Seven certainly seems to be a lucky number for UofL, as years that end in “7” pop up in significant events throughout campus history. Here are seven schools, organizations and traditions that celebrated anniversaries in 2017. Some anniversaries are centuries in the making while others are more recent. But all demonstrate that UofL has a long history of academic excellence and Cardinal tradition that continues today.
1837 – Louisville Medical Institute opens doors
The Louisville Medical Institute was founded in 1837 as Louisville’s first medical school. It was later purchased by the University of Louisville and merged many times over the years, resulting in what is now recognized as the UofL School of Medicine. This year, the school will celebrate 180 years of medical education in Louisville. The school has now graduated more doctors than any other institution in the Commonwealth. UofL has since partnered with Norton Children’s Hospital, Kentucky’s only full-service, free-standing pediatric care facility dedicated exclusively to caring for children, and James Graham Brown Cancer Center, which is a global leader in immunotherapy in addition to having one of the largest clinical trial programs in the region.
1887 – UofL dental department created
In 1887, the Hospital College of Medicine created a dental department, which eventually led to the creation of the UofL School of Dentistry in 1918. This year is the 130-year milestone for the School of Dentistry. The school has an estimated 100,000 patient visits each year, allowing individuals and families access to oral care and allowing students to practice dentistry. In addition to hands-on training, the dental facility has some of the most advanced simulation technology available. With the school on the cutting edge of technology, the next 130 years are certain to produce plenty to smile about.
1947 – Songwriting contest leads to longtime alma mater
In 1947, the University of Louisville proposed a contest to students with a grand prize of $50 for best composed school song. Band members James Powell, of J.B. Speed School, and John Newton, of the College of Arts and Sciences, submitted their take on a school song. Their alma mater was selected and premiered at the November 1947 homecoming and has endured longer than any other school song.
We thy sons and daughters now stand
To sing thy highest praise.
With deepest rev’rence in our hearts
For these our college days.
Thy honor true we all defend
‘Tis known we love thee well.
Our thought for years to come will be
Of thee our UofL.
1967 – Ceremonial mace added to commencement
Once considered a weapon of war, maces have been repurposed to show the strength and prestige of a university. In the fall of 1966, the Board of Trustees commissioned a scepter to be crafted, which would be at the center of all future formal proceedings. The gold-plated, cherry wood mace, which measures 43 inches long and weighs 20 pounds, was intended to symbolize the uncertainty and beauty of the future. Assistant Professor of Fine Arts John Prangell designed and sculpted the mace. On June 11, 1967, UofL began a time-honored tradition as registrar John Houchens carried the mace on its maiden voyage down the commencement procession. The mace, when not in use, resides in the office of the provost. UofL’s mace was displayed alongside other prominent university scepters at the Duke University Museum of Art in 1970.
1997 – School of Law named for Supreme Court justice
Louis D. Brandeis School of Law received its revered moniker two decades ago, a Supreme Court Justice, Brandeis desired the school to be “a national model in legal education emphasizing public service.” Since receiving the Brandeis name, UofL’s law school was named one of the nation’s top “Best Value Law Schools” and has attained the highest bar passage rate in the state at 86.5 percent. Through it all, Brandeis has remained front and center — his grave rests under the front steps of the building bearing his name. During finals week, rocks and coins may be found on his grave as students hope it will bring them good fortune on their exams. Brandeis’s ideas for the school’s success were “The aim must be high and the vision broad; the goal seemingly attainable but beyond immediate reach.” In two decades, the School of Law surely has made good on those aspirations.
2007 – LGBT Center opens
The LGBT Center is celebrating a decade of pride. Much has changed since the center started as an office in an unused janitorial closet. In 10 short years, the LGBT Center has made UofL a leader in LGBT issues. UofL was the first school in Kentucky to offer health insurance to LGBT couples, and to add “gender identity” to the list included in discrimination policies, and the first school in the country to endow a chair in LGBT studies. The university acquired gender-neutral bathrooms and launched the Rustin Community, which is the region’s first LGBTQ and ally-themed housing floor. While their work is not yet complete, the movement for the acceptance of LGBT students has come a long way and the future looks promising.
2007 – UofL partners with west Louisville organizations
2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the Signature Partnership Initiative, UofL’s premier community engagement effort. The initiative started in 2007 with a goal to enhance the quality of life for residents of West Louisville through the integration of health, social and human services and economic viability of the community. The initiative gained traction and attracted the attention of higher education institutions across the country for its unmatched dedication to the community. UofL is one of 239 schools to earn a community engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which is awarded to schools that demonstrate excellence in community involvement. Last year, 111 community partnerships occurred due to the initiative and thousands of faculty and students were involved.