Two new undergraduate certificates at University of Kentucky – distilleries and debates, fine old Kentucky traditions upheld

Two new undergraduate certificates were approved by the University Senate on May 4th:

These two new certificates are just the latest of a whole array of undergraduate certificates – see the full list of them all at the UGE website.  However, it is particularly fitting to this Kentucky historian that these two certificates were approved at the same time. Lexington is the home of Henry Clay, and the birthplace of political parties in the new federal republic. The Democratic Republicans and the Federalists debated here in Lexington, the Athens of the West, to great acclaim – gathering crowds in the thousands. Then later the Democratic Party and the Whig Party fought over the funding of the Maysville Road – a turnpike which crossed Main Street of Lexington (Limestone Street) and eventually became U.S. 27.

Henry ClayThe best debaters of the nation would come to Lexington, Kentucky regularly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Just under the present Guignol Theatre is one of several of the old Maxwell Springs. Originally about 24 acres, Maxwell Springs was a park and gathering place for the city of Lexington in the early 1800s. Here on what is now the UK campus was the site for patriotic celebrations, militia formations, political gatherings and barbeques with whiskey “treats” for party faithfuls. It was so well known as a place for civic engagement and political debates that Henry Clay used to say, “No man can call himself a true Kentuckian who has not watered his horse at Maxwell Springs.”

Drs. Seth Debolt (Horticulture, CAFE) and Bert Lynn (Chemistry, A&S) wrote in their program proposal:

“There are two key reasons for offering this program. First, this industry represents the science of one of the oldest products linked to human civilization; thus, education opportunities span a breadth of disciplines. Secondly, this is a global industry that provides a wide and interdisciplinary range of careers. The curriculum was developed due to an urgent need to train people in this area as identified by the local industries. The Bluegrass is home to nearly 95% of one of the world’s premier distilled spirits, bourbon. There are over 70 wineries in the area as well, in addition to numerous large and small breweries.”

And, Kentuckians still love their debates today. In the program proposal for the “Directing Forensics” certificate program, Dr. Will Buntin writes that there is a growing demand for forensics coaches. “Learning to coach competitive public speaking and debate are a unique skill set. … The Commonwealth of Kentucky features extensive competition at all levels of education from middle school to college.” See more about Kentucky’s annual competitions in speech and debate at the College of Communication & Information website.

Together these two new certificate programs celebrate our oldest Kentucky traditions. We look forward to seeing them flourish in the years to come.

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About Randolph Hollingsworth

Assistant Provost, University of Kentucky
This entry was posted in Undergraduate Curriculum and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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