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1997 Recipients - Dr. Otis A. SIngletary

President Emeritus, University of Kentucky

Otis Arnold Singletary, Jr., Ph.D., husband of Gloria Walton Singletary, died at his home in Lexington, Kentucky on September 20, 2003 at the age of 81. He was President Emeritus of the University of Kentucky, having retired from that institution in July 1987 after 18 years.

Dr. Singletary was born October 31, 1921 in Gulfport, Mississippi, the son of Otis Arnold and Mae Charlotte (Walker) Singletary. He received his education in the Gulfport public schools, at Perkinston Junior College in Perkinston, Mississippi, Millsaps College (B.A. 1947) in Jackson, Mississippi, and at Louisiana State University (M.A. 1949, Ph.D. 1954) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during both World War II and the Korean War and served as a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

Dr. Singletary held positions as an instructor in Louisiana State University's Extension Division from 1949 to 1951, in the Navy Supply Corps School in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1951 and 1952, and in the Naval ROTC Unit at Princeton University from 1952 to 1954. He joined the University of Texas history department in 1954 as an instructor and subsequently held the rank of Assistant Professor from 1957 to 1958, Associate Professor in 1959, and Professor in 1960.

The University of Texas Student Association honored him in both 1958 and 1959 with its Teaching Excellence Award. He was awarded the Scarborough Teaching Excellence Award in 1958. He also served as Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences from 1956 to 1959, and Assistant to the President during the 1960 to 1961 academic year.

Dr. Singletary authored numerous scholarly articles, and two books, Negro Militia and Reconstruction and The Mexican War.

Dr. Singletary became Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1961. During 1964 to 1965, Singletary took a leave of absence to direct the Job Corps, Office of Economic Opportunity, during the administration of President Lyndon Johnson. He resigned from the University in 1966 to become Vice President of the American Council on Education. During 1968 to 1969, Singletary served as Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in the University of Texas System.

In August 1969, Singletary became President of the University of Kentucky, serving until 1987. During his eighteen year administration (3rd longest in the University's history), more than 60,000 students earned degrees, representing over 57% of the degrees awarded at U.K. during its entire history to that point. The U.K. campus witnessed over $250 million dollars of new construction between 1969 and 1987, including the Otis A. Singletary Center for the Arts, the Markey Cancer Center, the Gaines Center for the Humanities, and the Gluck Equine Research Center. The University Library doubled its holdings from one million to two million volumes, and U.K. implemented a program of selective admission.

Dr. Singletary served on the NCAA Presidents' Commission and chaired the Board of Directors of the College Football Association. He also served as Vice Chair of the Southern Regional Education Board, President of Phi Beta Kappa, and Director of the Federal Reserve Bank, Cleveland.

In addition to his wife, Gloria, he was survived by three children, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.


1997 Recipients - Mrs. Gloria W. Singletary

Civic Leader and Philanthropist

Gloria Walton Singletary, the wife of the late Otis A. Singletary, eighth president of the University of Kentucky, served as the first lady of the University from 1969 to 1987.

A 1948 graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, she received her bachelor's degree in history. She and Otis first met in 1940 at Perkinston Junior College, Perkinston, Mississippi. They married in 1944.

Since her arrival in Lexington, Mrs. Singletary has been active in a number of local organizations. While a member of the University Medical Auxiliary, she delivered mail at University Hospital one morning a week.

Known for her community service, Mrs. Singletary currently is active in FLOW (For Local Ownership of Water), a local movement to purchase the water company from a German-owned company.

The Gloria W. Singletary Gallery at Lexington's Living Arts and Science Center recognizes her many contributions to the Center. A member of their governing board since 1971, she has served as president, headed fund-raising drives, and worked hand-in-hand with other volunteers raking leaves, painting walls, serving luncheons - whatever was necessary to keep the Center open and thriving.

Mrs. Singletary also devoted many hours to the Lady Kats (now known as the women's basketball team) Boosters club. Voted the "Number One Fan," she worked to raise money for the club and supported the women's team on various tournament trips, including several trips to Japan.

Her work in the community is numerous and varied - The American Red Cross, Baby Health Service, Central Kentucky Blood Bank, Hospital Children's Fund, International Book Project, International Women's Year held in 1977 on the University campus, Junior Achievement, Kentucky Arts and Crafts Foundation, Kentucky Citizens for the Arts, Kentucky Commission on Women, Lexington Child Abuse Council, Lexington Fund for the Arts, Lexington Philharmonic Society, United Way of the Bluegrass, University of Kentucky Women's Club, and Volunteer Leadership Development Program. She has also raised money for the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra, Lexington Fund for the Arts, the Lexington Philharmonic, and the YWCA.

Mrs. Singletary chaired one of Lexington's largest fund-raising efforts, Action Auction. The three-day televised auction raised money for both the Living Arts and Science Center and Junior Achievement. The event drew over 500 volunteers and involved Lexington's three commercial television stations and Kentucky Educational Television.

In 1978, she received the University of Kentucky Alumni Service Award. In 1987, in honor of her work with the University Women's Club, a Gloria W. Singletary scholarship is given annually to an outstanding non-traditional woman student.

Following their retirement from the University in June 1987, the Singletarys moved to a home in east Lexington. Mrs. Singletary continues to volunteer at the U.K. Medical Center, the Living Arts and Science Center, and other local arts groups.