Extending our Capacity as a Place of Knowledge, Discourse, and Service

Friday, Feb. 10, 2017

Last week, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts visited the University of Kentucky for the first John G. Heyburn II Initiative for Excellence in the Federal Judiciary Conference. The event was a celebration of the ways the UK community, in partnership, continues to extend our capacity as a place of knowledge, discourse, and service.

It was an honor to welcome the Chief Justice. I’m thankful to Dean Brennan and so many people from the College of Law and our Libraries who made it possible. And, of course, we are all thankful to Dr. Martha Heyburn who helped establish this national, nonpartisan federal judicial initiative in honor of the trailblazing U.S. Senior District Judge John G. Heyburn II.

As President Capilouto noted in his remarks, the event was made even more special, because it represented one of many times a notable, influential leader has visited our campus. In fact, it is a hallmark of our community that we bring many scholars and leaders to the University of Kentucky to discuss topics of current interest.

We’ve brought many of the foremost legal scholars and leaders to the University of Kentucky campus to discuss legal topics of current interest, including Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan and Samuel Alito; Justice Albie Sachs of the South African Constitutional Court; Yale Law School Dean Robert Post; and the Honorable Abner J. Mikva.

Last fall, former United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited UK to address the drug abuse crisis as part of the Department of Justice’s first National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week. While she discussed both solutions and challenges with respect to drug abuse in the United States, she also declared Kentucky as a model state for its prevention work.

The University of Kentucky's Martin Luther King (MLK) Center brought co-founder and chairman of the Black Panther Party Bobby Seale and civil rights activist Shaun King to campus as a part of its “Convo Series,” with the topic “Activism Then and Now.”

Last year, Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities William Adams also joined us for the Bale Boone Symposium. Hosted by the Gaines Center, the symposium promotes dialogue, intellectual exploration, and partnerships among campus, Bluegrass, and Commonwealth communities by sponsoring an array of public humanities and arts events. The director participated in a panel on human connectedness, titled “Paying Attention and The Way We Live Now.

Most recently, Dr. Doug Lowy, interim director of the National Cancer Institute, visited the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, continuing a dialogue on cancer disparities in Appalachia. Major topics of discussion centered around the cancer types which affect Kentuckians the most: lung cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer/HPV, and the hepatitis C virus, which is linked to liver cancer.

These events illustrate the uniqueness of our campus, as a harbor for discourse, discovery and impact across many disciplines. Bringing individuals of this caliber allows bright opportunities for our community to engage, learn, and grow.

We look forward to continuing this tradition.


Timothy S. Tracy