The University for Kentucky

Uk's Memorial Hall in autumn.

In February 1865, amid the still smoldering embers of the Civil War, John Bryan Bowman advocated for a public university in Lexington. Though located in the Bluegrass, the Agriculture and Mechanical College of Kentucky University would go on to serve the better interests of the entire Commonwealth. It was a profound idea that a university had the ability to change people’s lives through unmatched higher education, innovative research and discovery, and outreach that uplifts and heals communities and the people it serves.

Today, at its 150-year anniversary, the University of Kentucky is pioneering new ways to carry out its mission to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, and the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It is the idea that we have been charged to lead as our state’s flagship through a multi-faceted mission of education, research, service and health care.

We are blessed with a strong faculty core that supports more than 200 academic programs spread across 17 colleges, professional schools and the UK Library system. The UK Core, the institution’s innovative undergraduate curriculum, is providing students with a comprehensive education that will prepare them for lives of leadership, meaning and purpose.

On campus, we have undertaken an innovative effort to restore and rebuild our residential communities. We are engaged in a public/private partnership with Memphis-based EdR to create living-learning spaces for our students to discover and collaborate in a way that enhances the overall college experience.

By 2017, we will add more than 6,500 modern residence hall beds in 13 new facilities on our campus – among the largest growth periods in the institution’s history. Included in this purposeful expansion are 202 technology-rich academic learning spaces to enhance the college experience.

Our endeavor to build a campus that supports a new century of promise includes several capital projects vital to the long-term future of the institution: the renovation and expansion of the Gatton College of Business and Economics, a new Academic Science Building, a renovated Commonwealth Stadium and Nutter Training Center, a dramatic renewal of the student center, the continued fit-out of Chandler Hospital, a new home for the School of Art and Visual Studies, and a new multi-disciplinary medical sciences research building.

Each project is financed through a mix of private philanthropy, creative partnerships, clinical revenue, state support and institutional resources. Most notable is the generosity of our donors who will completely finance a new Gatton College and the bold partnership with UK Athletics – one of the few self-sustaining programs in the nation – which will fund two-thirds of the Academic Science Building.

Our capital priorities are a critical component of our future, but our campus is more than bricks and mortar – it is the faculty, staff and administrators who open doors of opportunity for our students and the programs that comprise the comprehensive college experience we offer.

The new spaces we are creating, in addition to the renewal of our dining facilities, foster a rewarding sense of community across our campus. Our goal is to create places where students build friendships, learn with and from faculty mentors, and colleagues collaborate on the next great idea.

The University’s wide variety of academic opportunities are complemented by exciting co-curricular activities that add richly to what our students learn inside the classroom and encourage them to actively participate as part of a global community. We emphasize our outreach and service missions to better prepare our future generation for a world that never stops evolving.

The exciting things the University of Kentucky is doing off campus signal a diverse community engaging in a cooperative exchange of ideas. Our academic mission is the core of our institution and our faculty, staff and students are at the heart of that endeavor. With students from all 120 Kentucky counties, each of the 50 states and more than 100 countries worldwide, our campus environment is the opportune setting to prepare our students for a global society.

UK HealthCare has strategically developed an incredible capacity to serve the Commonwealth through our new, state-of-the-art patient care pavilion, advanced biomedical and biological research, and a network of health care partners throughout Kentucky. Recently, UK HealthCare was distinguished as a Top Performer by the Joint Commission, the largest medical accreditation body in the nation, and won a Rising Star award from the University Health System Consortium.

Our passion for people and our vision for a medical campus of the future have inspired leading physicians and researchers from across the United States to join us in our efforts. Since their arrival, they have balanced a research agenda with outreach to our affiliate and partner hospitals so Kentucky families can receive high-quality health care at home and travel to Lexington only for the most advanced, complex medical care and procedures. Their work has led UK’s evolution as a leading medical research institution and positioned us as one of22 universities with federal research distinctions in cancer, aging and translational science.

The University of Kentucky has a vibrant fine arts program and is a cultural hub for arts engagement in the Commonwealth. UK English professor and director of the African American and Africana Studies Program, Frank X Walker, was named the 2013-14 Kentucky Poet Laureate, UK’s fourth professor to hold this honor, as well as the youngest and first African American to be named to the prestigious position. UK alumnus Reginald Smith, Jr. earned one of the five winning spots in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2015. Student performers in the UK Symphony Orchestra played alongside the world’s best musicians in the Boston Pops tribute concert for the 75th Anniversary of Keeneland Race Course. The School of Music’s Opera Program and Symphony travel across Kentucky performing at middle and high schools. In many instances, our outreach program is the only access a student has to any arts program, let alone one of nationally renowned caliber.

Over the last several years, the College of Design has become a major resource for communities looking to redevelop resources in creative ways to address the economic challenges they face. Recently, faculty and staff architects have helped repurpose houseboat manufacturing facilities in southeast Kentucky to build energy efficient residences for families in the region. Additionally, a group of faculty and students are utilizing these innovative energy efficient homes to help communities like West Liberty, Ky recover and rebuild after devastation caused by natural disasters.

Closer to home, UK faculty and staff researchers commercialize their ideas and designs through the business modeling process and into burgeoning small businesses. In addition to attracting venture capital for start-up companies, UK faculty and staff lend their intellectual expertise to national and multinational companies located in Lexington. UK’s 735-acre Coldstream Research Campus is home to 66 companies in the biotech, pharmaceutical, equine health and service industries, including the global headquarters and regional offices for Tempur Sealy, A&W Restaurants, and Hewlett-Packard.

In countless ways, the University of Kentucky endures as a modern flagship, land-grant research institution, emboldened anew by an enduring and timeless commitment to improve our state, region, nation and global community.

It is a vision that has been a steadfast commitment throughout our history. It is a promise that will guide us in the future.