Professional News

UK Alumni Association Announces Service Awards

 From left, Trudy Webb Banta, Winn F. Williams, Preston C. Worley, Paul Karem and Willis K. Bright were honored for their service to the UK Alumni Association. Photo by Tim Webb.
(Left to right) Trudy Webb Banta, Winn F. Williams, Preston C. Worley, Paul Karem and Willis K. Bright were honored for their service to the UK Alumni Association. Photo by Tim Webb.

Lexington, Ky. (July 3, 2019) — The University of Kentucky Alumni Association Distinguished Service Awards and Joseph T. Burch Young Alumni Award are presented annually to honor and recognize those who have provided extraordinary service to the university and the association. The 2019 recipients were honored during the recent UK Alumni Association Board of Directors Summer Workshop in Lexington.

2019 Distinguished Service Award Winners

The UK Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award recognizes up to four recipients as selected by the Alumni Service Awards Committee. Nominees for this prestigious award should have:

  • demonstrated a history of diligent work for the UK Alumni Association and/or a local alumni club;
  • contributed to the accomplishments of the UK Alumni Association and/or a local alumni club;
  • provided leadership and dedication to university and association programs;
  • provided meaningful service to alumni and friends of the university, community and profession; and
  • earned at least 12 credit hours.

This year’s Distinguished Service Award winners are Trudy Webb Banta, Willis K. Bright, Paul Karem and Winn F. Williams.

Banta resides in Indianapolis and graduated from UK in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in education in 1965. She is the retired vice chancellor and professor of higher education emerita from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Banta was inducted into the UK Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2005. She is a former member of the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors, having served on the Executive Committee, was chairwoman of the Diversity and Group Development Committee and served on the Hall of Distinguished Alumni Nominating Committee and the Scholarship and Great Teacher committees. She is a member of the Wildcat Society and UK Women & Philanthropy Network. Professionally, she earned a doctorate in education from the University of Tennessee and is a pioneer in the field of outcomes assessment in higher education. She founded the Center for Assessment Research and Development at the University of Tennessee. A recipient of 15 national awards for her work, she is the author or editor of 20 books and more than 400 chapters, articles and reports.

Bright resides in Indianapolis and graduated from UK in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. He was the first African-American student to receive the Sullivan Award. Bright dedicated his career to youth development and African-American participation in the political process in Indiana. His family established the Bright Family Fund for Youth Development in the UK College of Social Work. He is a member of the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors. Bright chaired the Class of 1966 Golden Wildcat Reunion committee, served on the Alumni Association’s executive director search committee, is a member of the College of Social Work Hall of Fame and has served on the college’s advisory board. He has served on the Nominating for Board, Scholarship, Great Teacher, Communications, Diversity and Group Development committees. Bright is a Wildcat Society member, a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association and a UK Fellow.

Karem resides in Louisville and is a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association and a UK Fellow. He helped see two projects to fruition, including a statue on UK’s campus to honor the first African-American athletes in the Southeastern Conference and served as executive producer of “Black in Blue,”  tirelessly working more than five years to make the documentary featuring the stories of UK’s first African-American football players. The film was directed by UK alumnus Paul Wagner. Karem has been involved with Greater Louisville UK Alumni Club events, helping introduce the current football coaching staff to the greater Louisville alumni and the Louisville club board. He was instrumental in former UK football player Wilbur Hackett receiving the Greater Louisville UK Alumni Club All-American Award, the club’s highest honor. In addition to his involvement with the local club, he is a former UK football letterman and former president of the K-Club, where he has been a member for 30 years. In his professional life, he is a veteran of the mortgage lending industry, working at multiple banks and selling his own mortgage company to a regional bank. He is also an author of “Above the Fray,” a book on customer service.

Williams resides in Marietta, South Carolina, and graduated from UK in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He is a Municipal Court judge for the city of Greer, South Carolina. His jurisdiction includes Greenville and Spartan counties. Williams is a member of the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors. He serves on the Scholarship and Great Teacher Committee and previously served on the Alumni Service Awards and Budget, Finance and Investments committees. He has also been involved with the Nation’s Capital Region and Upstate South Carolina UK Alumni Clubs, having served as president and vice president in the Washington, D.C., club. He is also a charter member of the UK College of Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Development Council, serves as a mentor to College of Arts and Sciences students, and willingly attends and participates in college nights, send off and student recruitment events. He also tutors elementary school children and is an active volunteer with the Special Olympics and outreach programs in the Cliffs Communities. He is a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association and a UK Fellow.

Joseph T. Burch Young Alumni Award

The Joseph T. Burch Young Alumni Award is named for a longtime UK administrator who has spent the better part of his life in service to UK students.

A nominee for this award must be an alumna or alumnus who is a member of the UK Alumni Association, who is 35 years of age or younger at the time of nomination, and who has worked on behalf of young people through the university, the association, their alumni club or in the local community in the following capacities:

  • raising funds for scholarships and/or awarding scholarships for students to attend UK;
  • working with local high school students through club-sponsored events and/or Preview Nights, to interest students in attending UK;
  • working to educate youth in the local community, whether through tutoring, coaching or other means to keep them interested in learning; and
  • assisting in efforts to support the student alumni association through mentoring or other means.

This year’s Joseph T. Burch Young Alumni Award winner is Preston C. Worley.

Worley resides in Lexington and graduated from UK in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in history and in 2010 from the UK College of Law. He is an associate at McBrayer McGinnis Leslie & Kirkland PLLC and is a 2019 Kentucky Super Lawyer Rising Star in Real Estate. Worley has been involved with DanceBlue as both a graduate and student. He served as chairman of the Golden Matrix Fund Advisory Council and as a board member of the Kentucky Children’s Hospital Executive Development Council. He currently serves as the council member representing the 7th District on the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council. Worley is a former member of the Downtown Lexington Corporation board, Coaches for the Kids board, and former general counsel for the Lexington History Museum.

For more information on the awards, and to see past winners, visit www.ukalumni.neet/awards.

The UK Alumni Association is committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association, visit www.ukalumni.net or call 1-800-269-2586.

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