Friday, October 20, 2017

UK's First Mascot

UK tradition tells us that the nickname Wildcats became popular soon after UK defeated Illinois in football on October 9, 1909.  Supposedly, Commandant Philip Carbusie, Head of the Military Department, told a group of students in a chapel service following a victory over Illinois that the Kentucky football team had "fought like Wildcats."  The name wildcats soon became synonymous with UK sports teams.
But young Dulaney Lee O'Roark roamed the football field sidelines as the team's mascot before any wildcats!

Dulaney O'Roark, the son of UK engineering graduate student, Lauren Snyder O'Roark and Anna McCormick O'Roark lived across Rose Street from the football field in a house torn down to make way for the King Alumni House.  

Lauren O'Roark served as the university's yearbook editor in 1908 and 1909.  Young Dulaney became the football team's mascot after his father began taking him to football games where Lauren reported on the games and took photographs for the yearbook.  The photo above appeared in the 1910 yearbook.

Dulaney graduated from UK in 1931 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He went on to have a very successful military career serving as a Military Governor of the rural district of Kemnath in Bavaria after World War II and serving in Korea.  He retired from military service as a full colonel.

Dulaney Lee O'Roark, "The Little Wildcat"

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Name That Stadium

At a time when sports arenas and stadiums change names often in order to capture corporate sponsorship, there was a time when names of stadiums lasted far longer.  Still, a look back shows that even in the early 20th century some confusion surrounded UK's iconic Stoll Field located on the current site of the Otis A. Singletary Center for the Arts.  On either side of Stoll Field rose two concrete grandstands that comprised McLean Stadium, home to the football Wildcats until 1972.

Commonwealth Stadium opened in 1973 on the site of the former UK agriculture farm next to Cooper Drive.  In 2000 UK named the playing surface at the stadium C.M. Newton Field.  Commonwealth Stadium became Kroger Field in 2017 with C.M. Newton Field becoming C.M. Newton Grounds.

Stoll Field Plaque, October 14, 1916

In 1936 the Kentucky Kernel reviewed the then short history of its football field and stadium to highlight the confusion about what to call the home of the football Wildcats.

Stoll Field - McLean Stadium

Text of the UK historical marker placed at the site of Stoll Field/McLean Stadium in 2007:

In 1880 the first college football game ever played in the South was held here at what was eventually named Stoll Field. It was dedicated in 1916 at the Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt game and was named in honor of alumnus and long-term Board of Trustees member Judge Richard C. Stoll. The field was the setting of early football games and an integral part of student life. Class of 2007. 

(Reverse) McLean Stadium- This field, which once pastured President Patterson’s cows, was used for military training during WWI and in 1924 it held McLean Stadium. It was named for Price McLean, an engineering student who was fatally injured in a football game in 1923. McLean Stadium was the site of Kentucky football games until they were moved to Commonwealth Stadium in 1972. Class of 2007.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

UK Students, Please Take a Bath!

Water has always been important to UK and sometimes a scarce commodity. 

October 7-13 is University of Kentucky Water Week, "a week of films, panel discussions, invited speakers and service activities examining climate change impacts on water quality" sponsored by the Colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering, and the Kentucky Geological Survey, all of which are members of the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment’s water systems working group. Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute is also a collaborator.

The focus on water reminded me that in 1930, in addition to economic woes brought on by the Great Depression, Lexington and the University of Kentucky faced a severe drought that put the region's water supply in jeopardy.

During a gathering in Memorial Hall for the first convocation of the 1930 school year, President Frank McVey advised the students that if they had been in the habit of taking a daily bath that they should consider taking one "every other night."  If they had been "taking one every other night, take two baths a week."  But if any student had been taking only one bath a week, McVey encouraged those students "for goodness sake keep that up!"

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Depicting UK Women Students

Hugh Hefner's passing is being marked by the ongoing controversy regarding his objectification of women.  Unfortunately, the University of Kentucky has a long history of emphasizing women's physical appearance more that their intellectual ability and presenting images of women as sexual objects.

The first woman to be recognized at a UK commencement in 1884, Leanora Hoening, received more comments about her appearance that her academic achievement. A reported wrote that she "was a fresh, healthy young woman, with an eye as full and bright as a dove's, and the head of a Greek Venus on a neck like a lily-stalk.  She was a happy, wholesome, appetizing creature, with an expression of frank good-fellowship about her, well mingled with a becoming and maidenly modesty.  

