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Alumnus Writes Book on Former UK President Frank L. McVey

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Title is Second in Thomas D. Clark Series

by Brad Duncan

photo of Eric Moyen
Eric Moyen

While working on his doctorate in the UK College of Education Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, Eric Moyen was approached by President Lee T. Todd, Jr., and current Dean of Libraries Terry Birdwhistell to write a biography of Frank McVey set during McVey’s UK presidency. Growing up in Lexington, Moyen was no stranger to the University of Kentucky, so he jumped at the opportunity.

The resulting volume is titled “Frank L. McVey and the University of Kentucky: A Progressive President and the Modernization of a Southern University” and is the second book in The University Press of Kentucky’s Thomas D. Clark Studies in Education, Public Policy and Social Change series in collaboration with the UK College of Education.

photo of Frank L McVey Book Cover“Frank McVey was the first president of the ‘modern’ University of Kentucky,” Moyen said. “When he took over, UK really was a small college, with an enrollment just over 1,000 students. He understood the importance of a ‘research’ university for the state, and spent his career trying to get UK to become a vital service arm of the state.”

photo of Frank L McVey Book CoverMcVey was responsible for guiding the university through World War I and the Great Depression and did so in a way that reduced professors’ course loads and raised salaries. He also focused on students, instituting more rigorous guidelines for receiving degrees. McVey’s leadership also can be seen across campus in the buildings he helped develop: Alumni Gym, Memorial Hall, the Margaret I. King Library and Jewell Hall.

Under McVey’s guidance, academics were expanded with the creation of the departments of music, anthropology and archaeology, and library sciences and with the establishment of the College of Commerce (now the Gatton College of Business and Economics) and the College of Education.

Moyen earned his Ph.D. in 2004 and is now an associate professor of education and director of the Office of First-Year Programs at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn.

For more information on this book, visit The University Press of Kentucky website.

Special thanks to The University Press of Kentucky for contributing to this story.