LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 9, 2021) — The Univesity of Kentucky Alumni Association received four awards during the 2021 Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District III Institutional Awards.
CASE is a nonprofit association dedicated to educational advancement that serves institutions across the world. It recognizes best practices in the fields of alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and advancement services. The District III/Southeast region includes member institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
This year, the district received 786 entries across 76 categories, in addition to eight CASE Platinum categories.
The UK Alumni Association, along with its partners, was recognized with a District III Platinum Award Honorable Mention for Best Practices in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for “70 Years of Integration.”
The association partnered with the Office for Institutional Diversity and the Lyman T. Johnson African American Alumni Group to initiate and host numerous events on campus to commemorate the anniversary of the 1949 court decision which desegregated Kentucky’s campus, allowing Lyman T. Johnson to become the first African American student to take classes on campus with white students. These events and activities included the following:
- A Conversation with Trevor Noah, the host of Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show."
- Noted African American scholar, UK Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni member and former Prairie View A&M President, George C. Wright, served as a visiting professor during the 2019-2020 academic year.
- The cover story for the Fall 2019 issue of Kentucky Alumni magazine focused on the significance of 70 Years of Integration.
- During Homecoming, Oct. 8-12, 2019, the association staff and Lyman T. Johnson African American Alumni Group volunteers held the 29th annual Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Award Luncheon, the NPHC Homecoming Step Show and the Gospel Brunch featuring UK Black Voices.
- On Nov. 1, 2019, the UK men’s basketball team hosted Kentucky State University, Kentucky’s only historically black institution, in Rupp Arena for a season exhibition game. Prior to tip-off, a pre-game ceremony honored the historically black community of Adamstown. Today, Memorial Coliseum stands where the Adamstown community once stood. The UK Alumni Association and the Lyman T. Johnson African American Alumni Group hosted a pregame event at Creaux, a local business owned by UK alumni. A portion of sales benefited the Lyman T. Johnson Scholarship endowment.
- In February 2020, the UK Women’s Basketball team honored Adamstown by wearing Adamstown shooting shirts and by recognizing then-UK Alumni Association President Taunya Phillips as the poWEr representative of the game.
- On Feb. 28, 2020, the UK Alumni Association and the UK Office for Institutional Diversity hosted alumni and friends at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville for a private gallery viewing of Imar Hutchins' art show, "Inheritance." Hutchins, the grandson of Lyman T. Johnson, and UK President Eli Capilouto held a panel discussion on the desegregation of UK and Lyman T. Johnson’s role in that effort.
- The Lyman T. Johnson Scholarship, which provides tuition support to minority students in perpetuity, was endowed.
The Great Teachers on Great Challenges Webinar Series won the Gold Award in the Alumni Engagement on a Shoestring category.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a unique opportunity to leverage the intellectual leadership of faculty at the state’s land-grant and flagship public research university by demystifying the pandemic and its effects locally, as well as globally.
In response, the Alumni Association partnered with the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching to host a series of interdisciplinary conversations led by past recipients of the Great Teacher Awards program, the oldest, continuously given award for teachers at the university. Session topics included:
• Economics in the Time of COVID-19 • Food in the Time of COVID-19 • Public Health in the Time of COVID-19 • College Sports and Campus Crises: A Legacy of Service and Adaptation • The Uses and Abuses of History During the COVID-19 Pandemic The five Zoom webinar sessions took place between in the summer of 2020, and were open to all UK alumni, donors, faculty, staff and students as a way to stay connected and informed during uncertain times. The series is set to resume in the summer of 2021 with new session topics.
The video, “Stronger than Ever,” won the Silver Award in the Video, General Information Short category. The video was shared in January 2020 to thank members for their dedication and share excitement for the coming year. The video shows familiar faces from campus and encourages members to reflect fondly on their time at UK. It also gave members an understanding of what their gift to the University of Kentucky supports and how they are furthering the mission of the institution.
The association won the Bronze Award in the Writing for the Web category for its series of stories on how the pandemic affected University of Kentucky alumni and students. The three stories were focused on how the university and alumni responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. The stories were published on the UK Alumni Association’s blog, News from the Blue, which can be found at www.ukalumniblog.com. One story covers the common bond between the Class of 1970 and the Class of 2020 at UK — both of their commencements were canceled for different reasons. The Class of 1970 Golden Wildcat (50 Year Reunion) Planning Committee wrote a letter to the Class of 2020 encouraging them to persevere during these hard times. The Golden Wildcat Planning Committee recorded the letter and shared it as a video with the Class of 2020. Also profiled were a 1970 alum and his granddaughter, a member of the Class of 2020, who shared a common bond 50 years apart. UK College of Pharmacy alumna Lynn Harrelson was also featured on the blog recounting her firsthand experience as a volunteer on Kentucky’s COVID-19 hotline.
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.