Campus News

UK Celebrates 15th Anniversary of Founding of UK Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence

Current Chellgren fellows.
Current Chellgren Fellows.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 8, 2021) — University of Kentucky students, alumni, faculty, administrators and friends gathered recently at the Chase Tower to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the founding of the UK Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence. Alumni from nine classes of the student fellowship program were in attendance at the dinner.

The Chellgren Center has facilitated the growth of over 508 students throughout its 15 year history, including 31 students currently enrolled in the sophomore program. Many alumni of this program pursue education beyond an undergraduate degree, with approximately 100 former student fellows currently enrolled in graduate or professional studies.

“When I first became part of the Chellgren Student Fellows program in the fall of 2016, I had no concept of how important research was or would become for my career. Because the Chellgren Center not only required new fellows to begin an undergraduate research experience as part of the program, but equipped us and guided us to do so, I was enabled to approach Dr. Warren Alilain to discuss joining his lab,” recalls Aaron Silverstein, a member of the 10th class of fellows. “I stayed in the Alilain laboratory for the remainder of my undergraduate training, and now as an M.D./Ph.D. student completing my graduate thesis under Dr. Alilain’s eminent mentorship, I credit the Chellgren Center for giving me the tools and motivation to initially seek out the research opportunities which have allowed me to achieve my goals.”

Special guests at the celebration included Mr. and Mrs. Paul W. Chellgren, the benefactors whose continued support created the center along with a culture of enrichment in students’ lives. As a student in the UK Honors Program, Paul Chellgren was the president of the student body his senior year before earning a Harvard MBA and a D.D.E. from Oxford University. In 2014, Chellgren was also awarded an honorary doctorate from UK.

“In celebrating the 15th year of the Chellgren Center, the University of Kentucky publicly recognizes its deep gratitude to Mr. Paul Chellgren for enabling our students to realize the enduring benefits of undergraduate excellence,” said Philipp Kraemer, the Chellgren Chair for Undergraduate Excellence. “By supporting new opportunities for students to learn and for faculty to develop creative new ways of teaching, the Chellgren Center has become known as a force for educational innovation.”

The Chellgren Center today takes a leadership role in advocating for undergraduate excellence, educational innovation and community service. The center currently supports an endowed chair, five endowed professors and several faculty fellows. This support enables faculty to pursue various research aspirations and adds to the environment of creativity and innovation that Paul Chellgren has developed. In addition to the Chellgren Student Fellows, the center also oversees student membership in the prestigious national academic honors societies of Alpha Lambda Delta, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi.

The Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence is housed within the Office of the Provost. To learn more about the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence, please visit

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.