Given to the University of Kentucky by the class of 2006, Historical Marker #2232 honors historian Thomas D. Clark. Born on July 14, 1903, in Louisville, Mississippi, he graduated from the University of Mississippi with an A. B. in 1928. He went on to receive his M.A. from the University of Kentucky in 1929 and his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1932. He began teaching at UK in 1931 as a history instructor. He went on to become an assistant professor, an associate professor, a full professor, a distinguished professor, a professor emeritus, and, finally, head of the history department from 1942-1965. He taught history at several other universities and helped establish both the UK Libraries' Special Collections and the University Press of Kentucky.
The author or editor of over thirty books, Dr. Clark had an influence that extended beyond the UK campus. He became interested in public records and served on the Kentucky State Archives and Records Commission from its inception in 1958 until his death. As a former president of the Organization of American Historians, he was instrumental in the development of the State Library and Archives and the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, both in Frankfort. In 1990, he was named Kentucky's Historian Laureate for Life. Dr. Clark died in Lexington on June 29, 2005.
The UK Senior Challenge Historical Marker Project, administered by the Kentucky Historical Society, began in 1994 as a way for the graduating senior class to leave a memorial to the university. Every year since then, the UK historical marker committee has decided on the topic, raised the money, and written the text for the markers.