University of Kentucky - The Commonwealth’s Flagship Institution
The innovation, creativity, quality teaching and uplifting service underway at the University of Kentucky touch the lives of people throughout the Commonwealth, the country and the world. Our mission to advance Kentucky, outlined in our strategic plan - the UK PURPOSE - calls us to ground-breaking research, community outreach, intellectually rigorous education and technological advances that contribute to the betterment of the Commonwealth while also fostering a cultural quality of life through our museums, libraries and special events.
Founded in 1865 as a land-grant institution adjacent to downtown Lexington, UK is nestled in the scenic heart of the beautiful Bluegrass Region of Kentucky. From its early beginnings, with only 190 students and 10 professors, UK’s campus now covers more than 918 acres and is home to more than 31,500 students and approximately 24,000 employees, including almost 2,800 full-time faculty, and operates an annual budget of $5.6 billion. UK is one of eight universities in the United States that has colleges of agriculture, engineering, medicine and pharmacy on a single campus, leading to groundbreaking discoveries and unique interdisciplinary collaboration. The state’s flagship university consists of 16 academic and professional, degree-granting colleges where students can choose from more than 200 majors and degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Colleges include Agriculture, Food and Environment; Arts and Sciences; the Gatton College of Business and Economics; Communication and Information; Dentistry; Design; Education; Engineering; Fine Arts; Health Sciences; the J. David Rosenberg College of Law; Medicine; Nursing; Pharmacy; Public Health; and Social Work. The Lewis Honors College provides an immersive liberal arts education with the resources of a leading research university. The Graduate School prepares the next generation of business, industry and academic leaders. Supporting and emboldening our scholarly community is a comprehensive research library system made up of nine facilities, including the world-class William T. Young Library.
The student body is diverse, representing more than 100 countries, nearly every state in the nation and all 120 Kentucky counties. The university continues to attract the best and brightest from Kentucky and beyond. Several hundred students participated in the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program or the Governor’s School for the Arts; and the university enrolled more than 800 National Merit, National Achievement and National Hispanic Scholars in the last several years. UK students compete successfully for prestigious scholarships and awards, such as the Fulbright, Astronaut, Truman, Goldwater, Marshall, Udall, Rhodes and Gates Cambridge. UK has had 14 Truman Scholars, 6 Marshall Scholars and its 10th Rhodes Scholar was named in 2018-19. Additionally, UK has celebrated 25 Astronaut Scholars, as well as 30 Goldwater Scholars since 1995. For 2021, 10 UK students and alumni were awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. In the past 10 years, 50 UK students and 61 faculty and staff have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships in support of teaching, research and professional development activities around the world.
By putting students first; taking care of our people; inspiring ingenuity; ensuring greater trust, transparency and accountability; and bringing together many people, one community, the University of Kentucky continues to equip the next generation of leaders who will impact our world for the better.
The University of Kentucky has a broad range of resources centered on a single campus in the heart of the Bluegrass. Our wide array of programs allows us to excel in multidisciplinary studies and fosters an environment of cooperative engagement across all colleges, programs and research endeavors. Because of the lives we touch and teach, we remain anchored in our mission to Kentucky - to educate, innovate, heal and serve. To be sure, our complex, multi-faceted mission looks different today in many ways than it did in 1865. However, our sense of responsibility to our communities on campus and across the region is resolute. The mission has evolved and grown. The vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world beyond remains the same. They remain our compass - the soul of the University of Kentucky.
In the last several years, UK has received nearly 100 national rankings for excellence in academics, research, health care and economic development. U.S. News and World Report ranks several of UK’s graduate programs among the nation’s best: the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration is ranked fourth in the category of public finance and budgeting, and the College of Pharmacy is ranked sixth. The College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Hispanic Studies, Department of English, and doctoral program in Clinical Psychology have received top honors for faculty productivity and scholarly activity. The Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations named the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce among the top 20 master’s degree programs in international affairs in the world. In the last few years, the colleges of Engineering, Communication and Information, Education, Health Sciences and the Gatton College of Business and Economics have been ranked in the top 30 in their respective fields. In addition, Gatton’s Master’s in Accountancy program has among the highest passage rates on the CPA exam. The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment - the foundation of our land-grant mission - boasts the nation’s third largest Cooperative Extension Service, and UK’s J. David Rosenberg College of Law has been ranked a best value law school by National Jurist Magazine.
UK’s campus also offers facilities that advance the scholarship of its students and the research endeavors of its faculty. Indeed, the institution has expended more than $3 billion in little more than a decade on facilities that enhance living, learning, scholarship and athletics across the institution.
At the heart of the campus is the iconic William T. Young Library, the most visible of several facilities that comprise UK Libraries. The stately architecture features a 93-foot-tall rotunda and a dramatic five-floor atrium allowing natural light to pour in from skylights. UK Libraries is among the world’s leading research libraries with a broad scope of advanced technology that offers students, faculty, staff and Kentucky residents special access to current information online, in addition to printed resources.
Over the last several years, the University of Kentucky has engaged in an effort to revitalize student living and learning spaces. UK’s public/private partnership with EdR/Greystar has yielded more than 6,850 modern beds and more than 200 active learning spaces in 14 buildings - a more than $450 million investment made by our partners.
- Johnson Hall and Donovan Hall opened in fall 2013;
- Chellgren Hall, Woodland Glen II, Haggin Hall, Jewell Hall and Blazer Hall opened in fall 2014;
- Woodland Glen III, IV and V opened in fall 2015;
- Holmes Hall and Boyd Hall opened in fall 2016; and
- University Flats and Lewis Hall opened in fall 2017.
