For over a century, students at the University of Kentucky have been passionate about welcoming new students and educating them on all that is UK. That’s why, in 1901– years before we were the Wildcats and decades before our fight song had been penned–a group of students gathered to write the first K Book, then known as the Freshman Handbook.
A new tradition was born. For the next 16 years, the Freshman Handbook, a small pocket-sized booklet, was distributed to incoming UK students annually. It was meant to help freshmen gain an understanding of life at UK, become acquainted with campus, and be convinced to actively participate in UK’s traditions. Publication of the book was discontinued in 1917 because of World War I, but started again in 1921 and continued for the next 45 years.
In 2007, a group of student leaders came together with the desire to leave their own mark on the Big Blue Nation. They decided to resurrect the tradition that hadn’t been heard of since 1966. For the next year, these students poured their time and energy into writing a modern-day version of the Freshman Handbook, inspired by the words of students from the early 1900s. The result was the K Book: a publication that was fun and informative; a go-to manual filled with resources for incoming students.
Today, the tradition of the K Book continues. From the freshman class to the university’s president, there is widespread support for the publication on campus. The book is sent to all incoming Wildcats during the summer before they begin classes, in hopes of preparing them for college life at the University of Kentucky. During the year, we, the K Book Editorial Board, are charged with responsibility of writing and editing the K Book for the following year. We hope you’ll use it to discover your own niche at UK. And as you flip through the pages, we hope you’ll imagine what campus might have been like in 1901, and pay tribute to the students who started it all!