Skip to main content
The University of Kentucky: A Look Back
  • Weston T. Thompson, University of Kentucky
  • Terry L. Birdwhistell, University of Kentucky
From the vantage point of the late 1990s, one might assume that the University of Kentucky's physical location and prominent role in Kentucky education was inevitable. The University now sprawls from downtown Lexington to the near suburbs south of the city. High rise dormitories dominate the skyline of the south campus and the new William T. Young Library links the historic central campus to the newer and expanding south campus. Even the University's most enthusiastic early supporters would be astonished at today's University of Kentucky. At its birth the University of Kentucky was located elsewhere and was not even called by its present name. Public higher education for Kentuckians was not available in 1865 when the Commonwealth seized the opportunity presented by the Morrill Act to charter a land-grant college for Kentucky's white males. The new Agricultural and Mechanical College became an appendage of Kentucky University located in Lexington. Kentucky University was a private, church-affiliated institution that traced it roots to the all-male Transylvania University, touted as the first college west of the Allegheny mountains.
  • University of Kentucky,
  • History
Publication Date
Publisher Statement
Copyright 1998-2012, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Citation Information
Weston T. Thompson and Terry L. Birdwhistell. The University of Kentucky: A Look Back. (1998)
Available at: