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The University of Kentucky is about to embark on a celebration of 150 years of history — history filled with triumphs and challenges, but also a steadfast commitment to the Commonwealth.

Since its founding in 1865 as part of Kentucky University by attorney and farmer John Bryan Bowman to its establishment as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky under the Morrill Land Grant Act and later the State University of Kentucky, the University of Kentucky has tirelessly worked to enhance the lives of not only its graduates but those of countless individuals across Kentucky and beyond its borders.

During the many decades that have followed, the university has continued to grow in size and prominence by dedicating itself to improving people's lives through excellence in education, research and creative work, service, and health care as Kentucky's flagship institution and one of the nation's top land grant universities.

Much like its centennial, UK's sesquicentennial is meant as more than a time of reflection on the school's past. We are looking back with pride at the energy and fortitude that carried the university from its meager origins through its early rough-and-tumble struggle for existence. Today, UK boasts a campus of some 30,000 students, 16 colleges ranging from the arts to medical fields, and more than 90 nationally ranked academic programs, as well as several prestigious intercollegiate athletics programs.

But, as the university continues to literally grow in both numbers and facilities around us, we look to the sesquicentennial as a time to also focus on the future. It is an opportune time for a realistic look at the university, its challenges, as well as its new strengths and rapid growth. It is a time again for appraisal, as well as celebration.

There will be numerous opportunities to join in celebrating the university's 150 year storied history -- while looking to the future -- as part of UK's sesquicentennial celebration through 2015.

To learn more about UK's history, as well as activities related to the sesquicentennial including a week of events around Founder's Day, Feb. 22, 2015, visit uknow.uky.edu/sesquicentennial. And to keep up with UK sesquicentennial activities on social media, look for and share information using the hashtag #UK150.