'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.

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The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.