Given to the University of Kentucky by the class of 2008, historical marker #2289 commemorates how the University of Kentucky got its name. In 1865, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky (A&M) was established as part of the private Kentucky University. A&M separated from Kentucky University (now Transylvania University) in 1878 to become an independent public institution. By 1880, the A&M College was commonly known as State College. The city of Lexington donated the City Park and provided additional funding for a new campus. A Normal Department was opened in 1880 and the first women were enrolled. Women were not originally eligible to earn degrees and the first woman graduated in 1888.
The college achieved university status in 1908 and was named State University, Lexington, Kentucky. In 1916, the legislature officially changed the name to University of Kentucky.
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.