LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 14, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Martin Luther King (MLK) Center and the Center for Graduate & Professional Diversity Initiatives (CGPDI) hosted the annual Coretta Scott King Celebration Dinner to culminate the campuswide celebration of Women’s History Month. The dinner is designed to celebrate the contributions of women across UK, highlight campus champions and honor the nominees and award winners for the Sister Inspiring Sisters (SIS) awards.
“The program was fantastic and the dinner and performances were thoroughly enjoyed,” said Ruth Gonzalez Jimenez, MLK Center’s Latino student community specialist. “It was really special to honor the infinite spectrum of 'womxnhood' and celebrate all the ways to be a 'womxn.' I emphasized that with the ‘x’ in the traditionally used ‘woman/women’ and included the ‘X’ as 'womxn' exist in a multitude of ways and we wanted to be especially inclusive of our Trans SISters not just our CISters.”
The dinner included a spoken word performance from the current Miss Black & Gold and previous Miss Black UK, Alayna Tobo, a contemporary dance performance from Implicit Dance Crew, a UK student organization, featuring the current Miss Black UK Aneisha Cox, a keynote address from Chloe Kellom, MLK Center intern and graduating senior and the presentation of awards.
Award winners included:
Penelope Pierson, College of Health Science, Undergraduate Student Award
The Undergraduate Student Award honors an undergraduate who displays the qualities of Coretta Scott King through leadership and service to women and women of color in their community, college, student organization and beyond.
Aliyah McDaniel, College of Education, Graduate/Professional Student Award
The Graduate/Professional Student Award honors a graduate student who displays qualities of leadership and selfless service to women and women of color in their community, college/program, graduate student organization and in any other aspect of their academic, professional or personal lives.
Marta Mack, Ph.D., College of Education, Faculty Award
The Faculty Award honors a member of the university faculty whose character, research, teaching, mentorship to others and selfless service exemplifies the life and legacy of Coretta Scott King beyond their classroom.
Jimmi Nicholson, director of admission in the J.D. Rosenberg College of Law, Staff Award
The Staff Award honors a university staff member whose character, research, teaching, mentorship to others and selfless service exemplifies the life and legacy of Coretta Scott King beyond their classroom and/or lab.
Lisa Higgins-Hord, assistant vice president for Community Engagement and the Office of Lifelong Learning (OLLI), Community Member Award
The Community Member Award honors a woman whose selfless service, work and contributions to the advancement of all peoples and particularly women, go beyond the borders of our state and country.
J’Lissabeth Faughn, director of the Office of LGBTQ* Resources in the Office for Student Success, THAT S.I.S! Award
The THAT S.I.S! Award highlights a sister going above and beyond the call of duty for sisterhood, inclusivity, women's empowerment in her work, life and service to marginalized and disenfranchised communities and is creating spaces of empowerment and enriching the leadership potential for other SISters looking to make an impact in our Beloved Community. This woman is a leader, a sister a friend, and is THAT S.I.S.!
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.