Honoring our Past


Across campus, our physical spaces are changing to meet the demands of a 21st century living and learning experience at the University of Kentucky. We set these priorities five years ago because too much of our campus infrastructure was in deep disrepair. It didn't serve our students or match the talent of our faculty and staff.

We are changing that reality. Because of the power of “we,” UK has carried out a $1.9 billion transformation in that time.

But that doesn't change our history. At the June Board of Trustees meeting, the University officially announced the naming of new residence halls on north and central campus to honor our past and the legacy left by those who came before us.

We took action, because we are a place defined by our people - the mothers and fathers of our university.

Patterson Hall was the first women's dormitory on campus and completely separated from the rest of the University. Surrounding it were residence halls that held the names of many of the Mothers of our campus: Holmes, Boyd, Jewell, and Blazer.

Who were they?

Sarah Bennett Holmes served as UK's Dean of Women from 1942-1957, and staunchly defended the rights and welfare of women students. She earned two degrees from the University of Kentucky and, in honor of her service, was named state mother of Kentucky and received the Sullivan Medallion.

We are naming Limestone Park I for Sarah Bennett Holmes.

Cleona Bell Matthews Boyd was a Missourian. She was a teacher of the classics, Greek and Latin. Active in the UK community, she was president of the UK Woman's Club and the Board of Control of Women's Dormitories for 25 years.

We are naming Limestone Park II for Cleona Bell Matthews Boyd.

Francis Jewell McVey was a native Kentuckian and graduate of Vassar and Columbia. She was an instructor in the English department from 1915-1921, and served as Dean of Women from 1921 until she married President Frank McVey in 1923 and ended her employment with the University. Even still, she became an ambassador for the University, opened Maxwell Place to the campus and community, and remained engaged in campus and civic life.

We are naming Champions Court I for Francis Jewell McVey.

Georgia M. Blazer was the first woman appointed to the Board of Trustees and served continuously from 1939 to 1961. The current Blazer hall is no longer home to students, but instead serves as a student support facility while we rebuild and expand the Student Center.

We are naming Champions Court II for Georgia M. Blazer.

We will also name Central Hall II - next to Lyman T. Johnson Hall - for our fourth president, Herman Donovan. President Donovan pushed for the creation of a Medical School, and it is fitting that we honor his legacy in close proximity to the part of campus he helped shape. The former residence hall named for President Donovan was razed for the construction of a new science building.

We hold the key to unlocking the brightest hopes and dreams of our students, faculty, staff, patients, and the Commonwealth we serve. We need only listen, act with an overwhelming sense of "we," and continue the momentum we've built, together.

Because of those who came before us, we are delivering on a promise that has defined our work for more than 150 years.