Happy Valentine’s Day, Wildcats! Today, we thought it would be fitting to share a heart-warming story from alumnus Michael Green ’63 AS about a very special spot on UK’s campus. Stories likes this are more proof that UK is a wonderful place to live, learn and love. Did UK play cupid in your relationship? We’d love to hear your stories. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Stone Bench
By Michael Green ’63 AS
“My girlfriend, Judy, was a student at Eastern State College and often visited me at UK on the weekends. One Saturday evening in April of 1962 I suggested that we end our date, a concert by the Four Freshmen, by taking a walk on campus. I casually led her to a spot that I had picked out months before. It was a small glen between the engineering building and Memorial Hall. The concrete path wound through a grove of small flowering trees. There was a stone bench in the middle of the glen and it was there that I asked her the great question. I told her that I had a question to ask of her and that I would only ask it once and never again. Her answer was an enthusiastic “YES.” I told her that I couldn’t promise her that we would ever be rich but I assured her that our life would always be interesting. Little did I know at that time how interesting it would be.
Nearly 50 years had gone by when our granddaughter asked us to take her to a speech competition at UK. While she was thus occupied, we took the occasion to wander around campus. It was a day when students were not in evidence and the campus was pretty well deserted, a delightful day for wandering. A few things became obvious; UK seldom tears any old buildings down. It just builds new ones in the open spaces. There didn’t used to be any trees in front of Pence Hall but now there were pin oaks that were nearly 18 inches in diameter. Did they really grow that fast? It couldn’t have been that long ago that we sat on those steps for photographs.
I hadn’t much hope that the stone bench would still be there. They had built onto the engineering building and used up that space where the bench used to be. I had to go look anyway. It was still there. They must have moved it during construction of the engineering complex and restored it to its rightful place later. I recognized it immediately. It looked really good sitting there on that grassy slope, beneath the sheltering trees. It is very gratifying that the University of Kentucky welcomes the new but takes the pains to preserve the old as well, even an old stone bench.”