WildCard I.D. office displays a plethora of posters



by Hope Smith

The first thing you see when you walk into the Student I.D. Office in the Student Center is a huge UK flag.  Believe it or not, the cash you had to pay to replace your last lost I.D. card  didn’t pay for it.

That money also didn’t go towards the latest, professionally framed men’s basketball team poster, the old “Vertical Horizon” poster from when the band visited campus before they made it big, nor the vintage copy of a painting of UK’s first real football venue, McLean Stadium.  All these, and over 50 more, were free.

Before Karen Doyle, the Student Affairs coordinator for Student Involvement, brought in the first posters 15 years ago, the walls  and desks were gray.  She wanted to add something students could look at while they were waiting in line to have their photos taken.

“There were four posters, two on each side of the wall,” Doyle said. “I just had to put something on those bare walls.  Then from there my students just kept bringing me posters.”

Doyle’s crew of student employees, which numbers about 40 during the school year, would bring back a poster every time they went to an athletic event, a play, a concert or an art show, and the wall art quickly began to multiply.  Posters were stacked on top of posters as the sports teams began to catch on to the tradition and proudly bring their own team posters to the office for display.

Doyle just hung them up with all the rest.

“We had so many at one time that just about every morning we would have to tape up another poster that was losing its grip at a corner,” Doyle recalled.

Many of the students pictured on the posters came to sign their names by their photos.

Great athletes, dancers, musicians and coaches have all stopped by to leave their signatures.  Coach Tubby Smith stopped by the office back in 1997 with a new player, Doyle said, and personally introduced himself.

Several years ago, Doyle had someone reorganize the dozens of posters in a more pleasing way, and now instead of a free arrangement of posters layered on top of each other, there is a more methodized organization to the madness. 

Above the office’s first desk, which belongs to Account Clerk Connie Mellon, you can see the oldest, a track and field poster from the 1994-1995 season.  Mellon has worked in the I.D. Office for four years, and she’s a big fan of all the UK sports and UK students.

“I love the kids, I just love talking to them,” Mellon said.  “And I love to see the older guys come back to finish school… because we still remember all of them.”

She gets to see returning athletes who have left UK for a few years to pursue professional athletic careers and are back to finish up their degrees.  They stop by the office for a new I.D. and usually get asked to sign their old posters.  Andre Woodson just returned to campus a few weeks ago and signed by his picture.

Mellon’s desk also has some other intriguing pieces – Josh Harrellson’s broken (but autographed) I.D. holder; a rare, signed photo of Coach Cal (especially rare because “basketball” is misspelled in the large caption); and a framed poster of last year’s men’s basketball team, containing the signatures of every player.  But perhaps the most recent talked-about piece in the office is the newly coined “legend of the I.D. Office wall,” Doyle said.

On the wall by the first desk, John Wall was one of the first players to sign his name on the grey cinder block wall with black permanent marker.  Mellon said this tradition started last year when a few players came in to sign their poster but realized one wasn’t hanging in the office yet.  They instead signed the wall and agreed to bring in a poster to put on display, as well.

“The wall is our new thing,” Doyle said.  “Hopefully they won’t come to paint anytime soon, but if they do, I guess we’ll have to take a picture of the wall and have it made into a poster, too.”

Doyle’s favorite wall display is an old painting of the first football stadium, which was built where the Singletary Center now sits.  She remembers going to see games there with her family and enjoying the architecture of the simple, concrete stands.  She said that poster draws a lot of attention, especially from the parents.

“There was one guy who came in here and he was so excited about that poster that he just kept talking about all his memories from that stadium,” Doyle said.  “We didn’t think he’d ever leave, he told us so many stories.”

With the exception of one poster, which Doyle admitted she paid a buck for, all of the posters were either free or donated.  The posters that are framed were paid for by the staff, not by I.D. fees.  Those, Doyle said, are used to purchase new equipment and supplies for the office.

“Our office doesn’t get any funding from any outside sources,” Doyle said. “We are self-sustainable.That’s why we have to charge the students a fee.”

I.D. cards have come a long way from the old systems, and Doyle said cards are more secure now than ever.

“We only make I.D.’s for people who need I.D.’s, and that’s because we care about your safety,” Doyle said.

So next time you’re in the office for a new WildCard, take a look at the walls. See if you can pinpoint which poster inspired the growling wildcat graphic on your card – because one of them did.