Professional News

Ellis, Pigman to Receive Honorary Degrees

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 14, 2017) — Nominated by the University Joint Committee on Honorary Degrees and approved by the University Senate, two University of Kentucky alumni will receive honorary degrees at the 10 a.m. December Commencement Ceremony this Friday, Dec. 15.  The degrees recognize extraordinary contributions to philanthropy, human development, education or societal well-being.

Jewell Deene Ellis, a former educator and teacher trainer, will receive an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters. Originally from Boyle County, Kentucky, Ellis earned a bachelor's degree in vocational home economics from UK in 1951, and later her master's degree in education from UK as well. She taught at Nicholas County High School from 1951 to 1960, where she developed a reputation for innovative practices, both inside and outside of the classroom. She also supervised over 30 student teachers from UK. She then became a traveling teacher trainer at Murray State University, and a liaison with the Kentucky Department of Education, where she supervised home economics education programs. Soon after she became director of the home economics unit for the department, serving in variety of state educational leadership roles for 36 years, including the development of national standards for family and consumer sciences education. She retired in 2008.

L. Stanley Pigman, an engineer and entrepreneur, will also receive an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters. Pigman graduated from UK as a first-generation college student in 1981 with a degree in mining engineering. After working with Sierra Coal, a subsidiary of General Electric, Pigman joined with two colleagues to form Sugar Camp Coal, and eventually his own company, Pigman Coal Sales. He built several more businesses that own and lease coal properties. In 1999, Pigman established a scholarship program at UK for undergraduate engineering students from Kentucky with financial need. Since then, he has expanded the program and is very involved with the recipients. Overall, more than 80 "Pigman Scholars" have benefited from Pigman and his wife Karen's generosity. In addition to the scholarship program, the Pigmans also sponsor a leadership development institute for UK students.

The 2017 December Commencement ceremonies will be live streamed on UKNow.

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