UK Happenings

UK’s Human Development Institute Celebrates 50th Anniversary

In celebration of HDI's 50th anniversary they are hosting an anniversary gala.
In celebration of HDI's 50th anniversary they are hosting an anniversary gala.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 4, 2019) This year marks the 50th anniversary for the University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute (HDI), a significant event for the campus community and for the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families in Kentucky and beyond. 

HDI is Kentucky’s University Center on Disability and is administered through the UK Office of the Vice President for Research. Established in 1969, HDI began in UK’s Department of Pediatrics and was known as the Center for the Handicapped. Now, a half century later, the institute generates over $23 million in external funding per year housing approximately 235 staff, with work impacting every county of the state, and several projects having national and even international impact.

The institute provides a strong foundation for more than 50 research, training and service projects addressing a wide range of topics and issues in areas such as early childhood, education, health and wellness, self-advocacy and leadership, transition across the lifespan, employment, community living, assistive technology and universal design. On campus, HDI works to train new leaders in the field through its University Lecture Series, Graduate Certificate in Developmental Disabilities and Undergraduate Certificate in Universal Design, taught in collaboration with faculty across UK colleges.

In celebration of this important milestone, HDI is hosting several events, one of which is a 50th Anniversary Gala at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, in the Gatton Student Center Ballroom. Tickets for the event can be purchased here for $45. 1969 or current semiformal dress is encouraged. The gala will include dinner, guest speakers, a live band, a silent auction and more. The keynote speaker will be the assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services at the U.S. Department of Education, Johnny Collett. Superior Van & Mobility and Life Plan of Kentucky Inc. are providing support for the 50th Anniversary Gala.

As a lead up to the gala, a seminar on emerging disabilities will take place at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, with panelists including Andy Imparato of the Association of University Centers on Disability. Register and learn more about the seminar here.


The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for," and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for three straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.