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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.