UK Happenings

23rd Breathitt Lecture to Explore Diversity and Whether Individuality Impacts Unity

collage of photos of different people making up American flag
photo of 2017 Breathitt Lecture poster

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 19, 2017) — Paige A. Dauparas, a University of Kentucky accounting, English and Spanish literature and culture senior from Mokena, Illinois, has been selected to present the 23rd annual Edward T. Breathitt Undergraduate Lectureship in the Humanities at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, in the UK Athletics Auditorium at William T. Young Library. Dauparas' free public lecture focuses on diversity and how the search for individuality impacts unity.

The Breathitt Lectureship was named for an outstanding UK alumnus who showed an exceptional interest in higher education and the humanities, Gov. Edward T. Breathitt. The lectureship is awarded to an undergraduate who has eloquently expressed the qualities of mind and spirit, including one or more of the basic concerns of the humanities. Each year all undergraduate students are invited to apply for the lectureship.

Dauparas' lecture is titled “Desperation for Diversity: How Modern Ideals Perpetuate Racial Lines.” The senior notes how college applicants and job applicants are often asked what sets them apart, what makes them unique or different. While Dauparas thinks it’s important to value one’s individuality and differences, she is using her Breathitt Lecture to research and explore how diversity may be exploited in modern society and how this search for individuality impacts the unity of the country.

While her studies at UK have had some influence on her topic, the origin of her research and lecture on diversity was an article on the internet.

"The root of it (Breathitt Lecture) came from an article that popped up on my newsfeed that someone shared. The article read: 'why white girls can’t wear nameplate necklaces' and then explained the history and meaning of the necklaces," said Dauparas. "I found the article educational, but the name harmful to our country. It would be one thing if we utilized parts of our cultures adopted by others to educate one another, but more and more I find articles posted that instead of encouraging knowledge, encourage division."

Dauparas hopes the lecture will open up the discussion of how diversity can be celebrated while not separating a community.

"I am hoping that the people who come, come with an open mind and leave thinking about how we may accidently divide ourselves through our diction and actions. The history of our country is not as long as many others, but it is controversial and I hope that people consider how our way of coping with the past and promoting diversity may be causing separation. Whether they agree or disagree does not matter to me so much as consideration."

The Breathitt Lectureship is presented by the Gaines Center for the Humanities. The student speaker is chosen through an application process that includes a lecture proposal submitted by the student to an independent committee of readers.

In recognition of her selection to deliver the Breathitt Lectureship, Dauparas also will receive a commemorative award and a $500 honorarium. The lecture will be videotaped and archived in UKnowledge, a digital resource maintained by UK Libraries. A reception will follow the lecture.

Dauparas, the daughter Jerry and Stephanie Dauparas, came to UK as an English major with a plan to get a minor in Spanish. She realized her sophomore year she still had a deep interest in business and decided to pursue a second major in accounting. Dauparas decided to change her minor to a third major after traveling abroad. "After a study abroad trip to Costa Rica, I knew that if I didn’t leave the university fluent, I would always regret it. So, I made the decision to spend a year in Spain and added a Spanish major."

When she is not in class, Dauparas is very active on campus. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, Women Business Leaders and the Accounting Club. Dauparas is also a Gatton Ambassador and served last fall as an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador. In addition, she works in UK's Off-Campus Student Services Office.

Upon completion of her bachelor's degrees, Dauparas plans to get her certified public accountant (CPA) license and pursue a career in accounting.