It is distressing that “Commonwealth” won’t be retained in the rebranding of the University of Kentucky’s football stadium.
Kentucky has the historic distinction as one of only four states in the union to be designated a commonwealth, joining Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia. With the kick-off of Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 15, 1973, its name was historically significant, and very appropriate for the state’s flagship university.
Initially, seating capacity for an additional 20,000 fans was provided; and, for the first time, parking spaces for 5,000 vehicles surrounded the stadium. This enabled UK fans to join in the time-honored tradition of tailgating, with fans proudly adorned with school spirit, head-to-foot, in Wildcat Blue — thus, the beginnings of the fan-based phenomena known as Big Blue Nation.
Also, around the time Commonwealth opened, the UK Marching Band evolved from the drab-colored all-male “Wildcat Hundred,” doubling in size with the inclusion of co-ed musicians, and the addition of majorettes, flag girls and bright colored Wildcat Blue uniforms. It was soon recognized as one of the finest college marching bands in the land.
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Commonwealth is too traditional and historic to be flippantly tossed away. A compromise is strongly urged to return and retain Commonwealth in the rebranded name “Commonwealth Kroger Stadium.”
Don J. Dampier