Professional News

Mobley Philanthropy Awards Highlight Unwavering Commitment, Exceptional Achievement Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

(Left to right:) Mary Beth Neiser, Darlene Simpson, Albert Kalim, Meredith M. Weber, Nathan P. Darce, Jennifer W. Mynear and Gregory W. Laur.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2021) — On Thursday, Nov. 18, the University of Kentucky Office of Philanthropy honored seven UK employees and volunteers at the Terry B. Mobley Philanthropy Awards Ceremony. Held in the Harris Ballroom of the Gatton Student Center, the Mobley Awards reward staff members and volunteers who have made substantial, impactful contributions to the university’s philanthropic mission.

During the ceremony, several nominators noted how each recipient persevered through extraordinary challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. From exporting routine operations to remote worksites to advancing the university’s $2.1 billion Kentucky Can: The 21st Century Campaign in uncertain times, this year’s Mobley Award winners not only demonstrated dedication, but also achieved remarkable results for the Office of Philanthropy.

Each recipient receives a commemorative julep cup, a stipend and recognition on the wall of award winners in the Sturgill Philanthropy Building. This year’s award winners include:

Front Line Award: Albert Kalim, technical support specialist for the UK Alumni Association; Darlene Simpson, gift acknowledgement coordinator for the Office of Philanthropy.

The Front Line Award is presented to a UK Philanthropy, UK Alumni Association or other support staff member to recognize outstanding performance in support of philanthropy efforts at the university.

Rising Achievement Award: Nathan P. Darce, director of philanthropy for the College of Communication and Information; Meredith M. Weber, senior associate director for communications and membership for the UK Alumni Association, and director of communications for the Office of Philanthropy.

The Rising Achievement Award is presented to a professional staff member who has UK Philanthropy, UK Alumni Association or college/unit philanthropy or alumni relations tenure of fewer than five years, and who demonstrates excellent work performance, significant success and potential of further outstanding achievement and impact as a philanthropy or alumni professional.

Professional Achievement Award: Gregory W. Laur, assistant vice president for philanthropy; Mary Beth Neiser, senior director of philanthropy for the College of Pharmacy.

The Professional Achievement Award is presented to a professional staff member who has UK Philanthropy, UK Alumni Association or college/unit philanthropy or alumni relations tenure of five or more years, and who consistently demonstrates excellent work performance and has achieved significant success and impact as a philanthropy or alumni professional.

Philanthropy Service Award: Jennifer W. Mynear, director of Jarrett’s Joy Car and volunteer with Kentucky Children’s Hospital and DanceBlue.

The Philanthropy Service Award is presented to a UK senior professional, administrator, faculty member or volunteer who has demonstrated extraordinary support for the philanthropy effort at the university, is a strong advocate for philanthropy and is not a full-time UK Philanthropy or UK Alumni Association professional.

The Mobley Awards are designed to honor Terry Mobley’s distinguished advancement career. A former basketball player who played under Adolph Rupp, Mobley returned to his alma mater in 1977 and used his connections to grow the university’s fundraising from $3 million annually to about $61 million. The awards program has honored more than 70 individuals since its inception.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.