Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Sage of Kentucky and the University of Kentuky

"The University's president and board have solemnized an alliance with the coal industry, in return for a large monetary 'gift,' granting to the benefactors, in effect, a co-sponsorship of the University's basketball team," he wrote in a typewritten letter, quoted in this report sent by a reader — Wendell Berry pulling his personal papers from UK. The sage added, "That — added to the 'Top 20' project and the president's exclusive 'focus' on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — puts an end to my willingness to be associated in any way officially with the University."

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Blogger Stephen said...

The ideas expressed by the estimable Sage in the essay and commencement address (cited toward the end of the linked article) call to mind Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman's great The Idea of a University.

2:00 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

A book I'm currently reading!

2:11 AM  
Blogger Extollager said...

I think Berry goofed in taking his donated papers away for deposit elsewhere. For one thing, researchers will now have to drive or fly to a second location in order to consult them -- meaning more consumption of oil. I understand his reasons, though. But he could have cut the UK some slack. What other university press has the University Press of Kentucky's commitment to agrarianism? None that I know of. Sure, there are any number of university presses that print books about ecology, etc. But that's not the same thing.

10:25 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Extollager, you may be right. I was less moved by the whole coal thing than the top 20 thing, working as I do for a university that wants to make it into the world's top 20 by 2020, which is causing all sorts of mayhem.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Extollager, your environmental concerns are largely unfounded. Berry plans to move his collection to the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, a mere 30 minute drive from the University of Kentucky campus (and even less from Lexington's Blue Grass Airport).

11:49 PM  

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