The history of the Office of the Provost at the University of Kentucky dates back to the 1950s when President Herman L. Donovan appointed Elvis Stahr, Jr., as UK's first Provost. Stahr also had been Dean of UK's College of Law. Stahr went on to become president of both West Virginia and Indiana universities as well as Secretary of the U.S. Army.
Between 1954 and 1970, three distinguished scholars served as the UK Provost, the university's chief academic officer. In the 1970s, a new administrative structure was put in place by then-President Otis A. Singletary. For the next 30 years, the university would utilize a chancellor system to organize administrative activities and initiatives.
In 2001, then-UK President Lee T. Todd, Jr. again instituted the Provost system to emphasize the central role faculty play in advancing the institution's core missions of education, research and service.
Below is background about the scholars who have served as UK Provost.
- 1954 Donovan appointed Elvis Stahr Jr. as Provost
- 1957 Stahr resigns
- 1960 A.D. Albright appointed Provost
- 1962 Albright appointed Executive VP of University
- 1965 Lewis Cochran is Provost
- 1967 Cochran appointed Dean of Graduate School and Vice President – Research; Provost to no longer be filled after a Dean of Undergraduate Students found
- 1970 Provost position eliminated
- 2001 Michael Nietzel named acting provost
- 2002 Nietzel appointed provost
- 2005 M Scott Smith becomes interim provost
- 2006 Kumble Subbaswamy named provost
- 2012 Tim Tracy to serve as interim provost
- 2013 Christine Riordan named provost
- 2015 Tim Tracy named provost