources Center are
Farmers gift, as well as his foresight, will enable the university to be a national
leader in providing answers to some of the environmental challenges facing future
generations, said University of Kentucky President Charles T. Wethington Jr. The Center will provide a focus for
interdisciplinary research and education, and provide a vehicle for developing and
implementing new approaches and technologies to environmental problems and issues.
who served on the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees from 1979 to 1991, said his
decision to provide the gift is based on his belief that Kentuckys natural resources
are vitally important to the states economy and overall quality of life. I
visualize the center as being about the future, he said. What we do today
regarding the environment is the legacy we leave behind for our children. The goal of the
center is to cultivate ideas and technology to address the many environmental challenges
of this region.
at the center will focus on short- and long-term environmental problems, including issues
associated with water, land and air resources. Issues related to biological resources
(such as biological habitat, endangered species, and ecosystem protection) and
sociological resources (such as cultural heritage preservation and environmental policy
and planning) also will be addressed at the center.
noted that the center would sponsor periodic seminars, featuring noted environmental
speakers. Interaction with these experts will provide a unique educational
opportunity for both students and faculty, he said. And in many instances, the
messages and insight from these speakers will help inspire the seminar participants in
pursuing solutions for various environmental issues.
centers mission will be threefold, focusing on the integration of research, service
and education. The research component will provide a mechanism to filter and apply
research thereby producing technologies to address environmental problems.
service component of the center will include a technology transfer program via
publications, short courses and conferences, continuing education offerings, certificates,
degree programs and the licensing of university-owned technologies. The centers
service component also will include a Technical Services Center, where professional staff
will be available to field calls and requests for information then align requests
with the proper faculty member or researcher.
The educational component of the center will provide students
information on the wide variety of educational and career opportunities in environmental
fields and help recruit students to fill critical needs in both the public and private
the center will serve as a source to enhance UKs current environmental study
national search for a director of the center will begin this fall. The university expects
to have a director in place by July 1, 2001.
said he and his wife, Carol, have an acute interest in the environment and how it affects
society. For quite some time, Carol and I have discussed the concept of a research
and education center for the environment, he said.
We talked to many experts and we found that there was no such center
in Kentucky, and very few anywhere in the country. For the future of the Commonwealth, we
must protect our natural resources, and, at the same time, explore ways that economic
development and environmental concerns can co-exist. The center will help this effort
become a reality.
Farmer, who owns Shadowlawn Farm a
thoroughbred horse farm in Midway, Ky., has long been active in Kentucky business and
civic activities. He is the owner of one of the states largest new-automobile
dealerships, Farmer Automotive Group, which operates Star Ford at Oxmoor and Oxmoor
Toyota. Farmer Enterprises, founded in 1970, is a commercial real estate development and
building management company.
is also president of Lexington-Frankfort Scenic Corridor Inc., a citizen-based non-profit
organization that focuses on preserving rural landscape in areas west of Lexington, and is
vice chairman of Midway College in Midway, Ky.
was chairman of the Begley Co., formerly a Richmond, Kentucky-based drugstore chain. He is
a former state Democratic Party chairman, has been involved in director and ownership
roles at several Kentucky banks, and has owned numerous restaurants and shopping centers
in the state. He is a native of Jackson County, Ky., and was raised in Lee County, Ky.