Campus News

'Behind the Blue': UK Philanthropy and the 'Kentucky Can' campaign

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 19, 2022) — The Office of Philanthropy is the fundraising arm of the University of Kentucky. Charged with furthering the university’s mission and vision, the philanthropy staff works with faculty, students, programs, colleges and administration to identify the university’s top priorities. Then, it connects the university to the people, corporations and foundations who can make their dreams a reality.

In 2018, the university launched the $2.1 billion "Kentucky Can" campaign to tackle these challenges by improving opportunities for student success, funding innovative research, improving health care for all Kentuckians, strengthening our alumni network and supporting our athletics programs.

The fundraising campaign is the largest in the history of the Commonwealth, and is designed to create thousands of scholarships to expand access to education at the University of Kentucky and to dramatically accelerate UK’s efforts to solve the Commonwealth’s most challenging health and economic issues.

On this episode of "Behind the Blue," Tom Harris, UK’s vice president for university relations, discusses the need for philanthropy at UK, the current state of the "Kentucky Can" campaign and its potential impact, the importance of alumni and friends of the university to philanthropic efforts, and more.

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For questions or comments about this or any other episode of “Behind the Blue," email or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.