Campus News

Mira Ball receives UK Founders Day Award


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 24, 2024) — In honor of the University of Kentucky’s founding in 1865, the UK Alumni Association presented its annual Founders Day Award to a woman who personifies goodwill, service and dedication to the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

Mira Snider Ball was the chief financial officer of Ball Homes LLC, a company incorporated in 1959 by Ball and her husband, the late Don Ball. They spent a lifetime building one of the most successful homebuilding businesses in the country. They also spent a lifetime giving back in ways that enrich lives and build communities. Her dedication and success were recognized Friday when she was awarded the 2024 UK Founders Day Award at a ceremony in her honor. 

“Each year, we come together to honor remarkable people who have upheld our legacy as Kentucky's university and contributed to advancing the state and its people,” said UK President Eli Capilouto as he presented the award. “Mira Ball embodies what we mean by living a life of meaning and purpose.” 

Ball received a Bachelor of Arts in education from the University of Kentucky College of Education in 1956. She was a teacher in Fayette County Public Schools and has always been an active member of the Lexington community. She served on the UK Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2010 and became the first woman to serve as its chair. She was inducted into the UK Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2010 and she recently served as co-chair of Kentucky Can: The 21st Century Campaign, which raised $2.1 billion for UK.  

She and her husband were jointly awarded honorary doctorates by UK in 2016. Ball Hall, located in Woodland Glen, is named in honor of Mira and Don Ball. 

“Our success would not be possible without people like Mira and Don Ball who remain dedicated to our 159-year-old mission to advance Kentucky in all we do,” said Capilouto in his remarks. “We are thankful for the indelible role she has played in our advancement and for the selflessness she has dedicated in everything she does for this university and nearly every other entity across the Commonwealth.”  

Ball received a Founders Day Award medallion and a one-time monetary donation of $10,000 will be made in her name to an existing university philanthropic fund of her choice.  

I never in my wildest dreams thought I was going to receive this award,” said Ball. “I've been honored to serve this university with Dr. Lee Todd, Dr. Michael Karpf and Dr. Eli Capilouto who have all had a vision to make this university the best it could be for the state of Kentucky and all of its citizens.” 

To learn more about the Founders Day Award, visit 

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 or call 800-269-2586. 

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.