LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2017) — The University of Kentucky today will formally rename the largest academic building in the state for the man whose vision and tireless advocacy helped make it possible — Lee T. Todd Jr.
"As a kid growing up in Earlington, Kentucky, I never dreamed of attending the University of Kentucky,” Todd said. “To say that I'm flattered to have such a world-class facility bear my name would be an understatement. I am honored beyond words, and I thank this institution and all of my family, colleagues and friends who helped make this day possible."
“If you don’t talk about problems, you don’t solve them. We have just accepted these things,” Todd once said of the state’s persistent health problems, which he called the “Kentucky Uglies.” “We’re making some headway … let’s just talk about it and let’s solve it. I said early on that we needed our best minds working on our toughest problems.”
Infrastructure and research space where the university’s brightest minds could gather to tackle those seemingly intractable health issues were a critical piece of Todd’s strategy.
To that end, Todd led efforts to secure state and private funding for a state-of-the-art College of Pharmacy.
Funding for the building included $120 million from the Kentucky state legislature with $40 million appropriated in 2004 as first-phase funding and an additional $80 million funded in 2006. Additional funding also came from the university and private donors.
UK broke ground on the facility in 2007 and formally dedicated it in early 2010.
“Within these halls and laboratories, UK’s best faculty research teams are addressing what Dr. Todd set out to do — confront the ‘Kentucky Uglies’ and yield a healthier and more prosperous future for the Commonwealth’s families,” said Eli Capilouto, UK’s 12th and current president. “Today, that vision is a reality because of his effort and advocacy for the construction of this building.”
The 286,000 square-foot facility is the largest academic building in Kentucky and among the biggest in the nation. It includes a five-story atrium, two 219-seat auditoriums, a 110-seat classroom, a 54-seat classroom, a teaching laboratory with compounding laboratory and patient assessment rooms, and nine group-learning rooms.
Todd served as president between 2001-2011. During his decade-long tenure, he launched the University of Kentucky's Top 20 Business Plan — a plan that drew national attention for its bold aspiration to position UK among the top 20 public research institutions in the country.
The Top 20 Business Plan also gained support throughout the Commonwealth, as the Kentucky General Assembly fully funded the plan beginning in 2007-08.
Todd’s tenure also was marked by remarkable growth across several university measures. Enrollment at UK grew from 23,852 students in 2000 to 26,913 students in fall 2008 — a 13 percent increase. UK also reached record highs during his presidency in graduation rates and research funding.
Despite difficult financial conditions during his tenure, UK's annual budget grew from $1.2 billion during President Todd's first year to more than $2.4 billion.
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue