Student News

The Phillies celebrate philanthropic work of UK scholars, registered student organizations

Philanthropic UK students and organizations were feted for their efforts on April 18, 2023. (From left:) Marcie Ansert, Julia Martin, Caroline Sumner, Ryan Beckwith, Riley Pate, JT Furgo, Morgan Russell, Lexi Rezelj and Megan Wiley. Photo: Andrew Palmer.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Student Philanthropy Board hosted the second annual recognition ceremony — The Phillies Awards — on April 18, 2023, in the Gatton Student Center’s Worsham Cinema. The Phillies celebrate UK scholars and registered student organizations who work to make a philanthropic difference on campus and in their community.

In her opening remarks, Marci Hicks, keynote speaker and philanthropy director for the UK Alumni Association, reminded attendees that philanthropy comes in many different forms.

“Serving others is at the core of humankind,” Hicks said. “Tonight, we celebrate the creative ways you and your organizations work to improve the lives of others. Whether collecting food for the campus kitchen or the local food pantry; reading books to children at The Nest; or participating in DanceBlue, you make a difference through action … I come to an event like The Phillies and see all of you sitting in the audience — students who have given of your time, your energy and your talents to create a path or make a journey easier for someone else — and I’m reminded that this is what philanthropy is all about.”

Marketing and management major Megan Wiley was awarded the Student of Philanthropy Award for her tireless philanthropic work and outstanding leadership skills. Wiley was integral to successful activities such as the Miracle Gala, DanceBlue, Adopt-A-Family, Greek Sing and Bring it On. She also helped raise $48,500 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals throughout the past year.

Leveraging relationships with Ale-8-One and the Shoes that Fit charitable organization, chemical engineering major Riley Pate received the Student of Fundraising Award. Rather than a total dollar amount, this award emphasizes creativity and execution in fundraising. To that end, Pate raised awareness for individuals in flood-ravaged Eastern Kentucky, raising $6,800 by auctioning shoes donated by the beverage company. He also promoted Shoes that Fit on social media, resulting in the donation of 200 pairs of shoes to flood victims.

In addition to individual Phillies winners, UK student organizations received recognition for their philanthropic achievements.

  • Greek Sing, a musical event that brought together UK’s Greek community for the support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, received the Philanthropy Event of the Year. UK’s Panhellenic organization Chi Omega accepted the award.
  • The Philanthropy Promotion Award went to Sigma Nu. The fraternal organization’s members won the award through their use of social media and peer engagement. In addition to utilizing their social media platforms, Sigma Nu created a GroupMe that connected student leaders across campus. This GroupMe streamlined communication and gave a platform for everyone to discuss upcoming philanthropic activities, increasing involvement and fundraising totals.
  • Presented to a student organization that achieved excellence in member fundraising, the Fundraising Excellence Award went to Kappa Kappa Gamma. The women of Kappa Kappa Gamma raised more than $10,000 for the Kentucky Center for Grieving Children and Families and the Jed Foundation, thereby bettering the lives of people experiencing difficult situations.
  • Alpha Delta Pi received the Excellence in Stewardship Award. This award honors a student organization that honors the philanthropic efforts of donors. Through their Roses for RMDH event, the sorority celebrated Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMDH) benefactors, underscoring the importance of fostering continued, positive relationships with supporters.
  • The evening’s final award, the All-Star Award for Student Involvement, went to DanceBlue, the organization that raises donations through silent auctions, 5K runs, and the namesake 24-hour dance marathon that features more than 4,000 students and community members. The most recent dance marathon raised more than $1.6 million. The organization plans to bolster community participation by continuing to curate engaging, large-scale events.

The Joseph P. Kennedy Scholarship awards were also presented to four full-time UK students who have demonstrated outstanding community leadership and service as well as an excellent record of academic achievement. Student members of philanthropic organizations, such as the Student Philanthropy Board, Student Philanthropy officers and Center for Student Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement interns selected the year’s recipients. The recipients were:

  • Maddy Lindskog, economics and management;
  • Morgan Russell, neuroscience and psychology;
  • Christopher Taylor, business management and human communication; and
  • Caroline Youdes, biology.

Formed in 2018, the Student Philanthropy Board is part of the UK Center for Student Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, whose mission is to spread the joy of philanthropy. For more information on the center, visit

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.