James Kennedy Patterson, served from 1869 to 1910 as president of the institutions that were to become the University of Kentucky. Through his vision, diplomatic skills, administrative acumen, and, at times, financial support, the fledgling Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) College of Kentucky was transformed into an independent state university.
|Ambrotype of a young James Patterson|
|Lucelia Wing Patterson|
One of the A&M president's foremost administrative efforts, following the erection of the college's first buildings on its new Lexington Fairgrounds site, ultimately at his own expense, was an attempt to repair the fiscal damage incurred by the school during its preceding thirteen years of existence in linkage with Kentucky University. To this end he led the fight to convince the Kentucky General Assembly to enact legislation establishing a one-half-cent state property tax to raise desperately needed funds to support the struggling College. The climax of his crusade - an impassioned speech on the floor of the Senate - succeeded in sweeping away the formidable, organized opposition to the tax, and the measure was approved in 1882. The revenues from this new tax, however, proved insufficient to provide for the college's stability and continued growth. With the financial situation of the institution in question, Patterson considered other means of fundraising. When all other options had been exhausted he secured a personal loan to procure the needed money.
|President Patterson at his desk|
|Dedication of the Patterson statue in 1934|
Adapted from James Kennedy Patterson(1833-1922), 1869-1910 by Rob Parmley, Nancy DeMarcus, and Frank Stanger http://libraries.uky.edu/libpage.php?lweb_id=320&llib_id=13
The Guide to the James K. Patterson presidential papers, 1856-1957 can be found on ExploreUK at http://exploreuk.uky.edu/catalog/xt7ghx15n565/guide