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Mission Statement

The University of Kentucky is a public, land grant university dedicated to improving people's lives through excellence in education, research and creative work, service and health care. As Kentucky’s flagship institution, the University plays a critical leadership role by promoting diversity, inclusion, economic development and human well-being.

The University of Kentucky:

  • Facilitates learning, informed by scholarship and research;
  • Expands knowledge through research, scholarship and creative activity; and
  • Serves a global community by disseminating, sharing and applying knowledge.

The University, as the flagship institution, plays a critical leadership role for the Commonwealth by contributing to the economic development and quality of life within Kentucky's borders and beyond. The University nurtures a diverse community characterized by fairness and equal opportunity.


Nestled in the heart of Kentucky’s scenic Bluegrass region, UK was founded in 1865 as a land-grant university. From its beginnings with only 190 students and 10 professors, UK’s campus now covers more than 716 acres in Lexington and is home to more than 27,000 students and more than 13,500 employees. The university also operates remote research laboratories in areas such as Princeton, Ky., and Quicksand, Ky.

The University of Kentucky has long embraced its mission to provide excellent education to outstanding resident and non-resident students, recognizing that a knowledgeable populace is the best foundation for a prosperous Commonwealth. This mission has been further enhanced since 1997, when the Kentucky General Assembly mandated that UK become a Top 20 public research university by 2020. President Lee T. Todd Jr. has focused the University on achieving this goal through the development of a Top 20 Business Plan in 2005 that gained national prominence for its vision and detail.

“As the state’s flagship institution, UK is mindful of its responsibility to help all Kentuckians,” Todd says. “Our land-grant mission calls on us to make a positive impact across the state. We need to be an education leader, while remaining accessible to all Kentuckians. We need to be a cultural leader, sharing new ideas and opportunities across the state. And we need to be leading Kentucky’s charge into the new economy. We are the catalyst for a new Commonwealth.”


Students from 115 countries, every state in the nation and every Kentucky county provide a diverse learning and cultural environment that enriches the educational experience at UK. While the student population has enjoyed steady growth in the past several years, the average ACT score of entering freshmen has continually exceeded the national average and is competitive with UK’s benchmark institutions — the top public universities in America. The high quality of UK’s students is confirmed by their successful competition for the most prestigious awards, including the Fulbright, Truman, Goldwater and Marshall scholarships. UK has three times been selected as one of only 13 universities nationwide to participate in the Beckman Foundation Scholarship Program, allowing the University to award grants of $19,300 to students to support their own research projects. Boasting 13 Truman Scholars, UK has won recognition from the Harry S. Truman Foundation as an honor institution for exemplary participation in the program.


Thousands of Kentuckians from across the state feel the impact of UK’s research and public service annually, through programs aimed at improving industrial productivity, agricultural profitability and home life. Programs like the Health Education through Extension Leadership bring the results of health research to local communities, helping boost the quality of life across the state.

Meanwhile, Kentuckians have responded to the University’s commitment to the Commonwealth through their remarkable support of The Campaign for the University of Kentucky. The fund-raising effort — the largest in state history — to enhance facilities, academic programs, public service and scholarships recently surpassed its $1 billion goal. The generosity of UK’s alumni and friends allowed it to fully utilize its allocation of state support available through Kentucky’s Research Challenge Trust Fund program.


UK students enjoy an enormous array of choices, with some 200 majors and degree programs in 17 academic and professional colleges available. UK is one of only a few public universities nationally to house colleges of Agriculture, Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, Communications and Information Studies, Dentistry, Design, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Health Sciences, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Social Work on a single campus.


“Determination” is truly the word describing UK’s focus on achieving its Top 20 research goal. For the last seven years, the University has consistently exceeded $200 million in sponsored projects awards. UK’s total research expenditures for fiscal year 2007 increased to a record-high $332 million. A 2007 national ranking by Academic Analytics placed UK 19th among public institutions for scholarly productivity for its faculty.

Medical Centers

The UK Chandler Medical Center, opened in 1960, stands among the nation’s finest academic medical centers. Its faculty, students and staff take pride in achieving excellence in education, patient care, research, and community service. One of two Level 1 Trauma Centers in Kentucky, UK cares for the most critically injured and ill patients in the region. More than 500 faculty physicians and dentists, 400 resident physicians and a staff of 3,200 health professionals provide care in the 473-bed UK Chandler Hospital and Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

In spring 2007, ground was broken for a new $525 million UK Chandler Hospital. This more than 1-million square foot facility, to be completed in 2011, is the cornerstone of a 20-year, $2.5 billion plan to construct the Commonwealth Medical Campus of the Future. Among the campus’ components are a now-under-construction $120 million pharmacy building, additional research buildings, a new shared Health Sciences Learning Center, and additional buildings to house programs for the colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Health Sciences, Dentistry, and Public Health.


No university can provide adequate opportunities to its students — or to the residents of the state it serves — without outstanding library facilities. The University of Kentucky exceeds expectations because it operates a nationally recognized research library system, with the capstone being the world-class William T. Young Library. UK’s book endowment is the largest among public universities. Its library network and technology provide extraordinary service to students in the colleges of Medicine, Law, Engineering, Fine Arts and other programs. Meanwhile, students, faculty and Kentucky residents can use UK Libraries’ advanced technology to access the most up-to-date information from online journals, government publications and private studies.


UK’s agenda aims to accelerate the University’s movement toward academic excellence in all areas and gaining worldwide recognition for its outstanding academic programs, its commitment to undergraduates, its success in building a diverse community, and its engagement with the larger society. It’s all part of the University’s strategy to help position Kentucky as a leader in American prosperity.