Research at the University of Kentucky is a dynamic enterprise encompassing traditional scholarship, the humanities, health care and emerging fields and technologies. The scope and scale of UK’s research enterprise results in more than $750 million annually in economic impact and more than 4,500 jobs across the state.
With more than 50 research centers and institutes, UK researchers are discovering new knowledge; providing a rich training ground for current students and the next generation of researchers; advancing the economic growth of the Commonwealth of Kentucky; and exploring art and creativity of diverse cultures.
Through a $14 million National Science Foundation grant, UK is equipping EduceLab, a cultural heritage imaging and analysis user facility. This one-of-a-kind lab will allow UK to be a global leader in developing innovative artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for the unique challenges presented by cultural heritage objects.
UK, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and the U.S. Army established a five-year, $50 million collaboration meet the country’s strategic research needs in materials processing and manufacturing technologies. UK’s project, “Next Generation Materials and Processing Technologies” (NextGen MatProTech), received $23.8 million from the U.S. Department of Defense.
Among the brightest examples of UK’s investment in transformative research is the Markey Cancer Center, one of 71 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers in the nation and the only one in Kentucky. Markey’s robust research and clinical enterprise is the cornerstone of our commitment to improving the health and welfare of our state, which is burdened by the nation’s highest rate of cancer deaths per 100,000 people.
UK is one of the few universities in the country with a research and teaching campus and a medical center in one central location. That proximity, and the willingness of our scientists and scholars to work together across disciplines, make innovation possible.
Through the collaborative efforts of nearly 200 faculty and staff across 12 departments and colleges, the University of Kentucky was awarded a $20 million Clinical Translational Sciences Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As one of only 60 institutions with this research distinction, UK was awarded the CTSA for its potential in moving research and discovery in the lab into practical field and community applications. The CTSA and NCI are part of a trifecta of federal research grants that includes an Alzheimer’s Disease Center. UK is one of 29 universities in the country to hold all three premier grants from NIH.
In addition, UK’s commitment to addressing relevant and complex questions is evident in the $87 million HEALing Communities Study grant from the National Institutes of Health to reduce opioid overdose deaths across the Commonwealth. This work, in partnership with the state and federal government, is designed to discover and implement research-driven solutions to stem the tide of a national crisis. In 2020 the study fast-tracked naloxone distribution for inmates being released from prison, a critical transition point for people with opioid use disorder.
Established in 1957, the medical center at UK is one of the nation’s finest academic medical centers. UK HealthCare is the clinical enterprise and academic medical center of the University of Kentucky and includes 965 beds at three hospitals - UK Chandler Hospital which includes a level 1-trauma center, transplant center and NIH-designated cancer center; UK Good Samaritan Hospital - an acute care facility; and Kentucky Children’s Hospital. In addition, UK HealthCare has more than 250 ambulatory clinics. UK HealthCare is comprised of more than 12,000 people - physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals - all dedicated to providing the most advanced, most effective care available. On a monthly basis in 2021, UK HealthCare provided more than 1,355 inpatient surgeries, 1,318 outpatient surgeries, 35,481 radiology procedures, 8,676 emergency department visits and 184,459 hospital-based outpatient clinic visits.
For seven years running, UK HealthCare has been ranked No. 1 in Kentucky in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals Rankings. The Markey Cancer Center is perennially in the Top 50 nationally for cancer care, rising to number 33 in 2022. Additionally, Kentucky Children’s Hospital recently ranked nationally in two specialties - orthopedics and cardiology, in the 2021-22 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings.
The university has demonstrated its commitment to partnerships with businesses and other institutions of higher learning. As a $5.6 billion university, UK is the region’s largest employer and is shaping a better relationship with the community by directly engaging with businesses, local government and civic service organizations. Additionally, the university hired a supplier diversity manager as part of a long-term commitment to bolster and strengthen ties to minority-owned businesses and vendors.
UK’s reach extends far beyond the borders of Fayette County. As an anchor institution for the Bluegrass Economic Advanced Movement, UK’s College of Engineering and graduates of our institution are a critical component of growing an advanced manufacturing economy in Central Kentucky. UK is also part of the Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium, a collection of postsecondary institutions working together to advance the cause of learning. And UK works collaboratively with other institutions to establish joint degree programs and improve the pipeline of students transferring between colleges and universities.
Thanks to a unique partnership between UK’s College of Engineering and the Bluegrass Community and Technical College, students can earn an Associate of Applied Science and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology. The College’s new Department of Engineering Technology - made possible in large part to a $2.25 million gift from Toyota - offers two four-year undergraduate degrees in lean systems engineering technology and computer engineering technology. Graduates of these pathways will be trained in the latest technologies and equipped with the practical skills necessary for thriving in advanced technology industries.
UK’s agenda remains committed to accelerating the university’s academic excellence in all areas and gaining worldwide recognition for its outstanding academic programs, its commitment to students, its investment in pioneering research and discovery, its success in building a diverse community and its engagement with the larger society. It’s all part of the university’s mission as a 21st century flagship and land-grant research university. From its Nobel Laureates to cutting-edge work in addressing health disparities, and from the artistic wonders that stir souls to our scientific creativity that inspires minds, UK seeks a brighter future through the contributions of our faculty, staff, students and alumni. We are the University of Kentucky.