Campus News

Twenty Inducted Into Hall of Distinguished Alumni

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2010) – The University of Kentucky Alumni Association welcomed 20 new inductees into its Hall of Distinguished Alumni at a recognition dinner April 16 at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort in Lexington.

The UK Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni was established in 1965 in celebration of the university’s centennial year. Every five years the UK Alumni Association recognizes a select group of outstanding alumni and honors them with induction into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni. This honor acknowledges UK alumni who deserve recognition for personal and professional endeavors and community leadership.  A complete list of past Hall of Distinguished Alumni recipients can be found at

The 2010 inductees are:

  • Mira L. Ball, B.A. ’56 Education
  • Virginia M. Bell, M.S. ’82 Social Work
  • Deane B. Blazie, B.S. ’68 Electrical Engineering
  • Lt. Gen. (USAF, Ret.) John H. Campbell, B.S. ’69 Computer Science, MBA ’71
  • Joseph W. Craft III, BS ’72 Accounting, J.D. ’76 Law
  • Mark E. Davis, B.S. ’77, MS ’78, Ph.D. ’81 Chemical Engineering
  • John W. Egerton, B.A. ’58 Topical Studies, M.A. ’61 Political Science
  • Mark E. Hay, BA. ’74 Zoology
  • Susan Jackson Keig, B.A. ’40 Art
  • Paul E. Patton, B.S. ’59 Mechanical Engineering
  • Barbara L. Rice, B.S. ’62 Dietetics
  • Sharon Porter Robinson, B.A. ’66 English, M.A. ’76 Jr. High/Secondary, Ed.D. ’79 Admin and  Supervision
  • James E. Rogers Jr., B.S. ’70 Commerce, JD ’74 Law
  • Wimberly C. Royster, M.A. ’48, Ph.D. ’52 Math
  • Dr. Vivian Carol Shipley, B.A. ’64 Journalism, MA ’67 English
  • Col. Elizabeth R. Smith Jr. (deceased), B.A. ’48 Pre-Law, B.A. ’50 Law
  • Reese S. Terry Jr., B.S. ’64, M.S. ’66 Electrical Engineering
  • Harriet Drury Van Meter (deceased), B.S. ’56 Topical Major, M.S. ’62 Sociology
  • Elizabeth Weiner, B.S. ’75 Nursing, Ph.D. ’82 Education
  • Sung Chul Yang, Ph.D. ’70 Philosophy

Mira S. Ball

Mira Snider Ball serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Ball Homes, which she owns with her husband, Don. They are also the proprietors of Donamire Farm in Lexington. Ball has always been an active member of the Lexington community, serving on various boards. She became the first woman president of the Chamber of Commerce, the first woman elected to the Kentucky Utilities board of directors, and the first chairwoman of the Midway College Board of Trustees. Since 2007, she has proudly served as chairwoman of the UK Board of Trustees, becoming the first woman to do so.

Ball has received various awards, including being named Woman of the Year by the Women’s Center of Central Kentucky. She and her husband also have been honored jointly as Philanthropist of the Year, recipients of the Optimist Cup and the Happy Chandler Kentuckian Award.

Virginia M. Bell

Virginia Marsh Bell is the program consultant for the Greater Kentucky and the Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. She has lectured widely on Alzheimer’s disease at national and international conferences, has published numerous journal articles and book chapters, and co-authored five books. During her 11 years of work at the UK Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, she helped establish a network of family services throughout Kentucky and counseled hundreds of families as part of the University Memory Disorder Clinic.

Bell gained wide acclaim for her work in adult day care, developing one of the first dementia-specific adult day programs in the country, the Best Friends Center. She also has served twice as a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She was inducted into the UK Social Work Hall of Fame, and she received the Sullivan Award from UK in 2004.

Deane B. Blazie

Deane Blazie started his career path when he became friends with a blind student while in high school. His friend thought of problems to solve and Blazie would help engineer a solution. Later, he founded two companies that became world leaders in producing low-cost computing devices for the blind.

After graduating from UK, serving in the U.S. Army and earning a master’s degree in computer science, Blazie was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in America by the U.S. Junior Chamber (better known as the Jaycees) for designing a calculator with a unique audio tactile display for the blind. His company, Maryland Computer Services, created the Talking Telephone Directory, the first synthetic speech device. His other company, Blazie Engineering, eventually became the world’s largest producer of products for the blind. In 1990, Blazie also was named Humanitarian Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, Merrill Lynch and Inc. magazine.


Lt. Gen. John H. Campbell, USAF (Ret.)

Lt. Gen. John H. Campbell, U.S. Air Force (retired), is executive vice president, government programs, at Iridium Communications in Bethesda, Md. He manages Iridium’s $70 million government sector and is responsible for providing Iridium global satellite communications services for U.S. government customers around the world.


Campbell retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2004 after a 32-year career in which he served in a variety of operational and staff assignments around the world. Between 1971 and 1997, Campbell was an F-15 and F-16 fighter pilot and wing commander. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal, and the National Security Agency Award.


Between 1997 and 2004 he held several positions, including associate director of Central Intelligence for Military Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency, in Langley, Va.


Campbell also is a member of the UK College of Engineering Hall of Distinction.

Joseph W. Craft III

Joseph W. Craft III is president, chief executive officer and director of Alliance Resource Partners LP, a diversified producer of coal. The company was recognized by Business Week magazine as the 14th hottest growth company in 2007.

An entrepreneur, attorney and energy industry leader, Craft began his career in Oklahoma in 1980 with MAPCO Inc. He became president, a position he held for 10 years before leading a management buyout of the company’s coal operation and forming ARLP, the coal industry’s first publicly traded master limited partnership.

He is active in his community and his family supports social services and education, including providing funds for the Joe Craft Center at UK. Craft is a member of the University of Tulsa Board of Trustees, a director for Bank of Oklahoma and the Tulsa Community Foundation. In 2008, Ernst and Young recognized him as Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southwest Region in the energy, chemical and mining category.

Mark E. Davis

Mark E. Davis is the founder of two companies, Insert Therapeutics Inc. and Calando Pharmaceuticals Inc. He also is a professor of chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. A major focus of his research involves the invention of new treatments for cancer, and two of his nanoparticle therapeutics are currently in human clinical trials.

Davis began his career at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., and was the first engineer to receive the Alan T. Waterman Award in 1990, the government’s prestigious scientific award that recognizes a researcher who is 35 years old or younger, in any area of science or engineering supported by the NSF.

Davis is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences. In 2009, he also received an Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from UK.

John W. Egerton

John W. Egerton is one of the nation’s most successful independent journalists and nonfiction authors. He lives in Nashville, Tenn., and writes broadly about social and cultural issues in his native South. More than 300 of his articles and columns have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times and The Washington Post. Egerton also is a member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame. 

Among his books are “Southern Food,” which was named Book of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals and “Speak Now Against the Day,” for which he received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

In 2007, the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi established the John Egerton Prize to recognize artists, writers, scholars and others, whose work in the American South addresses issues of race, class, gender, and social and environmental justice, through the lens of food.

Mark E. Hay

Mark E. Hay is a professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He has reached the pinnacle in the field of marine biology by making crucial discoveries that are used by scientists around the world. Hay is renowned for his contributions in the field of marine ecology, particularly involving coral reefs. He pioneered the establishment of a field of research known as marine chemical ecology and he recently expanded his research to include projects on interactions in plankton in freshwater systems and on the ecology of invasive species.

His professional career includes research and teaching at the University of North Carolina. Between 1981 and 1992, he was a research associate for the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. National Museum of Natural History. Hay is on the editorial board of several professional journals and his research has appeared in over 170 publications. He also has one patent.

Susan Jackson Keig

Susan Jackson Keig is an internationally recognized art designer in private practice. She also is a Fellow and past-president of the Society of Typographic Arts/American Center for Design, and she has lectured at Yale University, Heritage of the Arts SUNY and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Some of her design projects include an LP record and album for Buckminster Fuller, a medallion from the Free Congress Foundation for Margaret Thatcher, and the Clare Booth Luce medallion from the Heritage Foundation for Ronald Reagan.

She is a leading authority on the Shakers, their village at Pleasant Hill, and has more than 3,000 photographs of Shaker Village. This is her 40th year of designing and producing the Shaker calendar for Pleasant Hill.

