Professional News

2023 Mobley Awards highlight leadership at UK

Mobley Award winners (from left): Andie Savoree, Leslie Hayes, Christina Yue and Tom Harris. Photo by Stacey Gish.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 12, 2023) — On Thursday, Dec. 7, the University of Kentucky Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement celebrated four university employees at the 2023 Terry B. Mobley Philanthropy Awards ceremony. The Mobley Awards honor Terry Mobley's distinguished advancement career by rewarding staff members and volunteers who have made substantial, impactful contributions to the university’s philanthropic mission.

Each Mobley Award recipient receives a commemorative julep cup, a stipend and recognition on the plaque of award winners in the Sturgill Philanthropy Building. This year’s award winners include:

Rising Achievement Award: Andie Savoree, director of philanthropy and alumni engagement, Gatton College of Business and Economics

The Rising Achievement Award is presented to a professional staff member who has UK Philanthropy, UK Alumni Association or college/unit philanthropy or alumni relations tenure of fewer than five years, and who demonstrates excellent work performance, significant success and potential of further outstanding achievement and impact as a philanthropy or alumni professional.

Since joining in January of 2020, Andie Savoree’s strategic approach to cultivating relationships with alumni, donors and community members has redefined philanthropic strategies at Gatton College, setting a new standard for excellence and growth in alumni engagement and fundraising efforts. Her tenacity and innovative thinking have led to securing groundbreaking contributions, including pivotal seven-figure investments in the college. Notably, Savoree’s exemplary leadership during critical periods, particularly in steering the Gatton College’s philanthropy department through transitional times, highlights her exceptional adaptability and unwavering professionalism.

Professional Achievement Award: Leslie Hayes, associate director of membership and marketing, Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement

The Professional Achievement Award is presented to a professional staff member who has UK Philanthropy, UK Alumni Association or college/unit philanthropy or alumni relations tenure of five or more years, and who consistently demonstrates excellent work performance and has achieved significant success and impact as a philanthropy or alumni professional.

Leslie Hayes is an integral figure in the membership department, where she plays a crucial role in ensuring seamless operations and fostering a culture of growth and innovation. With a strong emphasis on Wildcat Society and member retention, Hayes’ dedication to enhancing member experiences and her collaborative approach to problem-solving have significantly contributed to the alumni association’s success in retaining and gaining new members. Her exceptional leadership during critical periods, including the association’s transition to a new membership model, seamless execution of Founder’s Day activities and her unwavering support for the association’s mission, underscores her profound impact on the alumni community and the university at large.

Impact Award: Christina Yue, director of strategic stakeholder events, memberships and administration, Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement

The Impact Award is presented annually to a staff member whose efforts during the calendar year led to a momentous, positive, lasting change at the University of Kentucky.

Christina Yue has served as a pivotal figure in the Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, overseeing strategic planning, sponsorship coordination and transformative event management initiatives. Her innovative strategies and compassionate leadership have revolutionized the alumni experience, setting new standards for engagement and impact. Through her dedicated efforts, Yue has streamlined event management procedures, transforming the event registration system and enhancing the overall experience for alumni and donors. Her dedication to fostering meaningful connections within the community is exemplified by her prompt and effective handling of any issues that arise, ensuring a positive and memorable experience for all participants.

Philanthropy Service Award: Tom Harris, vice president for university relations and former interim vice president for the Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement

The Philanthropy Service Award is presented to a UK senior professional, administrator, faculty member or volunteer who has demonstrated extraordinary support for the philanthropy effort at the university, is a strong advocate for philanthropy and is not a full-time UK Philanthropy or UK Alumni Association professional.

From January 2022–May 2023, Tom Harris served as interim vice president for the Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement. Harris’ leadership was instrumental in promoting a culture of trust and collaboration, as he spearheaded initiatives aimed at nurturing partnerships and strengthening relationships between the university and its communities. Throughout his extended tenure, Harris’ strategic guidance and inclusive decision-making significantly contributed to shared success across various departments, creating an environment of open communication and mutual support. Harris’ initiative-taking advocacy for the department’s needs instilled a sense of security and confidence, empowering the team to effectively pursue their fundraising goals and establish a solid foundation for future endeavors.

About Terry Mobley

Terry Mobley graduated from UK in 1965, went to work for IBM in Lexington, then returned to UK in 1977 and served as chief development officer, tasked with recruiting a staff that would fundraise for the University of Kentucky. The previous year, UK had raised $1.6 million. Mobley set his sights higher for his beloved alma mater.

For his work at UK and his service on countless boards, including a stint on the UK Board of Trustees, Mobley became known as the master of creating relationships. Whether it was at home, on the basketball court or at the office, Mobley valued three traits above all else: integrity, credibility and honesty. He took great pride in all he accomplished at UK — the relationships he built with his colleagues and the pathway he paved for the future of philanthropy at the University of Kentucky.

You can find a link to a video about Terry Mobley’s life and impact here.

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.