Campus News

UK Board Approves Four Honorary Doctorate Recipients

photo of Commencement in Rupp Arena
President Eli Capilouto speaking at UK Commencement. UK Photo | Mark Cornelison.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 23, 2018) Four citizens who have distinguished themselves in their careers and community work will receive honorary doctorates from the University of Kentucky at May Commencement Ceremonies. The UK Board of Trustees today approved the honorary degrees for Tom Hammond, Debra Hensley, Sara Holroyd and Geoffrey Manley.

Tom Hammond will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

The Lexington native and UK alumnus is recognized as one of the leading network sports broadcasters in the United States. His career has included covering thoroughbred horse racing and play-by-play of the NBA, WNBA, college basketball and football, gymnastics and ice skating. He was the play-by-play announcer for University of Notre Dame Football for 21 years, and he has been a fixture on NBC's coverage of the Olympic Summer and Winter Games. Hammond has won an Eclipse Award and numerous Emmy awards for his sports coverage.

Among many honors Hammond has received are the Outstanding Kentuckian Award given by the A.B. Chandler Foundation (now the Kentucky Future Leaders Foundation) and the Tom Hammond Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting, which is named for him and given by the Bluegrass Sports Commission. He is also a member of the Lafayette High School Hall of Fame, Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and UK Hall of Distinguished Alumni. He serves on a number of boards including currently co-chairing the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment's campaign committee.

Debra Hensley will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Hensley, who owns and operates a State Farm Insurance agency in Lexington, has also served three terms on the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council and continues to work tirelessly as a community builder. Her volunteer and advocacy work includes serving on the boards of the Salvation Army, YMCA and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. She and the Golden K Kiwanis Club were instrumental in bringing Habitat for Humanity to Lexington, and as chair of the Task Force on Homelessness, she was a leading force behind creation of the Hope Center to assist people who are homeless and at-risk.

Hensley co-founded Downtown Lexington Corporation, which promotes downtown business, residential life and entertainment. She is past chair of the Kentucky Conference of Community and Justice and as co-founder of JustFundKY, Hensley helped create an endowment to help eradicate discrimination against lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender community members. She is also founder and president of Lexington Community Radio, a nonprofit group that launched two low-power FM stations broadcasting in English and Spanish.

Sara Holroyd will receive an Honorary Doctor of Arts.

As a professor in the UK School of Music from 1962 to 1987, Holroyd was a trailblazer for women. She became one of only two female collegiate choral conductors in the United States. During her tenure at UK, she held the positions of professor of music education and director of choral activities where she led The Madrigal Singers, Women's Glee Club, Chorus, Choristers and Chorale. Among her many awards, Holroyd was named a UK Alumni Association Great Teacher; she won the Carl A. Lampert Award inducting her into the UK School of Music Hall of Fame; and most recently, she received the Lexington Music Award's Lifetime Achievement Award.

At the age of 62, Holroyd retired from UK and started working toward another career.  She immediately entered nursing school and at age 64, became an emergency room nurse at a Lexington hospital until she retired from that career at age 71. The Sara Holroyd Oral History Project, started by some of her former students, now resides in the UK Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, part of UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center.

Geoffrey Manley will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science.

After dropping out of high school, Manley's life took an unlikely turn that eventually led him to become an internationally recognized expert in neurotrauma and leader in the growing field of advanced neuromonitoring and clinical informatics. While working as a mechanic, one of his customers, UK Professor Emeritus Sheldon Steiner, recognized Manley's talents and set him on an academic path that led to Manley earning his bachelor's degree from UK and medical and doctoral degrees from Cornell University. He currently is vice chairman of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco; co-director of the school's Brain and Spinal Injury Center; and chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital.

Manley has received many awards for his research, published more than 120 manuscripts, mentored numerous physicians and scientists at UCSF, and was instrumental in writing the guidelines that all neurosurgeons use for managing patients with traumatic brain injury.  

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue