UK Happenings

UK Appalachian Center to Hold Open House

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 21, 2018) The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center (UKAC) will be hosting an open house celebration from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, at its location on 624 Maxwelton Court. The recently-appointed associate director of the center and Appalachian Studies Program, Kathryn Engle, and new Scholar-in-Residence Gurney Norman will be on hand for a gathering filled with refreshments, entertainment, music and tours. This event is free and open to the community, UK students, faculty and staff members.

Food will be provided at the event with a short welcome presentation kicking off at noon. The open house will provide a chance to visit and learn about the work of the Appalachian Center and gather with others who have an interest in the region. The center welcomes input and suggestions for programming, initiatives and events for the coming year. The UKAC is distinguished as a foundational program in Appalachian studies and a leader in the development of effective community-university partnerships.

This event is also an opportunity to learn more about the new leadership team and preview exciting new initiatives at the UKAC. Engle, having recently defended her dissertation in the UK Department of Sociology, is eager to spark conversation.

“I'm really excited to take this position," she said. "As a lifelong Kentuckian, it's great to be able to continue my work with the UK Appalachian Center which is an important institution, not only to the university but to the community and region.”

Gurney Norman, a former Kentucky Poet Laureate, has been a member of the UK faculty for nearly 40 years. Norman will coordinate a series of conversations bringing Appalachian writers, artists and scholars to campus.

UK will also be hosting the Appalachian Studies Association conference in the spring of 2020. The team has already begun preparations for the anticipated 1,000 or so scholars, artists and activists who will be in attendance. Faculty member and UK Department of History Associate Professor Kathryn Newfont is the president of the Appalachian Studies Association. Jane Jensen, associate professor in the UK College of Education, is currently serving as the local arrangements chair. UK Department of Linguistics Chair and Associate Professor Jennifer Cramer is the acting program committee chair. Emma Kiser, graduate student in history, is a research assistant providing support for conference planning.

The UKAC was established in 1977 through a generous grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and has been actively engaged in the Appalachian region for over 40 years. The UKAC has a storied history of facilitating the work of community organizations, public institutions and citizen groups; conducting research; and teaching. The center contributes to the land-grant mission of the university by fostering community-university partnerships in research, learning and engagement in Appalachia, a region faced with unique opportunities and challenges toward sustainable development in a globalized context.

More information about the UKAC can be found at

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