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UK Relocates Campus Landmark

Contact: George Lewis

Photo of the statue of James K. Patterson, UK's first president
(click photo to enlarge)
Statue of James K. Patterson, UK's first president

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The Patterson statue, which has stood at UK since its dedication in 1934, has been moved three times -- once from its original location beside a walkway that connected the Administration Building with Maxwell Place, to off-campus storage during construction of the Patterson Office Tower and White Hall Classroom Building in the late 1960s, and then to its former location on the north side of the Administration Building facing Limestone, where it sat until today.

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July 22, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- A University of Kentucky landmark has found a new home.

The bronze statue of James K. Patterson, UK's first president, was moved from its place beside the UK Administration Building to a new location in front of the Patterson Office Tower.

The relocation was part of the restoration of the Administration Building, which was heavily damaged by fire in 2001.

The Patterson statue, which has stood at UK since its dedication in 1934, has been moved three times -- once from its original location beside a walkway that connected the Administration Building with Maxwell Place, to off-campus storage during construction of the Patterson Office Tower and White Hall Classroom Building in the late 1960s, and then to its former location on the north side of the Administration Building facing Limestone, where it sat until today.

Workmen used a forklift to move the statue, which weighs an estimated 1,800 pounds.

While preparing the statue for the move, workers were surprised to find that it was hollow -- "Like a chocolate Easter bunny," one said.

Facts Regarding the Statue of James K. Patterson

  • James K. Patterson was the University of Kentucky’s first president, serving from 1869 to 1910.
  • The bronze sculpture, which represents Patterson seated and holding a walking stick in one hand and a sheaf of papers in the other, was dedicated June 1, 1934, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Patterson’s birth.
  • The statue was sculpted by Augustus Lukeman of Richmond, Va., at a cost of $25,000, provided by money left by Patterson and his brother Walter.
  • The statue was originally located beside a walkway that connected the Administration Building with Maxwell Place. That walkway no longer exists.
  • The statue stood at its original site for 34 years before being placed in storage off campus in 1967 during construction of the Patterson Office Tower and the White Hall Classroom Building complex.
  • On April 21, 1969, the statue was returned to campus and placed on a base west of the Patterson Office Tower, where it stood for another 34 years.
  • On July 22, 2003, as part of the restoration of the fire-damaged UK Administration Building, the statue was moved to a new site near the main entrance of the Patterson Office Tower.
  • The statue will enhance the green space being created as part of the new landscaping that will border the restored Administration Building (to be called the Main Building), which was damaged by fire May 15, 2001.

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