Mar 04, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Gaines Center for the Humanities

The Gaines Center for the Humanities is distinctive among special programs at state universities. Designed to enrich the upper levels of undergraduate study and thereby to offer exceptional opportunities for dedicated students, the programs of the center are open on a competitive basis to any student interested in the humanities, regardless of particular major or intended profession.

Activities of the Gaines Center are developed to encourage participation by a large segment of the university population. Conferences and lectures, informal seminars and discussions are open to all those interested. While the center’s principal purpose is to enhance an appreciation of the humanities, its programs are arranged to stimulate inquiry about the relationship of the humanities to other broad areas of investigation, such as the sciences, the arts, and the professions.

The John R. and Joan B. Gaines Fellowships in the Humanities

A major feature of the Gaines Center for the Humanities is the Gaines Fellowship Program. The Gaines Fellowships are given in recognition of outstanding academic performance, demonstrated independent study, an interest in public issues, and a desire to enhance understanding of the human condition.

The fellowships are awarded in the student’s sophomore year for tenure in the junior and senior years. Renewal in the senior year is contingent upon satisfactory academic performance.

All Gaines Fellows are required to take a specially-designed, four-credit-hour seminar in the humanities (HMN 301 and HMN 302) during both semesters of the junior year. Moreover, each Fellow in the senior year completes an undergraduate thesis (HMN 497) under the supervision of three faculty members and with a credit of three hours each semester.

Gaines Fellows also participate in all social and cultural activities sponsored by the Gaines Center.


Any student enrolled at the University of Kentucky, or any student enrolled in a community college who intends to transfer to the University of Kentucky, is eligible to apply.

The Thomas D. Clark Lectureship in the Humanities

Created to bring eminent scholars and authors to the campus, the Thomas D. Clark Lectureship stipulates that the recipient will offer a public lecture and will lead a session of a special humanities seminar related to the Lecturer’s professional field on interest. Juniors and seniors, selected on the basis of written application, participate in this seminar.

The Mary C. Bingham Seminar in the Humanities

The Mary C. Bingham Seminar in the Humanities is offered every other year and is open on a competitive basis to any junior or senior in the University. Participating students are selected on the basis of written application. The seminar combines course work with a special summer field trip up to four weeks in length either in this country or abroad (four credit hours). The seminar is concerned with the comparative study of a humanities subject that benefits from site analysis (e.g., cities, landscape). Conducted by a faculty member whose proposal has been selected in competition, the seminar offers up to a $1,000 summer travel scholarship to each student participant.

Edward T. Breathitt Undergraduate Lectureship in the Humanities

The Edward T. Breathitt Lectureship is the first undergraduate lectureship established at an American university. It is named in honor of an eminent Kentuckian and an outstanding alumnus of the University of Kentucky whose interest in higher education has been exceptional.

The lectureship is awarded to an undergraduate student whose qualities of mind and spirit have been expressed eloquently on one or more of the basic characteristics that distinguish the humanities as fields of study. They are: form, value, memory.

Any university faculty member may nominate a qualified upper level student from any discipline. Each nominee must submit a twopage prospectus describing the lecture topic (to be of the candidate’s own choice) and a brief, tentative biography, as well as a personal resume and an additional letter of recommendation. The recipient receives a special award and an honorarium.

How to Apply

Students interested in any of these special educational opportunities should write or telephone:

Gaines Center for the Humanities
218 East Maxwell Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0344