She taught at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, has had one-woman exhibits in Louisville and New York, and is a Distinguished Alumna of the UK College of Fine Arts.

Paul E. Patton

Paul E. Patton has had a long career in the coal industry, Kentucky public service and Kentucky higher education.

He began his 20-year professional career in the mining industry in Floyd County. Patton was on the board of directors of the Kentucky Coal Association and chairman of the board of the National Independent Coal Operators Association.

He went on to serve as the chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party from 1981 to 1983, county judge executive of Pike County for 10 years, Kentucky’s lieutenant governor and later secretary of Economic Development.

He was the 59th governor of Kentucky and led the Higher Education Reform Act and Bucks for Brains funding for endowed chairs and professorships. Patton helped the state make progress on many fronts including worker’s compensation, juvenile justice, domestic violence and child abuse prevention, historic preservation and infrastructure construction.

Today he is president of Pikeville College in Pikeville, Ky.

Barbara L. Rice

Barbara Landrum Rice is a research dietitian with the Johnson Space Center where she selects research menus for and provides nutrition counseling to U.S. astronauts. She is responsible for determining the nutrients that are needed for living and working in microgravity. Rice collects, monitors and analyzes dietary intake data of crewmembers on Space Lab Life Sciences missions, Russian MIR Station missions and International Space Station missions. This involves collecting data during pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight periods in the United States, as well as Star City, Russia. She works closely with the NASA space food systems group that is responsible for planning the menu which each astronaut and cosmonaut consumes in space. She has numerous scientific publications to her credit, and has received awards and honors from NASA.

Rice also has directed the nutrition-training program at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, started a private practice in nutrition consulting for children and adults, and taught at two universities.

Sharon Porter Robinson

Sharon Porter Robinson is president and chief executive officer for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the first African American to serve in this position. She is nationally known as a leader in education rights for disadvantaged students.

Robinson has been president of the Educational Testing Service’s Educational Policy Leadership Institute in Princeton, N.J., and has served in a variety of leadership positions in education including assistant secretary of education with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Research and Improvement, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She also is the past director of the National Education Association National Center for Innovation.  

Her awards include an honorary doctorate from the University of Louisville, the Award of Appreciation from the National Head Start Association, the Founders Award from the National Helping Hands Enrichment and Leadership Foundation, the Girl Scouts’ Women of Distinction Award, and the Teacher for America Award.

James E. Rogers Jr.

James E. Rogers Jr. has more than 21 years of experience as a chief executive officer in the electric utility industry and is chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Duke Energy in Charlotte, N.C.

Rogers also has served as deputy general counsel for litigation and enforcement for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and was a partner in a Washington, D.C., law firm. While in Kentucky, he was a law clerk for the Supreme Court and later assistant attorney general.

Newsweek named Rogers to its Global Elite list, “The 50 Most Powerful People in the World.” In 2009, Rogers received EnergyBiz magazine’s CEO of the Year EnergyBiz KITE Award and was named 2009 Citizen of the Carolinas by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. In 2007, he was named the energy industry’s CEO of the Year by Platts and Business Person of the Year by the Charlotte Business Journal.

Wimberly C. Royster

Wimberly C. Royster has served UK in numerous capacities, including as the first vice president for Research and Graduate Studies, dean of the Graduate School, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as special assistant to the president of the university. He also was the director of the UK Advanced Science and Technology Commercialization Center, a professor of mathematics, and vice president of the UK Research Foundation from 1973-1990.

Royster published 18 major papers, received seven NSF Research Grants, and was principal investigator of the National Science Foundation’s Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative, receiving total funding over 10 years of $18 million. He co-directed the Appalachian Rural Education Network and helped to develop the Appalachian Mathematics and Science Partnership, a $22 million National Science Foundation-funded project and UK’s largest single grant.

In 2001 Royster was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Kentucky.

Vivian Carol Shipley

Vivian Carol Shipley is the editor of Connecticut Review and teaches at Southern Connecticut State University where she was named Faculty Scholar in 2000, 2005 and 2008.

She has published seven books of poetry, three of which have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and five chapbooks. “Hardboot: Poems New and Old” received the 2006 Paterson Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement and the Connecticut Press Club Prize for Best Creative Writing. Shipley has received the Library of Congress’ Connecticut Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to the Literary Community and the Connecticut Book Award for Poetry.

