Sesquicentennial Series: UK's Golden Jubilee
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 19, 2012) — In celebration of the University of Kentucky's upcoming sesquicentennial in 2015, the 28th of 150 weekly installments on the university remembers the institution's Golden Jubilee.
The Golden Jubilee, held Oct. 12-14, 1916, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of classes on the Woodlands-Ashland campus. The act establishing the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky was passed by the legislature in February 1865, but the actual operation of the school did not happen until October 1866, hence the celebration in October, 1916. The only person who was present on both occasions was President James Kennedy Patterson.
Events for the Golden Jubilee included a tug-of-war between the freshman and sophomore classes (the freshmen won), an alumni smoker at the Phoenix Hotel, an alumnae dinner, the "K" dance at the armory to benefit the Kentuckian, and a parade of the classes and faculty. There were also speeches and burgoo before the dedication of Stoll Field and UK's football game against Vanderbilt.
During the parade on Main Street in downtown Lexington there was a competition among the classes to come up with the most original and novel ideas. The freshmen typified childhood, the sophomores staged a Kentucky circus, the juniors represented important events, and the seniors represented themselves. The juniors captured the $100 prize by illustrating the changes and happenings of the university’s 50 years.
After the parade, the students and faculty convened in the chapel for speeches and honorary degrees. Among the 15 honorary degree recipients were Thomas Hunt Morgan, James Lane Allen and Henry Watterson. Morgan would go on to become a Nobel Prize winner in medicine in 1933 for his contributions to science. He developed the gene theory of heredity.
President Emeritus Patterson delivered an address, "Fifty Years of the University" and Charles W. Dabney, president of the University of Cincinnati, spoke on "The University and the State." The Alumni Association presented a portrait of Patterson to the university in recognition of the milestone.
This story on UK's history is presented by UK Special Collections. Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
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