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Dr. Robert Ireland A&S Hall of Fame Induction

Dr. Robert M. Ireland, J.D., Ph.D., Department of History

A native of Lincoln, Neb., Robert M. Ireland​ received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska and a J.D. degree from Stanford University. After practicing law for a little more than a year in Portland, Ore., (he is a 50-plus year member of the Oregon State Bar), he returned to the University of Nebraska where he earned master’s and doctoral degrees in history and joined the University of Kentucky faculty in 1967.

At UK, Ireland taught classes at all levels including introductory courses in U.S. history as well as courses in American Legal History and United States Constitutional History, and an undergraduate seminar on Famous American Criminal Trials. He served several terms as the history department's director of undergraduate studies and director of undergraduate advising.

During his 41 years as a member of the Department of History, Ireland was the recipient of numerous teaching awards including a three-year term as the Distinguished Teacher of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching (Tenured Faculty), the UK Alumni Association Great Teacher Award, several Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Awards, and a Top Ten Teacher selection by graduating classes every year the awards were granted. He also received the University of Kentucky Outstanding Advisor Award and A Teacher Who Made a Difference Award presented by the UK College of Education.

Ireland has written three books on the history of 19th century Kentucky counties and county government and a book on the history of the Kentucky constitutions. He also has written numerous articles on the criminal justice system of Kentucky and the 19th century United States. Ireland received the Thomas D. Clark Award of Excellence in Kentucky History and several Richard H. Collins Awards for scholarly achievement from the Kentucky Historical Society.

In retirement, Ireland immerses himself in reading, taking the Great Courses on a variety of topics, traveling with his wife, Sandra, and tutoring reading at Harrison Elementary School. He also enjoys spending time with his eight grandchildren.