UKWC History

The University of Kentucky Woman's Club was established in 1909. The Club's history is one of serving and social grace. The strength of women working together, supporting each other and reaching out to the community for over 100 years in times of prosperity or frugality, is its hallmark. Peer back into time and  see the impact UK women have made on the University of Kentucky during more than a century of serving and persevering.

The University of Kentucky Woman's Club dates back to its inception in 1909. As a part of the Club's Centennial Celebration in 2009, a series of articles was reprinted in its newsletters of 1999-2000 with the theme, 90 Years: A Bridge To The Future. The Anniversary Committee led by President Davis Gardner (1999-2000) and past presidents listed below, spent much time and effort researching the Club history in the University Archives to prepare the articles. Authors include:

UKWC Presidents during the 1980 - 2000

Barbara Crocker (1998-1999)        

Gayle Trutt, Chair (1986-1990)

Midge Rischel (1990-1991)

Pat Harris (1991-1992)

Ruth Strauss (1987-1988)

Ruth Paulk (1982 -1983)

Judy Wethington, ex officio (1981-1982)


UKWC Presidents during the 1960 – 1980

Peggy Parker (1977-1978)

Helen Denbo (1971-1972)

Juanita Sears (1970-1971)

Mary Carpenter (1962-1963)

Agnes Riley (1951-1953)


Our theme for the centennial year was: 100 Years: A Century of Service. To mark that milestone, and to complete the series, the article, 1999-2009: The First Decade of the New Millennium was written by the following past presidents:           

 Sally Leukefeld (2000-2001, 2004-2005, 2007-2008)

Jean Miller (2010-2011).


Remona Edenfield (2017-18)

Lynn McCoy-Simandle (2016-17)

Ms. Kuniko Izumi (Spring Semester 2016)

Ms. Nicholas Rast - Diana (Fall Semester 2015)

Ms.Jenny Fowler (2014–2015)

Ms.Ramona Edenfield (2013- 2014)

Mrs.Harry Levine III - Melissa (2012-2013)

Ms. Jan Hanley  (2011-2012)

Dr. Jean Miller (2010-2011)     

A complete list of all the Presidents of UKWC is printed in the last pages of the UKWC Directory.

Read here the entire series reprinted, in hopes that our rich history will be an inspiration and guide for our next century of friendship and service.

History Notes

University President's Wife Defines Role Of First Lady For Generations To Come

Frances Jewell McVey, wife of University of Kentucky's third president, Frank L. McVey, defined the role that UK first ladies after her would follow. In 1917, the previous owners of Maxwell Place, Judge James Henry Mulligan and his second wife, Genevieve Morgan Williams Mulligan, had already established the home as a "feature of Lexington society," and  Bluegrass hospitatlity was synonymous with "Stay for Tea.".

But, it was Frances Jewell McVey who saw to it that this gracious entertaining carried over into daily life at the University in 1917 when she moved to Maxwell Place as the bride of Presisdent McVey. Each Wednesday afternoon, she opened her home to students for tea and, perhaps, the most famous cucumber sandwiches to be found anywhere.

Mrs. McVey also was dean of women and is credited as the catalyst for the establishment of the College of Social Work. Jewell Hall dormitory, which opened in 1939, on the Avenue of Champions/Euclid Avenue, remains the only campus building named in honor of a president's wife. (Sources: Kentucky Alumnus magazine Vol. 1989-1,2 UKPR writer Jackie Bondurant; UK Libraries Explore Kentucky; UK Libraries Image Archive)