UK's ODK Announces Maurice A. Clay Award Winners

collage of 12 students displaying their Maurice A. Clay awards.
University of Kentucky's ODK Maurice A. Clay Award winners. Photos courtesy of ODK.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 12, 2021) The University of Kentucky Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society established the Maurice A. Clay Awards over 30 years ago to recognize the outstanding graduating senior in each academic college at the University of Kentucky. Winners are selected by the college’s dean or a dean's representative and are expected to be exceptional leaders who have provided service to their college while maintaining a strong academic record.  

Omicron Delta Kappa recognizes superior scholarship, leadership and exemplary character. The Maurice A. Clay Awards are one way in which the ODK National Leadership Society can bestow on graduating seniors a “Mark of High Distinction.”

"Dr. Maurice A. Clay was an educator and professor at the University of Kentucky for more than 60 years," said C. Lynn Hiler, ODK Circle coordinator and program coordinator for UK's Chellgren Center. "He was the epitome of service leadership, while assuming little recognition for himself. We hope that each recipient will exemplify these characteristics in future endeavors."

The 2021 recipients are:

Emma Heimlich, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

Jillian Chamberlain, College of Arts and Sciences

Matthew Susemichel, Gatton College of Business and Economics

Trace Williams, College of Communication and Information

Daniel Langford, College of Design, School of Architecture

Haydon Gaines, College of Design, School of Interiors

Taylor E. Brown, College of Education

Rosemary Alden, College of Engineering

Jada Phillips, College of Health Sciences

Lily Silverstein, College of Nursing

Abbi Peck, College of Public Health

Mary Elizabeth Smith, College of Social Work

"Due to the limitations on in-person gatherings, a ceremony was not held this year, but we celebrate this awesome group of students nonetheless," Hiler said. "Please tune into the Chellgren Center social media to help celebrate these outstanding students even more by sharing our ODK – MAC posts."

Omicron Delta Kappa is supported on campus by the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence within the Office of the Provost. For more information on membership, contact

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.