Ky. (Sept. 24, 2003) --
About 350 friends, former students and faculty members,
and many Kentucky dignitaries, including five former
Kentucky governors, attended funeral services today
for former University of Kentucky President Otis A.
Singletary who died Sept. 20 at the age of 81.
In addition to his wife, Gloria Walton Singletary,
Singletary is survived by three children, Bonnie Singletary
Robertson of Winston-Salem, N.C.; Robert Scot Singletary
of Greenville, S.C.; and Kendall Singletary Barret
and her husband Max Barret of Lexington; four grandchildren,
James David Robertson, Jill Robertson Stokes, Jeffrey
Lee Robertson, and Addison Singletary Barret; and
The services for Singletary, a native of Gulfport,
Miss., were conducted in the UK Singletary Center
for the Arts by Charles P. Roland, a colleague and
close friend for nearly 50 years.
The Singletary Center for the Arts was named in honor
of the eighth UK president, as were the most coveted
scholarships offered by the university.
Singletary was also eulogized by Terry Birdwhistell,
the director of the oral history program in UK Libraries.
Birdwhistell, who has conducted extensive interviews
with Singletary, characterized the President Emeritus
as a “man who liked challenges” and who
presided over the university “during one of
the most progressive periods in UK’s history.”
Birdwhistell quoted Singletary as having said, “I
sometimes feel I’m involved in a conspiracy
here to build a better university than Kentuckians
are willing to pay for.”
Birdwhistell said Singletary served an uncharacteristically
long period of time as a university president (1969-1987).
“His tenure was three times the national average
of university presidents at the time,” he said.
Roland, who went to college with the former president
and then served with him as a faculty member at UK
for 18 years, said Singletary became president of
UK “during one of the most turbulent moments
in the history of American colleges and universities.”
Among the Kentucky governors attending the funeral
was Louie B. Nunn, who was governor in 1969 and who
ordered the Kentucky National Guard to the UK campus
to calm a student protest over the Vietnam War.
In his running of the university, “Singletary
enhanced the lives of countless Kentuckians and will
continue to enhance Kentuckians’ lives for many
generations to come,” Roland said.
Also delivering eulogies on behalf of students during
Singletary’s tenure were Mark P. Bryant, a 1973
UK law gradate from Paducah, and Andrew Oppmann, a
1985 journalism graduate, who is now the editor of
the Post-Crescent, a daily newspaper in Appleton,
Wis. Oppmann was an editor of the UK daily student
newspaper in 1983-84. The Kentucky Kernel became an independent
publication in 1971.
Bryant noted that Singletary loved students of every
generation and encouraged students to go to Frankfort
and lobby for a student representative on the UK Board
of Trustees, which they did. Today, the president
of UK Student Government serves as a voting member
of the board.
Following the services at UK, Singletary was buried
in the Lexington Cemetery.
As a memorial, the family suggests that donations
be made to the UK Singletary Center for the Arts.
For further information about Singletary, go to this Web site.