LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 19, 2017) ̶ Dr. Michael Karpf came to Lexington and the University of Kentucky from UCLA in 2003 with the firm belief that art makes a difference in life and in patient care. It has been this principle that guided the former UK executive vice president for health affairs to build a health care facility that would “make every visitor, patient and staff member feel comfortable and at home” and to “complement and enhance the healing environment.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 18, during a reception and musical tribute celebrating the accomplishments of Dr. Karpf and his wife Ellen, UK President Eli Capilouto announced the UK Albert B. Chandler Pavilion A auditorium to now be known as The Karpf Auditorium in the couple’s honor.
“People across this state, from all walks of life in large communities and small towns, take comfort in knowing, as Mike often says, that they can get the very best health care in their own backyard,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “Mike and Ellen Karpf will never know the names of all the families and patients they’ve touched with their vision, even though I know that the Karpfs make an effort to try to meet them and uplift them in their times of need. But that is the highest form of giving — the type that serves many who may never know their names — and which echoes through generations.”
Since the Pavilion A of UK Chandler Hospital opened in May 2011, the 305-seat auditorium has served as a high-tech education center where physicians and staff can take part in grand rounds and other learning opportunities.
When the auditorium was constructed and designed with a grant from the Sarah Scaife Foundation, Scaife Foundation Chair Richard Scaife, longtime friend of the Karpfs, asked that the auditorium be named in honor of Michael and Ellen Karpf at the appropriate later time.
Last year, Dr. Karpf announced he would retire in 2017 following the hiring and appropriate transition period for his replacement. In September, Dr. Mark F. Newman succeeded Karpf and began his post at UK.
In the past six years, the auditorium has become a sought-after community venue for music and other artistic performances and an integral part of the UK HealthCare Arts in HealthCare Program which features a large and internationally recognized visual arts collection and an endowed performing arts program.
In the auditorium, the seats became a focal point of artwork. Upholstered, in a specially commissioned fabric reminiscent of a field of flowers, the inspiration for the design came from Ellen Karpf's admiration of a similar interior at Disney Hall in Los Angeles.
To date, the auditorium has hosted international scientific symposium, policy summits, movies, variety shows, employee training and recognition programs, College of Fine Arts Master and Doctoral Degree thesis programs, major hospital announcements, and theater and musical performances from opera to bluegrass.