Campus News

UK Alumni Association announces new officers

Photo by Shelly Dawn Images.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 30, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Alumni Association announced its 2023-24 Board of Directors during its annual Summer Workshop held June 15-17, 2023. This year’s officers are Janie C. McKenzie-Wells, president; Robert “Rob” Crady III, president-elect; Thomas K. Mathews, treasurer; and Jill H. Smith, secretary. The new slate officially takes office July 1, 2023, and will serve until June 30, 2024.

Janie C. McKenzie-Wells of Staffordsville, Kentucky, graduated in 1983 from the UK College of Arts and Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She earned a juris doctor in 1986 from the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law and competed on the UK National Moot Court Team. She was the first woman elected and re-elected as circuit judge for the 24th Judicial District (Johnson, Lawrence and Martin counties), where she served for 16 years. She retired in January but continues to serve through the Retired Judges Program. Wells is a Felony Court and Family Court mediator. She was a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and served as a delegate to the National Conference of State Trial Judges.

She has served on the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors for several years as a representative from District VIII and the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law and has been chair and vice chair of numerous committees. She is a past president and serves on the board of the Big Sandy UK Alumni Club. Wells is an active member of the UK Alumni Band and Pep Band, was past president and is a current member of the UK Alumni Band Board. She received the 2006 UK Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award, the UK Law Alumni Association Distinguished Jurist Alumni Award and the 2023 UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law Community Service Award. She is a member of UK Women & Philanthropy and served on the Leadership Council and as chair of the Engagement Committee. She received the Boy Scouts of America Citizen of the Year Award in Johnson County, the SOAR Health Impact Award in the Fifth Congressional District, and the Casey Family Programs Award for her work with the Johnson County Community of Hope. Wells has also been inducted into the Paintsville High School Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni. She and her husband, Frank, a retired Kentucky Education Technology Systems Regional Engineer, have a daughter, Katherine Wells, a graduate of the UK College of Medicine.

Robert “Rob” L. Crady III of Louisville, Kentucky, is president-elect of the UK Alumni Association. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1993. During his time at UK, he served as a member of the Freshman Representative Council and various other positions with the Student Government Association. He was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. To further his financial education, he studied for and received the Certified Trust and Financial Advisor designation from the American Bankers Association. He began his career with Fifth Third Bank’s Trust Department in Lexington, later moving to Louisville to work in the Trust Departments of Stock Yards Bank and National City Bank before returning to Lexington to manage National City’s Lexington Trust Department. Crady is a director with RW Baird (formerly Hilliard Lyons) and a founding member of the Wealth & Family Office Group. He has served on the board of directors of the Bingham Child Guidance Center as president and treasurer and is currently on the board of directors of the Cabbage Patch Settlement House and Nativity Academy at St. Boniface. Crady serves on the Planned Giving Committee of the Center for Women and Families. He is married to Holly Harris Crady, a 1997 graduate from the Gatton College of Business, and they have two children, Robbie and Abby.

Thomas “Tom” K. Mathews received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UK in 1993, having attended as a Commonwealth Scholarship recipient. The Louisville native is the president of Industrial Solvents Corporation, is a member of the Houston Chemical Association and previously worked as compliance manager for Blue Grass Chemical Specialties. Mathews, who lives in lives in Cypress, Texas, is a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association, served as secretary and president of the Greater Houston UK Alumni Club, and organized fundraisers for DanceBlue and the club’s local scholarship fund. At UK, he was a resident advisor and hall director at Holmes Hall, a member of Collegians for Academic Excellence and an RHA council representative. Mathews received a master’s degree in liberal studies from Bellarmine University in 1999. He has worked as a community volunteer at Career Gear Houston and is a regular blood donor to the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. He has also volunteered as a youth coach in the Cy-Fair Sports Association and assisted in collecting and sorting donations at the Houston Food Bank. He is married to Tonya Williams Mathews, and they have two children, Shelby and Pierce.    

Jill H. Smith of Lexington, Kentucky, is secretary of the UK Alumni Association. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from the University of Kentucky in 2005 and a master’s degree in career, technical and leadership education from the University of Kentucky in 2011. She began working at the UK Alumni Association in 2006 as a program coordinator and held four other positions at the association before becoming executive director in February 2020. She also serves as associate vice president for alumni engagement at UK and secretary of the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors. She has been an active volunteer with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education at both the state and district level. She is an advisor to the Delta Rho chapter of Delta Delta Delta, an active participant in Lexington area Tri-Delta alumni activities and is a Class of 2022 member of Leadership Kentucky. She is a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association, a UK Fellow and serves on several university committees. She and her husband, Ryan, who is a 2005 UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment graduate, have two children, Tanner and Emmy.

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.