"Every time I walk through the Gatton Student Center, I am reminded of the beautiful, ineffable power we have to create a sense of place—a place to communicate—for those who learn, discover, work, and heal on this campus.
It’s the power of places like the Office of Institutional Diversity, which harness our community’s distinctive character, that allow us to respectfully, but determinedly, build new bridges — ones that reconcile honest differences of thought, identity, perspective, and ideology.
We will continue to support spaces where we come together to care for one another and to grow. We will look for ways to build upon this character that has both defined and strengthened our community for more than 150 years. And we will continue to look to those who came before us to ensure we honor their legacies and learn from their journeys. That is what it means to be part of this community.
That is what it means to envision a better future for Kentucky." -President Eli Capilouto
Seventy years ago, Lyman T. Johnson forced open the doors of the University of Kentucky by becoming the first African-American student. He, along with countless others, opened a door and created a path for us to follow. It’s the idea that anyone — regardless of who they are, the color of their skin, what they believe, how they identify themselves or where they are from — can find a place at the University of Kentucky. Yet, our story demands that we acknowledge progress on this path has not been a straight line. There have been moments where we have, as an institution, not honored our aspirations. Those moments provide a compelling reminder that building a community of belonging is a journey, not a project. This month, as part of Black History Month, we are chronicling the stories of the trailblazers, innovators and champions, who bravely stepped forward or are pushing us ahead today. Their stories speak to us and guide us still. Learn more at the UK Office for Institutional Diversity.