Campus News

New book shares groundbreaking story of Phyllis George, former Ky. First Lady

Phyllis George: Shattering the Ceiling cover art
Cover art courtesy of the University Press of Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 13, 2022) — From her time as Miss America to her work as a groundbreaking female co-host on CBS, Phyllis George led an inspirational life and left a legacy of professionalism.

The University Press of Kentucky’s upcoming release, "Phyllis George: Shattering the Ceiling," tells the story of George’s incredible life and chronicles her accomplishments as a beauty queen, professional broadcaster, advocate of the arts, author, philanthropist and First Lady of Kentucky.

George began her career in the early 1970s after winning the national Miss America pageant. The title granted her the opportunity to travel the world and she parlayed her experience into a career in journalism and broadcast media where she built a reputation that would land her a coveted spot in the world of live sports.

As the first female anchor of a major network sports show, George was listed among the National Football League’s (NFL) legendary contributors on their 2019 list of greatest game-changers. In fact, she was the only broadcaster on that list. George’s work helped pave the way for women in sports journalism — a traditionally male-dominated industry — and inspired them to be unwavering in their quest for a seat at the table.

While she experienced her fair share of public scrutiny, George stood as a pillar for female empowerment until her death in 2020.

Whether one knew her personally or only from her time on television, George left a lasting impression of strength, courage, and kindness that endeared her to all.

Written by multi-award-winning author Paul Volponi and Emmy-award-winning television and film writer Lenny Shulman, "Phyllis George: Shattering the Ceiling" hits bookshelves Sept. 20. Published by the University Press of Kentucky, the book is the first biography to be written of George since her death.

More information about the title can be found at

The University Press of Kentucky is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth, serving Bellarmine University, Berea College, Centre College, Eastern Kentucky University, The Filson Historical Society, Georgetown College, Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, Spalding University, Transylvania University, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, University of Pikeville and Western Kentucky University.

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.