LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Alumni Association recently announced its 2021-2022 Board of Directors’ officers during its annual Summer Workshop. This year’s officers are Mary L. Shelman, president; Antoine Huffman, president-elect; Janie McKenzie-Wells, treasurer; and Jill Smith, secretary. The new slate officially took office July 1, 2021, and will serve until June 30, 2022.
Mary L. Shelman of Belmont, Massachusetts, was elected president of the UK Alumni Association. She received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1981 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1987. She has been serving as treasurer of the UK Alumni Association this past year and has held several committee leadership positions including chair of Budget, Finance & Investments, Nominating for Board, Diversity and Group Development, and Alumni Service Awards committees. She was also vice-chair of Communications, Membership, and Nominating for Board committees. She is also a 2021 recipient of the UK Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award. Shelman is an internationally recognized thought leader on the global ag-tech and agri-food system. She has consulted, taught and presented at conferences in 20 countries. She is past president of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association and past president of English At Large, an adult literacy organization. She is a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association and a Wildcat Society member. Shelman is a native of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where she still owns a farm. She is married to Nathan “Chip” Cohen and they have one son, Alexander "AJ" Shelman-Cohen.
Antoine S. Huffman of Prosper, Texas, was elected president-elect of the UK Alumni Association. He received his bachelor’s degree in telecommunications in 2005. While at Kentucky, he was a three-year starter for the Wildcats football team, becoming a UK NCAA record holder. He was also a member of the UK Athletic Association Board of Directors. He served three years as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president, two years as chairman for the UK Athletics Outreach Committee and was a member of the ODK National Leadership Honor Society. In 2005, Huffman became the first African American to be crowned UK Homecoming king. He is active in the community with Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Club, the Salvation Army, and is a motivational speaker at local churches, schools and special regional events. From 2002 to 2005, the Atlanta, Georgia, native was nationally recognized for his community service, academics and athletic achievement. In addition, he was a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy. He received the ARA Sportsmanship Award, two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America, four-time NCAA Academic All-American, four-time SEC Academic honor-roll, and named a member of the Good Works Team. Huffman has served as chairman for the Membership, Communications, Club Development, and Nomination committees within the UK Alumni Association and served two terms as president of the Greater Nashville UK Alumni Club. He is in the medical field as a regional director of sales for the Southwest and he and his wife, Jessica Kibbe Huffman, who is a UK College of Education graduate, are Life Members of the UK Alumni Association. They have two sons, Jayden and Adonis.
Janie C. McKenzie-Wells of Staffordsville, Kentucky, was elected treasurer of the UK Alumni Association. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1983 and a law degree from the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law in 1986. She was admitted to the practice of law in 1986, and was the first woman elected as 24th Circuit Family Court Judge. She is also a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She has served on the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors for several years as a representative from District VIII and the UK College of Law, and has been chair and vice-chair of numerous committees. She is an active member and officer of the Big Sandy UK Alumni Club. McKenzie-Wells is also a member of the UK Alumni Band and served as president and member of the UK Alumni Band Board. She received the UK Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award and the UK Law Alumni Association Distinguished Jurist Award. She is a member of UK Women & Philanthropy, and serves on the Leadership Council. In 2016, she was inducted into the Paintsville High School Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni. She and her husband, Frank, are life members of the UK Alumni Association, and have a daughter, Katherine, who is a UK medical student.
Jill H. Smith of Lexington, Kentucky, is secretary of the UK Alumni Association. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from the University of Kentucky in 2005 and a master’s degree in career, technical and leadership education from the University of Kentucky in 2011. She joined the UK Alumni Association in 2006 as a program coordinator and held four other positions at the association before becoming executive director in February 2020. She also serves as associate vice president for alumni engagement and secretary of the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors. She has been an active volunteer with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education at both the state and district level. She is an advisor to the Delta Rho chapter of Delta Delta Delta and an active participant in Lexington area Tri-Delta alumni activities. She is a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association and UK Fellow and serves on several university committees. She and her husband, Ryan Smith, who is a UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment graduate, have two children, Tanner and Emmy.
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 800-269-2586.
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.