Campus News

Living Legacy Award Winners Announced During Inaugural Ceremony

The UK Martin Luther King Center hosted the inaugural Living Legacy Award ceremony Friday, Jan. 28, at the Gatton Student Center. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 17, 2022) — This year, the Martin Luther King (MLK) Center at the University of Kentucky celebrated 35 years on campus. To commemorate the occasion, the MLK Center hosted several events highlighting the historic milestone. Included in the event calendar was the inaugural Living Legacy Award ceremony.

The ceremony aims to highlight and honor members of the campus community who actively embody the work and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. through their leadership and community engagement efforts.

“Our hope in establishing and presenting the Living Legacy Awards is to remind all members of our campus community that legacy is not just about what you leave behind, that true legacy starts with intentionality in the present and its impact grows over time,” Jasmine Prince, associate director of the Martin Luther King Center, said. “We want to remind members of our community that their current contributions are valuable and have the potential to shift and change the experiences that the next generation of students, faculty and staff have at the University of Kentucky.” 

The ceremony took place Friday, Jan. 28, in the Gatton Student Center Ballroom. Three award categories were presented during the ceremony.

  • The Leadership Legacy Award. This award is given to both an undergraduate and graduate student who embodies the spirit of King’s legacy of thoughtful leadership and trailblazing vision. Award winners demonstrate evidence of intentional community leadership, both in and outside of the university, the ability to advocate for innovation, creativity and vision in leadership, and the ability to positively impact individuals to act and advocate for social change.
    • This year’s winners: Deja Robinson, undergraduate student in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; and Ke’La Porter, doctoral student in the UK College of Health Sciences.  
  • The Catalyst Award. This award is given to a faculty or staff member who embraces King’s legacy of addressing injustice and inequality. The award winner demonstrates a commitment to supporting and advocating for students, engagement in academic endeavors that address systemic inequalities and racial equity, and serves as a champion for an inclusive campus environment and experience.
    • This year’s winner: Ima Ebong, M.D., assistant professor of neurology and clinical neurophysiology in the UK College of Medicine.  
  • The Community Impact Award. This award is given to a UK student organization that promotes and prioritizes King’s legacy of community connection. The award winner demonstrates evidence of developing collaborative programs and experiences for the university and Lexington communities and creates a sense of belonging for students through purposeful action.
    • This year’s winner: Omicron Zeta Chapter, Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc.

To learn more about the MLK Center and their 35th anniversary celebration, click here.

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.