Interview with Thomson R. Bryant, Sr., December 3, 1975

Thomson R. "T.R." Bryant first came to the University of Kentucky in 1902 after winning a scholarship through a competitive examination held by the county superintendent. Bryant graduated in four years and obtained his first staff job at the university in 1908 as an assistant in animal science. Throughout this interview, Bryant discusses life on campus both as a student and staff member. He describes the classes, the relationship between the Lexington community and the UK community as well as the importance of sports. Bryant had experience with the football and basketball team. He also discusses changes that occurred as women began attending UK. In 1910, Bryant was chosen to organize the Cooperative Extension Service. He explains that the extension work was based on the demonstration method. By 1912, the extension service received $50,000 and Bryant was able to employ two specialists; one in horticulture and one in agronomy. Bryant remembers consistent growth from that point on. He discusses the importance of the Farm Bureau to the extension services. Also, Bryant recalls controversies with funding, the investigation committee appointed by the governor to observe UK, and salary reductions. He touches upon the evolution controversy on campus during the 1920s and how women came to play an important role on campus during World War Two. Bryant officially retired in 1955 and describes his major accomplishments including organizing the Cooperative Extension Service and maintaining a proper relationship with the Farm Bureau and other statewide agencies. He states that has continued to stay active within the extension service and still works with county agents. Bryant reflects on various presidents of UK and commends Presidents Frank McVey and Herman Donovan for making the greatest strides for the university.

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