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Key Takeaways

  • The University of Kentucky will recognize thousands of degree candidates Friday and Saturday during four commencement ceremonies at Rupp Arena. In fact, for the first time, we are slated to award more than 8,000 degrees for the year.
  • We also expect to welcome a record first-year class of more than 6,000 students in August. We already are working hard to ensure we have classrooms, housing and other support services ready for the newest members of our community.
  • We are an institution with undeniable momentum in our mission to advance Kentucky – educating more students, attracting the support of donors, focusing research on the issues that challenge our state and expanding our reach as the state’s premiere center for advanced subspecialty health care.

Campus Community,

The University of Kentucky will recognize thousands of degree candidates Friday and Saturday during four commencement ceremonies at Rupp Arena. In fact, for the first time, we are slated to award more than 8,000 degrees for the year.

You can learn more about commencement here. We also will stream all four ceremonies live on UKNOW.

Behind each diploma is a story – the story of a student who has achieved an important milestone in earning a degree from the University of Kentucky. There are so many remarkable stories among these graduates – of pride, resolve, commitment, overcoming hardship and achievement.

Commencement ceremonies are among the most tangible and important symbols of what we mean for Kentucky. The students who cross that stage will lead our Commonwealth.  We are proud to have assisted and supported them on this journey, and we look forward to their continued success.

Preparing for a new academic year: Enrollment

Even as we celebrate with our graduates, preparations already are underway for a new academic year, beginning in August.

The confirmation deadline for first-year students was May 1. Over the summer, the numbers will change a bit, as some students and families will make different decisions about where or whether they plan to attend school in the fall for a host of reasons.

Based on our history and predictive modeling, we expect a record class of more than 6,000 first-year and transfer students this fall. We will know the numbers more precisely as the first day of classes approaches on August 21st.

In working closely with Deans and administrative teams, we will be prepared with the appropriate classroom space and the outstanding faculty and staff who support student success. During the last decade, we’ve constructed nearly 8 million square feet in outstanding new space – much of it classrooms and labs.

This is another compelling example of how our university is increasingly seen as a first choice by students and families in Kentucky, throughout the region and in many other locations across the country. That’s a testament to outstanding faculty who teach and staff who support these students.

More students translate into a more highly skilled and prepared workforce for Kentucky. And, as a community, we have demonstrated our capacity to do and be more for our students, as underscored by record retention and graduation rates and more and more people crossing the commencement stage each year.

Preparing for a new academic year: Housing

One area we will prioritize over the next few months is campus housing. Not only do we expect a record first-year class, but more students than ever before – both new and returning – are indicating a preference to live on or near campus.

That’s a terrific development. We know students perform better academically, and do better socially, if they spend as much time as possible on campus, particularly during that first, pivotal year of transition. We will institute several measures to ensure we are ready to support the success of our students in this space, as well.

  • We are evaluating housing capacity and how best our spaces on campus can be utilized to support new and returning students.
  • We will communicate throughout this process with families and students to ensure they have the information they need.


These are exciting times for our university. Last week, our Board of Trustees endorsed our ambitious, but essential, plans to expand our capacity for advanced subspecialty and primary care so we can treat and heal even more patients in our community and Commonwealth. You can read about those developments here.

We celebrated the largest, single gift in our history – $34.5 million from Stan and Karen Pigman – to name our College of Engineering and continue their generosity to provide more students with more opportunities to benefit from the distinctive education we provide at UK. You can read about that gift here.

And as we know from our initial data, we continue to make significant progress in educating more students and helping them succeed and graduate in record numbers, while holding down costs and increasing access.

All of that is possible because of the work you do, day in and day out, to put our students first and to advance our state as a place that will be healthier, wealthier and wiser in the future.

Thank you for being so committed to an institution that is indispensable to the state we serve.

Eli Capilouto