Gail Hairston

UK Names First Outstanding Staff Members

Published: Aug 17, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 17, 2010) -- While many University of Kentucky support and academic units present annual outstanding employee awards at the department level, the contributions of the university’s best staff members have never been formally recognized at a university-wide ceremony.


UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. changed that recently with the inaugural university-wide Outstanding Staff Awards Ceremony, where 14 employees were honored. In his address to the awardees and their supporters, Todd said, “Without the contributions of our dedicated staff, there would not be a University of Kentucky.”


The university’s first Outstanding Staff Awards Ceremony was planned by the Office of the President and the Office of Staff Senate.


The first staff members to be honored with the university’s Outstanding Staff Award are:


  • Ron Baker -- College of Public Health, Department of Information Technology. IT Manager Ron Baker oversees the day-to-day IT operations in support of the faculty, staff and students of the College of Public Health. The staff includes one other full time IT support person and a work study student. He has been with UK two years. When asked what he liked best about working at UK, he said, “In IT we have the unique opportunity to interact with nearly everyone in the college. The thing I like best are the relationships that are a result of the collaboration and problem solving that takes place on a daily basis.”


  • Kathy Begley -- College of Nursing, Tobacco Policy Research Program. Data Management Coordinator Kathy Begley oversees data collection for various research projects of the Tobacco Policy Research Program. She has been with UK nine years. “I enjoy working with a research team to help provide better, healthier communities.”


  • Suanne Early -- Undergraduate Studies. Academic Advisor Suanne Early works for exploratory students in Undergraduate Education. She has worked at UK more than nine years. “I am proud to be at the University of Kentucky because it strives to be cutting edge and yet at the same time is steeped in tradition. I like being an active part of the UK community and participating in the diverse range of opportunities offered. In particular I truly enjoy working with a variety of UK students and supporting them in their personal and intellectual growth.” 


  • Delores “Dee” Gil -- College of Education, Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling. Administrative Support Associate “Dee” Gil manages budget operations of federal grant accounts that involve knowledge and experience with the IRIS/SAP system and appropriate spending of federal funds in excess of $6,000,000. She has knowledge and experience with purchasing, setting up and troubleshooting computer equipment/software/peripherals, and experience with the Campus Management System to assist students (mainly processing tuition payments and reimbursements). She tracks and maintains capital and noncapital equipment inventory in excess of over $500,000. She has been with UK 24 years. She likes the “opportunity for gaining experience in various areas of interest – especially in the area of technology and the operations of federal grant awards.”


  • Marion Kirby -- College of Education, Educational, School and Counseling Psychology. Administrative Support Associate and Business Manager/Payroll, Marion Kirby brings to the department a diverse background of experience which includes supervision of employees for 17 years at the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Boston University School of Theology with five years experience in financial aid, registration, and admissions. Her other experience includes budget management at both the Educational Talent Search program and financial aid office at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. She has been on the EDP staff since December 1999. She holds certificates from UK in supervision, business, procedures, and SAP training. She has been with UK 15 years. “I like the benefits and the people that I work with, in and outside of my department/college.”


  • Ludmila Lapchyk -- College of Agriculture, Plant Pathology. Ludmila Lapchyk is the research analyst for two professors. She has been with UK 14 years. Lapchyk enjoys the environment of working at UK.


  • Denise McCarthy -- College of Health Sciences, Business Office. Denise McCarthy is the payroll administrator in the college. She has been with UK seven years.


  • Diane Mier -- College of Engineering, Department of Computer Science. Diane Mier is the administrative coordinator and assistant to the chair of the department. She has been with UK 30 years. “Each day at UK presents an opportunity for a new learning experience.”


  • Cara Nelson -- Office of the Treasurer, Accounts Payable. While promoting good customer service to both internal and external vendors, Accounting Manager Cara Nelson oversees the Procurement Card Program, ensuring timely and accurate cash disbursements in settlement of vendor claims for goods and services. She coordinates and prepares tax information returns in compliance with IRS regulations for external vendors. She has been with UK 11 years. “I enjoy the people I work with.”


  • Gene Olson -- College of Agriculture, Plant and Soil Sciences Department. As a research specialist in charge of forage variety testing in Kentucky, Gene Olson puts out variety trials for hay yield at several locations in the state and grazing trials for cattle and horses here in Lexington. These trials include many grasses and legumes which are used for forage. He has been with UK nine years.


  • William “Bobby” Owen Orange -- College of Agriculture, West Kentucky Substation. Bobby Orange is the heavy equipment operator, working with dozers, loaders, backhoes, road graders, cranes, man-lifts, trucks, tractors and farm equipment for building construction and maintenance and improvements. He also operates farm equipment to assist researchers with agricultural research plot preparation, planting, pesticide applications, harvesting, etc. In addition, he works farm maintenance, repairs and improvements. He has been with UK more than nine years.  “I like the employees that I work with.”


  • Suzann Smith -- College of Agriculture, Field Programs, Fayette County Cooperative Extension. Suzann Smith is the office manager for Field Programs. She has been with UK 20 years. “I like the warm, fun and friendly atmosphere.”


  • Cindy Stidham -- College of Agriculture, Animal & Food Sciences. Cindy Stidham is the Administrative Support Associate for the department chair. Her primary role is to handle payroll and employment for the department. She also works with the faculty, staff and students in her department, dealing with issues concerning policy and procedures, payroll and other assistance as needed. She has been with UK more than 17 years. “I like the community and sense of family. I appreciate the programs, classes and benefits available to the employees.”


  • Yvonne Thompson -- College of Agriculture, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Yvonne Thompson is a research analyst, working with soil characterization, wetland soils and hydrology, and colloid composition and transport. She has been with UK 24 years.  “Working at UK has given me opportunities to interact with numerous students and also to participate in a variety of research projects. I genuinely enjoy the students and research, as both have provided me with learning opportunities and new experiences that I value.”


  • Carol White -- College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Carol White is the budget/business person for her department. She is responsible for the unit’s financial management and reporting, payroll processing, preparing JAQ’s, and posting positions in OES. She manages the Faculty Effort System and coordinates and oversees space and equipment inventory. She has been with UK 12 years. When asked what do you like best about working at UK?, White simply responded: “The people.”
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