Writing in 1916 about Margaret Ingels, UK's first woman graduate in Engineering, a reporter noted breathlessly that Ingles was not of the "mannish" type but rather "ladylike" and added that, "she is medium height (about five feet two inches) and of slender figure.  She is really pretty; has large, intelligent gray eyes, the slightly tanned complexion of the outdoor girl and the long upper lip that denotes a poetical temperament and a love of ease and luxury.  But this feature is given the lie by the strength of her chin and the way she closes her mouth as she works."

Kentucky Kernel Front Page, January 18, 1957
By the mid-twentieth century the Kentucky Kernel represented the changing culture in it pages by portraying women students  as "Kernel Kuties" or "Kernel Pin-Ups."  

Front Page Kentucky Kernel, September 28, 1950

What will this generation of women students demand from the popular culture in regard to the representation of women on campuses across the United States?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Learning A Skill...Learning To Live

The debate over "liberal" versus science and "practical" studies is as old as the University of Kentucky itself.  Founded in 1865 following the Morrill Act that intended to support agricultural and mechanical education and access to public higher education generally, UK's early history illustrates the persistent tension between "practical" and "liberal" education.

The details of the early debates are presented in James Hopkins, The University of Kentucky: Origins and Early Years (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1951) and J. Allen Smith, College of Agriculture, University of Kentucky, Early and Middle Years, 1865-1951).  

President James K. Patterson, UK's first president and a central figure in the debates, received a "liberal" education at Hanover College and his intellectual interests focused primarily on philosophical studies.  Many believed that he hindered the growth of UK's science, engineering, and agricultural programs because of his own background and intellectual interests.

As explained by Smith, "In an 1880 report...he (Patterson) contrasted eloquently and convincingly the agriculture and mechanical colleges conducted under the 'narrow gauge' view with those conducted under the 'broad gauge’ view, to the great advantage of the latter, and he declared the intent of the Morrill Act of 1862 was 'to make scientific and technical education the privilege of all, and not the prerogative of the dignify labor and ennoble toil by making the agriculturist and the mechanic the equal in intelligence, in culture, in breadth of information, and in nobleness of aim of those in any rank and in any profession of life."

Unfortunately, the debate over “liberal’ versus “practical” education continues in 2017.  People outside the academy somehow feel the need to pit interpretive dance against STEM majors, English against engineering, art against agriculture, and foreign language against business.  But within the university there is tremendous cooperation among the colleges.  I believe President Patterson would be very pleased with the scope and breadth of his university today and the opportunities that UK students have to learn a skill and learn to live.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wendell Ford - Last Governor to Serve as UK Board Chair

Today is Wendell Hampton Ford's birthday (September 8, 1924 – January 22, 2015).  He would have been 93.

Wendell Ford served Kentucky as State Senator, Lt. Governor, Governor, and U.S. Senator.  His passing in 2015 brought tributes to his life and service from all levels of government.

Senator Ford attended the University of Kentucky during the 1942-1943 academic year leaving to return to Davies County to help on his family's farm before entering the military during World War II.  Upon becoming Governor in 1971, like his predecessors, Ford became Chair of the UK Board of Trustees. However, during his time as Governor, he supported the removal of the Governor of Kentucky as UK's Board Chair, therefore, making Wendell Ford the last governor to serve in that position.  

Many believed that removing the Governor from the board would help keep politics out of the university. Perhaps it did, but more recent events in Kentucky illustrate that politics, as practiced in the bluegrass state, are never far removed from Kentucky's educational institutions.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

UK's Scottish President

The legacy of James K. Patterson is remembered across the UK campus because of the Patterson Office Tower, the Patterson statue, Patterson Hall, and the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. UK's first president served four decades before retiring in 1910.  He is credited with guiding the university through its difficult early years and setting the institution on a path to become today's modern public research university.

What many may not know is that President Patterson was born March 26, 1833 in the Gorbals parish of Glasgow, Scotland.  His family immigrated to a farm near Madison, Indiana in 1842.

Moreover, at the age of four, an accident severely injured young Patterson's leg requiring him to walk with the aid of a crutch (which can be seen as part of the statue) for the remainder of his life.

UK's founding president overcame his immigrant status, a disability, and meager family resources to play a crucial role in the history of the University of Kentucky.

Photograph of Main Street Gorbals,1868
Today, the University of Kentucky welcomes students, faculty, and staff from across the globe and is committed to a policy of providing opportunities to people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

I trust that commitment on the part of UK would have made President James K. Patterson proud.