'Behind the Blue': Deirdre Scaggs on Women Who Helped Shape UK

Headshot of Deirdre Scaggs

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 28, 2022) — Throughout March for Women’s History Month, the University of Kentucky is spotlighting Women Making History. These women are leading their fields of research, crossing traditional academic boundaries, and impacting Kentucky’s most pressing challenges including opioid use disorder treatment, aging and Alzheimer’s, water and air filtration, environmental impacts on health and suicide prevention.

They are mentoring the next generation of women scientists and scholars, curating stories and creating artworks illuminating who we are. Their work and voices shape the University of Kentucky.

The “Women Making History” series continues with this episode of "Behind the Blue" featuring Deirdre Scaggs, associate dean of UK’s Special Collections Research Center and director of the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center.

Scaggs takes us back in time to describe what life was like for women throughout the history of the University of Kentucky — from its infancy until today. You’ll be introduced to the many female leaders who pushed boundaries in their work as students, faculty members and administrators.

Scaggs recently collaborated with UK Libraries senior oral historian Terry Birdwhistell on the book “Our Rightful Place: A History of Women at the University of Kentucky, 1880-1945.”

“Our Rightful Place” was published by the University Press of Kentucky in July 2020. Through yearbooks, photographs and other materials housed in Special Collections, the work explores the struggle for gender equity in higher education by examining UK’s first women undergraduates, faculty and administrators.

"Behind the Blue" is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify. Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.

For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue. Transcripts for this or other episodes of Behind the Blue can be downloaded from the show’s blog page.

To discover what’s wildly possible at the University of Kentucky, click here.

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.