Other poetry awards include the Lucille Medwick Prize from the Poetry Society of America, the Marble Faun Poetry Prize from the William Faulkner Society and the Ann Stanford Poetry Prize from the University of Southern California. In 2010, her eighth book of poetry and sixth chapbook of poetry will be published.

Col. Elizabeth R. Smith Jr.

The late Col. Elizabeth Ratliff Smith Jr. became the first female colonel of the U.S. Army JAG Corps in 1972. For 18 years, she was the only active-duty female judge advocate in that rank. Smith was in the WAC and JAG Corps from 1951 through 1978, serving at military bases around the nation as well as in Frankfort, Germany, and the JAG Office in Washington, D.C. Smith’s success validated the notion of senior female leadership and influenced the Army’s culture.

She had one principle, which was “Just because something is legal doesn’t make it a good idea: does not make it wise.” Smith said that being a woman made for interesting moments, recalling that one attorney “literally chased me around the office from time to time,” something that would not be tolerated today.

She received the Army Commendation Medal, Legion of Merit with First Oak Leaf Cluster and the Judge Advocate General’s Certificate of Appreciation.

Reese S. Terry Jr.

Reese S. Terry Jr. is recognized internationally for his work in biomedical engineering and holds numerous patents. Throughout his early career, he pursued his interest in the research and development of pacemakers, leading to his co-development of the first programmable heart pacer in 1973 and the first programmable dual chamber pacer in 1980.

In 1987, Terry co-founded Cyberonics Inc. in Webster, Texas, to develop, manufacture and market neuromodulation therapies for patients with epilepsy and other inadequately treated neurological disorders. The company developed Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy using the Cyberonics NeuroCybernetic Prosthesis System, which was heralded as a breakthrough treatment for epilepsy, reducing seizures.

Terry served as board member of the South East Texas Chapter of the Epilepsy Foundation of America and the National Epilepsy Foundation of America. Through his efforts, Cyberonics helped establish a patient travel assistance fund to help needy epilepsy patients and their families reach appropriate treatment centers.

Harriet D. Van Meter

The late Harriet Drury Van Meter knew that people could change their lives through the power of books.

When she visited India in 1965, she found long lines of people waiting not for food, but for books. She was so moved by her experience that upon returning home, she placed an advertisement offering to send books to those in need in an English-speaking newspaper in India. She received a phenomenal response and started sending books from her basement in Lexington.

That was the beginning of the International Book Project, which collects and distributes books to war-torn and impoverished regions around the world, hoping to help bring some measure of peace, understanding and stability to these areas. To date, the International Book Project has distributed more than 5.8 million books.

Van Meter was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for her efforts to increase world literacy and placed among the eight final nominees.

Elizabeth E. Weiner

Betsy Weiner is the senior associate dean for informatics at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, Tenn. Considered a pioneer in multimedia development, Weiner is responsible for the distance learning programs in nursing and the informatics tools that help to tie together the research, practice and academic arenas. Currently, she is the principal investigator of $3 million in grants for faculty development, working in conjunction with the UK College of Nursing.

She served 21 years at the University of Cincinnati, 10 years as director for a universitywide faculty technology center, and four years as director of university academic computing. She also was a Research Fellow in the IBM Institute for Academic Technology. Her informatics-based project focused on labor and delivery simulation and included the measurement of learning and clinical confidence outcomes. This product is the most widely distributed product of the IBM Healthcare Consortium.

Sung Chul Yang

Sung Chul Yang is a distinguished professor at Korea University in Seoul and the former ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States.

From 1996 to 2000, Yang was a member of the Korean National Assembly, during which time he served as vice chair of the Unification and Foreign Affairs Committee. He also worked as chairman of the International Cooperation Committee for the National Congress for New Politics.

Yang was secretary general of the Association for Korean Political Scientists in North America and served as president of the Korean Association of International Studies. He has been a member of the Advisory Committees of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, National Defense and National Unification Board.

He has taught at several universities, among them UK and Indiana University, and has written several books on Korean issues, including the “North and South Korean Political Systems: A Comparative Analysis.”