Campus News

Five Residence Halls Get New 'Old' Names


LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 24, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees Friday approved the renaming of five residence halls in honor of the achievements of prominent leaders in UK’s history.

Five years ago, much of UK's campus infrastructure was in need of improvement as it did not serve the technology and learning needs of students. Now, physical spaces across the campus are changing to meet the demands of a 21st century living and learning experience.

Under the leadership of President Eli Capilouto, and with the support of the Board of Trustees, UK has been able to execute a $1.9 billion transformation. The vast majority of that transformation has been paid for through a combination of university resources, partnerships with private businesses and UK Athletics, and private giving.

Today, campus looks far different. However, that transformation does not change the university's history. Rather, it should serve to enhance it, Capilouto said.

“UK is a place defined by its people – the mothers and fathers of this institution, on whose shoulders we stand and whose earlier successes and hard work made our achievements today possible," Capilouto said.

"Even as we are focused on the future and the transformation that continues to take place on our campus, we also must ensure that we honor our history and the legacy of accomplishment that has helped shape this special place," said UK Board Chair Britt Brockman. "Renaming these residence halls for those who made UK's mission of education for all of Kentucky possible is just one way we remind ourselves and those we serve of the path we have taken and the work by so many to help make this institution the university for Kentucky."

That is especially true on north campus where a number of previous residence halls held the names of many of the university's mothers:  Holmes, Boyd, Jewell and Blazer.  Those names are now returning to campus – to the new residence halls -- those opened two years ago and others scheduled to open this fall across Avenue of Champions and around Patterson Hall, which was the first women's residence hall on campus.

Following are the new names of the residence halls and information about the people of significance for whom the buildings are being named:

Sarah Bennett Holmes served as UK's dean of women from 1942 until 1957. She defended the rights and welfare of female students. Holmes earned two degrees from the University of Kentucky, and in honor of her service, was named state mother of Kentucky and received the Sullivan Medallion. The original Holmes Hall was named in honor of Sarah Bennett Holmes on May 25, 1958.

Limestone Park I will be named Sarah Bennett Holmes Hall.

Cleona Bell Matthews Boyd, a native of Missouri, taught Greek and Latin at Park College Academy until she married Dean Paul P. Boyd in 1906 and they moved to Kentucky. She was a teacher of the classics, Greek and Latin. An active member of the UK community, Boyd was president of the UK Woman's Club and the Board of Control of Women's Dormitories for 25 years. Because of her service to women's residence halls, the original Boyd Hall was named for Boyd around 1933.

Limestone Park II will be named Cleona Belle Matthews Boyd Hall.

Francis Jewell McVey was a native Kentuckian and graduate of Vassar College and Columbia University. Beginning as an instructor at UK in the English department from 1915-1921, Jewell served as dean of women from 1921 until she married President Frank McVey in 1923 and ended her employment with the university. However, she became well known across the state as an ambassador for UK. She opened Maxwell Place to the campus and community for various social and cultural events and remained engaged in campus and civic life.

Champions Court I will be named Frances Jewell Hall.

Georgia M. Blazer served continuously on the Board of Trustees from 1939 to 1961. The current Blazer Hall is no longer in service as a residence hall and will be razed in 2018. After the new Blazer Hall is dedicated, the current Blazer Hall will be known simply as Blazer Dining until it is decommissioned. The original Blazer Hall was named to recognize Mrs. Blazer's long service to the Board of Trustees and the Blazer family's support of the university.

Champions Court II will be named Georgia M. Blazer Hall.

On central campus, a dormitory formerly known as Donovan Hall was demolished to accommodate the construction of the new Academic Science Building. Donovan Hall will return as well.

Herman Lee Donovan, UK's fourth president (1941-1956), guided the university through World War II and desegregation. He focused much of his energy on post-war planning for UK, which witnessed an influx of returning service men and women. Donovan pushed for the opening in 1955 of the northern Extension Center in Covington, the establishment of new academic programs, and made preliminary plans for the establishment of a medical school. In retirement, Donovan published "Keeping the University Free and Growing." Born in 1887 in Mason County, Kentucky, Donovan died on Nov. 21, 1964.

Central Hall II will be named Herman Lee Donovan Hall.

Capilouto said the renaming of the residence halls on north campus is especially important as it “reflects the significance Holmes, Boyd, Jewell and Blazer had in the development of the university. As importantly, it reflects – as they did so well – our commitment to placing students at the center of everything we do. That’s what these women and President Donovan did. They devoted their time, energies and talents to the development of students, who in turn were prepared for lives of meaning and purpose in Kentucky and around the globe.”

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: #uk4ky #seeblue

MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 859-257-6398;