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Mission The Patterson School serves the state, nation and world by the rigorous education of future leaders to work in international diplomacy, commerce, development, intelligence and security. This is accomplished in a flexible, intimate learning environment that integrates academic studies, practical training, and real world experience.
Established 1959
Official name The Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce
Motto Personal * Passionate * Professional
University University of Kentucky
School type Public
Director Carey Cavanaugh
Location Lexington, Kentucky
Enrollment 75 graduate students
Uk logo.jpg
Patterson Office Tower, home of the school of diplomacy.

The Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce is a graduate program devoted to the study of diplomacy, international affairs and commerce. The school is small and select, admitting only 35 students a year to pursue full-time study toward a master’s degree. The Patterson School is part of the University of Kentucky located in Lexington, Kentucky.



The vision to establish the Patterson School was made concrete in 1922 by bequest of the will of James Kennedy Patterson, the first president of the University of Kentucky. After the Spanish-American War, Patterson saw a need for “the preparation of young men for the diplomatic and consular service of the United States,” and thus envisioned a program similar to ones being established by John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Leland Stanford, and Ezra Cornell at other schools across the nation. He named the school after his only child, William Andrew Patterson, who died of illness as a young man.

The will established a trust fund from President Patterson’s estate, but the funds had to be invested for several decades until the annual yield would suffice to support the School. While the endowment was never large enough to fully fund President Patterson’s ambitious vision of a College of Diplomacy, it increased enough to launch the School with additional state funding in 1959.

For the first six years of its history, the School was under the directorship of Amry Vandenbosch, a political scientist and internationalist. At this time students could pursue either a M.A. or Ph.D. After Vandenbosch’s retirement in 1965, the School employed several temporary directors. University President Otis A. Singletary decided upon his arrival in 1969 that the School should be revitalized. The School dropped the Ph.D. program to focus on its M.A. track, and it redoubled its focus on preparing students for professional careers in international affairs. After an extensive search, Dr. Vincent Davis was appointed the new Director. Davis retooled the School dramatically and went on to direct it through three decades. He stepped down in 1993 and was replaced by Dr. John Stempel who served until 2003.

Dr. Michael Desch was Director through June 2004 when he moved to a senior post at Texas A&M. Acting Directors served until former Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh assumed leadership of the program in 2006.

Program Structure


The 30-hour program culminates in a M.A. in Diplomacy and International Commerce with a concentration in one of the following six areas:

In addition, concurrent degree programs are offered with the University of Kentucky College of Law (Patterson MA/JD) and the Gatton College of Business and Economics (Patterson MA/MBA; Patterson MA/Economics MS).


James Kennedy Patterson, benefactor of the school.

The core professors of the Patterson School are:

  • Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh, Director and professor of diplomacy and conflict resolution
  • Karen Mingst, Lockwood Chair professor
  • John Stempel, senior professor of international affairs
  • George Herring, professor emeritis
  • Evan Hillebrand, professor of geoeconomic studies
  • Robert Farley, professor of international security
  • Thomas McGinty, adjunct professor of international commerce
  • Clifford Tsuboi, adjunct professor of global health and science
  • Darrin Gulla, adjunct professor of international economics
  • Harry Mason, adjunct professor of intelligence
  • Ambassador George Staples, adjunct professor of diplomacy

In addition to classes taught by core faculty members, students in the program draw upon graduate-level courses offered by around thirty affiliated faculty members from across the full range of University of Kentucky departments and schools. Foremost among these are courses and seminars in the areas of law, finance, agricultural economics, marketing management, economics, history, political science, communications, sociology and geography.

External links



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