UK hosts gathering to honor President Todd



By Gary Hermann

The celebration of Lee Todd’s 10 years as UK’s president was held Tuesday to honor his years of service.

The event, which was originally scheduled to take place in the Patterson Office Tower Plaza, was moved to the Lexmark Room of the Main Building due to rain.

Several speakers were on hand to honor Todd and first lady Patsy Todd.

Ryan Smith, the Student Government president, gave the opening remarks.

“They genuinely care about each and every student and our experience on this campus,” Smith said. “They are truly the student’s president and first mom of this campus. They have been our greatest encouragers, they have challenged us to believe in ourselves, to dream big and they have stood with us to make this campus what it is today.”

Will Nash, a UK graduate and the Otis Singletary Outstanding Male Graduate award winner, said he saw the Todd’s in three differing roles: the father and mother figure on campus, Lee Todd as leader on campus and both of them as visionaries for this state.

Nash also talked about joining Todd on the Dream Tour.

“Dr. Todd was thoughtful in his approach and ultimately did what he thought to be best for this campus and this state,” Nash said.

The Director of the Center for Applied Energy Research, Rodney Andrews, Ph.D., said he would tell people outside UK that working for Todd was inspiring or exhausting depending on the week.

“He has led by example, working diligently to make a difference in our state,” Andrews said.

Robynn Pease, the director of UK Work Life, spoke about the Todd’s close bond with the students.

“Most of all, both you and Mrs. Todd, I think will be remembered for tearing down the walls of Maxwell Place and for your accessibility,” Pease said.

Pease spoke about the Todd’s dedication to the students and recounted memories of the Todd’s spending time with the students at Crunch Brunch.

“The students feel the love that you have for them,” Pease said.

Terry Birdwhistell, the dean of UK Libraries, spoke about how history will view Todd’s presidency.

“President Todd vigorously renewed UK’s commitment to the commonwealth, even as the university’s support from the state continued to decline,” Birdwhistell said.

Birdwhistell acknowledged Todd’s work to benefit individuals across Kentucky.

“Through hard work and help from others, President Todd achieved his aspirations and has worked hard the past 10 years to make it possible for other Kentuckians to live their dreams,” Birdwhistell said.

Todd expressed his gratitude to the UK community, as well as his family.

“The bond that we’ve made with many of you as you’ve helped us has just been unbelievable,” Todd said.

He also spoke about the culture changes that have taken place at UK.

“There were times when the best students in Kentucky thought they had to look past an in-state university,” Todd said.

Todd praised UK’s deans and the Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart in advancing UK during his presidency.

Todd concluded the celebration discussing how his dreams have evolved from his childhood until he ultimately had a dream to start his own company while at MIT.

“We dream what we see,” Todd said. “We’ve got to make our kids see these things faster.