Whitney Hale

By

College: Libraries

Sesquicentennial Stories: Celebrating A Century of UK

Published: May 31, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 31, 2013) — In celebration of the University of Kentucky's upcoming sesquicentennial in 2015, the 58th of 150 weekly installments remembers the institution's centennial.

 

"To all of us, I issue this challenge: that we make the centennial year the period to wage a major battle against anti-intellectualism in American life." - President John W. Oswald, University of Kentucky

 

For UK, the university's centennial meant more than a nostalgic look at its past. Kentucky looked back with pride at the energy and endurance which had carried the university from its unprepossessing origins through its early rough-and-tumble struggle for existence, in a state that was never rich, among people who were never devoted to learning. Kentuckians had the right to be proud of a university that had overcome obstacles that might have caused a less stubborn people to settle for much less.

 

The real focus of the centennial was on the future. It was a time for a realistic look at the university, its weaknesses and limitations, as well as its new strengths and rapid growth. It was a time for appraisal, as well as celebration.

 

Both purposes were served. Years of planning brought leading figures from the worlds of intellect, politics and the arts to exchange ideas with UK students and faculty. Graduates who had achieved distinction were honored. Books, music, art, drama and scholarly accomplishments were produced. And for students, alumni and citizens of the state, there were times for pure entertainment. 

 

Centennial plans, years in the making, were announced formally Feb. 5, 1965, at a Centennial Preview Press Dinner. William B. Arthur, managing editor of Look magazine and UK alumnus, served as a principal speaker. At this dinner, President Oswald revealed that U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson would address the Founders Day convocation. Professor Thomas D. Clark and his wife, Martha Turner Clark, who headed the centennial committee, were also present at the dinner.

 

Governor Edward T. Breathitt, Oswald and President Johnson welcomed in the Day of Centennial. It was a big moment for the Oswald children, to have the opportunity to meet the president of the United States. National Media were in force to cover President Johnson’s speech.

 

To stimulate the intellectual life of students, faculty and the public, the university brought to its campus distinguished persons from the worlds of politics, religion, the humanities and sciences. Some taught for a semester and some took part in the shorter conferences. Some lectured for the university’s community as well, including the winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1955, Dr. Hugo Theorell, the director of the biochemistry department of the Nobel Medical Institute in Stockholm. He held a one semester professorship during the centennial.

 

The fine arts community at UK produced a number of special events. In most of these events, students took part, starting with pre-centennial Shakespeare productions. The Centennial Theater produced plays during the summer. The Art Department (now the UK School of Art and Visual Studies) had special exhibits in addition to student shows. A contest was held for original music written by students. Giuseppe Verdi’s "Messa da Requiem" was performed by the UK Choristers, the Lexington Singers, and the Cincinnati Symphony. The performance was to be repeated in Carnegie Hall.

 

American Presbyterian minister and socialist Norman Thomas attracted an enthusiastic crowd for his lectures and discussions. His visit was sponsored by the Student Centennial Committee. Sponsored jointly by the university and the College of the Bible, "Science and Religion" was the first major conference of the year, by Julian Hartt, the Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School.

 

Chief Justice Earl Warren took part in the dedication of the new College of Law building and received an honorary degree. Senator Everett Dirksen, a lively figure from the political world, came to the campus to address a convocation honoring the late Vice President Alben W. Barkley. The occasion was the unveiling of a replica of a statue of Barkley that was placed among Barkley memorabilia at the university library. The original stands in Frankfort, Ky. Members of the Barkley family attended the ceremony.

 

One of the most popular of the many conferences and symposia held during UK's centennial was titled "Women: Equal But Different." At the two-day session, attended by 500 women, 12 Kentucky women were honored for various activities and contributions to their community.

 

Part of the entertainment for the American Association of University Professors was a horse show staged at Keeneland and a concert by Kentucky musician John Jacob Niles.

 

The centennial also marked the year of the graduation of the first class from UK’s new College of Dentistry.

 

The high point of the centennial was Founders Week 1965. The principal speaker at the concluding centennial convocation of Founders Day 1966, was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Arthur Goldberg.

 

"We believe that the hundredth birthday of a university does not mean a task completed, but that it must be the dawn of its mission. Consequently, it is important that major emphasis in this celebration be not primarily on the past or even on the present but rather on the vital role of scholarship in the years ahead. Essentially today we must rededicate the university to meeting the problems engendered by our complex, changing society." - UK President John  W. Oswald, from "Centennial: The University of Kentucky Centennial Observance"

 

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.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716whitney.hale@uky.edu

centennial_-_lbj.jpg
September
 
 
 
 
1
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
LGBTQ* and Friends Employee Picnic
Thu
2
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Fri
3
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Sat
4
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Sun
5
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
6
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
Tue
7
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
UK Women's Club Volleyball - Open Gym
From The Streets to The Stage With Monti Washington
Wed
8
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
#IAMACCEPTANCE Let's Talk Mental Health with Hakeem Rahim
Thu
9
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
2016 New Chinese Students Welcome Party
Accounting Internship & Career Fair
Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Training
Fri
10
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
11
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Whipping In The Kitchen
Sun
12
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Mon
13
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
UKWC Welcome Coffee
Tue
14
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Greek Park Pictures
Wed
15
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
Thu
16
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
A Day of Rising Strong
Fri
17
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
18
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sun
19
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Mon
20
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
UK Women's Forum Board Meeting
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
Cuban Heritage Festival
Tue
21
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Last Day to Withdraw to Receive 50% Refund
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Horticulture Club Farm Market Sale
Wed
22
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
TGIT with SAB
Thu
23
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Fri
24
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
25
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Sun
26
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Let's Talk!
Empower: People of Color Support Group
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Mon
27
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
UK Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair
Banned Books--A short history
Tue
28
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Horticulture Club Farm Market Sale
Cats Got The Vote
Business Internship & Career Fair
Women In Technology Gala event for UK undergraduate women
NSE (National Student Exchange) Information Session
Wed
29
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
Yoga at Commonwealth Stadium
Thu
30
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Indonesia Focus Conference
Indonesia Focus Conference
Craft Writing: Beer, the Digital, and Craft Culture
Fri
 

Tue, 09/27/2016

Repeats every 7 days until Wed Dec 14 2016 .
Wed, 09/28/2016

Repeats every week every Wednesday until Wed Oct 05 2016 .
Wed, 09/28/2016

Reset Page