Interim Director: Dr. Lisa Broome
Founded in 1984 by a generous gift from John R. and Joan B. Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on the University of Kentucky campus. Devoted to cultivating an appreciation of the humanities in its students and faculty, the Center embraces varied paths of knowledge and particularly strives to integrate creative work with traditional academic learning. With the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Gaines Center promotes the humanities both at the University and in the entire Lexington community by hosting a variety of events, including lectures, workshops, and concerts. Among these events is the Breathitt Undergraduate Lectureship in the Humanities, which is awarded to a University of Kentucky student whose qualities of mind and spirit have been expressed eloquently on one or more of the basic concerns of the humanities: form, value, and memory.
In addition to promoting the humanities throughout UK and campus communities, the Gaines Center is dedicated to promoting excellence in undergraduate research at the University. Every year, the Center selects twelve talented undergraduate scholars at the University to complete a two-year fellowship for further education in the humanities. Gaines Undergraduate Fellowships are awarded for tenure in the junior and senior years in recognition of an outstanding academic performance, a demonstrated ability to conduct independent research, an interest in public issues, and a desire to enhance understanding of the human condition through the humanities. Senior Gaines Fellows must complete a major independent study project resulting in a thesis that must be defended in front of a thesis committee of three University faculty members and the director of the Gaines Center.