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Dean's Letter

Dear Friends,

A photo of Dean Mark Kornbluh.Research is at the heart of the University of Kentucky’s mission to create new knowledge and further understanding. For an example of how our faculty are excelling in Kentucky and beyond, I encourage you to read about the latest award-winning research of History Professor Amy Murrell Taylor on p. 20.  Dr. Taylor’s acclaimed book, “Embattled Freedom: Journeys Through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps,” tells a fascinating and poignant tale of a people’s struggle for survival and freedom after enslavement. 

I am delighted to share with you the story of Dr. Bing Zhang (M.S. ’91, Ph.D. ’94), who with his wife, Rachel, has made a significant investment in the future of our Department of Statistics. Their pledge of $6.3 million will support graduate students, a visiting professorship, and other priorities for the department. In recognition of the Zhangs’ generosity, the department will be renamed the Dr. Bing Zhang Department of Statistics. Dr. Zhang’s story is an inspiring one, and I urge you to read more about him on p. 16. His philanthropy is motivated by a desire to give back to those who helped him. The Zhangs’ gift marks the first named department in the College and is at the vanguard of building a culture of philanthropy at UK. 

Another milestone gift came from Bruce Lunsford (B.A. Political Science ’69), who last summer pledged $1 million to establish the W. Bruce Lunsford Scholars Program in Citizenship and Public Service. This program will allow students in the College of Arts & Sciences to take advantage of opportunities beyond the classroom including internships, education abroad, undergraduate research, and service-based learning. As Bruce said, “I think you miss something if you don’t spend some portion of your time in some form of public service, and I’m hopeful that this program will encourage people to do that.” The Lunsford Scholars Program is a testament to Bruce’s lifelong commitment to public service, and I hope you will read our interview with him on p. 26. 

Like many of you, Bing Zhang and Bruce Lunsford have a passion for their academic home and are grateful to the faculty and students who made a difference in their lives. I am thankful for all of our alumni who give so generously of their time, attention, and resources in order to play a crucial role in keeping our promise to a new generation of students.  


Mark Lawrence Kornbluh

Dean, College of Arts & Sciences