Student and Academic Life

Family of the Year to Be Recognized During This Year's Family Weekend

Family of the year.
(Left to right) Nathan, Abby, Amy and Tony Benton.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 11, 2019) — Parents and families play a valuable role in the lives of students. While a student's life changes as they transition into college, so do the lives of the family members who send them off to school. Through that major life transition, family support is vital. To recognize the dedication of Wildcat families and the importance family support plays in student success, the University of Kentucky Parent and Family Association is honoring student Abby Benton and her family as "Family of the Year" at this year's Family Weekend celebration. 

Abby Benton became a Wildcat fan the day she was born. Longtime supporters of the school, both her mom and dad attended the university, raising her to bleed blue just as they did.  

"My parents love to tell me about student life on campus in the 1990s and how they remember having classes in White Hall or Chem-Phys," she said. "If I had to pick a super fan for UK, it would have to be my parents."

Before stepping foot on to campus, Abby knew she wanted to come to school at UK. She's a sophomore now, and her family's devotion to the university has only grown and their family bond has become stronger. 

“I love that my husband and I were UK sweethearts and now our daughter is a Wildcat," Amy Benton, Abby's mom said. "Being a part of the Wildcat family is a bond we will share for our lifetimes.”

Abby has found a new home at the university and couldn’t imagine spending her college years anywhere else. Although her family is from Knoxville, Tennessee, the Bentons often make the drive up to the Commonwealth to cheer on the Wildcats and to show their support for Abby, making her time at UK a memorable one and with her family right by her side and her goals at the university that much more achievable. 

"My family is dedicated to this school and to my education. My parents have traveled up to Lexington multiple times just so our family can cheer on the Cats together," Abby said. "My family members are crazy Cats fans, but when you put us together, we become fanatics."

During this year's Family Weekend, the Bentons will be recognized as the 2019 Family of the Year. They will receive: 

  • Four tickets to the Family Weekend tailgate Saturday, Sept. 14;
  • hotel room accommodations for the weekend;
  • Family Weekend T-shirts for the family; and 
  • recognition on the Parent and Family Association website, Cat Chat email newsletter, and social media.

The recognition of Family of the Year is new to this year's Family Weekend. The weekend is packed with fun, family-oriented events starting Friday, Sept. 13, with the Family Weekend Welcome and ending Sunday, Sept. 15, with a farewell brunch. For a detailed description of all Family Weekend events and activities, visit or download the UK Parent and Family Association mobile app. You can also follow the UK Parent and Family Association on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

The Parent and Family Association embraces a multidimensional concept of family and the diversity of family structures, including families of origin and families of choice. To learn more about the application and selection process for Family of the Year, visit the Student Transitions and Family Programs (formerly known as the Student Services Center) website

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 two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for," 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 three 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.