Campus News

Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Awards

winners of Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Award on stage
The 29th annual Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Awards Banquet was held Oct. 11 at the Gatton Student Center. Winners posed for a photo after the ceremony. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 25, 2019) — A portrait unveiling of civil rights pioneer Lyman T. Johnson highlighted the University of Kentucky's 29th annual Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Awards Banquet Oct. 11 at the Gatton Student Center.

The UK Alumni Association Lyman T. Johnson African American Alumni Group honored students and alumni during the awards ceremony as part of the 2019 Lyman T. Johnson Homecoming Celebration. 

UK’s academic colleges and units selected one African American alum whose faith, hard work and determination has positively affected the lives of people on the UK campus, the city, state or nation. These individuals received the Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Award. These units also chose an African American student within their respective colleges/departments whose academic achievement and ability to impact the lives of others warrant them the Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer Award.

Taunya Phillips, UK Alumni Association president, emceed the event. Imar Lyman Hutchins, grandson of Lyman T. Johnson, was the event’s keynote speaker. A collage portrait of Johnson created by Hutchins was also unveiled. The piece will be on display at the UK Art Museum through Dec. 8 and will then go to the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville as part of its “Inheritance” exhibition. The artwork will then be returned to UK later next year when it will be installed permanently in Lyman T. Johnson Hall at UK. Read more on Hutchins’ artwork here

In addition, UK President Eli Capilouto, UK Vice President for Institutional Diversity Sonja Feist-Price and Lyman T. Johnson African American Alumni Group President Lee Jackson spoke. 

Award winners were: 

College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

Torch Bearer: Caitlyn McFadden

Torch of Excellence: Yolanda Jackson


College of Arts and Sciences

Torch Bearer: Cagney Coomer, Tsage Douglas, Myles Gibson, Myles D. Moody, Wanida Sommersell, Royal S. Todd, Kenneth Trotter Jr.

Torch of Excellence: Jessica L. Burris, Ricky L. Jones


Gatton College of Business and Economics

Torch Bearer: Jada Green

Torch of Excellence: Victoria Russell


College of Communication and Information

Torch Bearer: Chandler Frierson

Torch of Excellence: Sabirah Rayford


College of Dentistry

Torch Bearer: Sandra Onekhena

Torch of Excellence: Frank Kendrick


College of Design

Torch Bearer: Montre’ale Jones

Torch of Excellence: Eugene Poole


College of Education

Torch Bearer: Rasheed Flowers

Torch of Excellence: LaDonda Porter


College of Engineering

Torch Bearer: Mfon-Abasi Itama​

Torch of Excellence: Dominique R. Wright


College of Fine Arts

Torch Bearer: Michael Preacely

Torch of Excellence: Tony Hardin


College of Health Sciences

Torch Bearer: LaToya Walker

Torch of Excellence: Shelby Baez


College of Law

Torch Bearer: Chynna Hibbitts

Torch of Excellence: Pamela R. Goodwine


UK Libraries

Torch Bearer: Kyle Desnoyer

Torch of Excellence: Kingsley Uzodinma


College of Medicine

Torch Bearer: Ochuko Diamreyan

Torch of Excellence: Dr. Ima Ebong


College of Nursing

Torch Bearer: Candace R. Adams, Anansa Thompson, Karlene Woods

Torch of Excellence: Marsha Hughes-Reese


College of Pharmacy

Torch Bearer: Jasmine Browning

Torch of Excellence: Dominique Medaglio 


College of Public Health

Torch Bearer: Talia Woody

Torch of Excellence: Angelica Geter Fugerson


College of Social Work

Torch Bearer: Alexis Bell

Torch of Excellence: Diatra Allen


The Graduate School

Torch of Excellence: Brittany Rice, Cheavar Blair


Lewis Honors College

Torch Bearer: Caylyn Railey

Torch of Excellence: Dominique Medaglio


For information, contact Hannah Simms at 859-257-7174 or email

The UK Alumni Association is committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association, visit or call 800-269-2586.

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