UK Happenings

UK Black Alumni Reunion to be held April 11-13

Photo from last year's UK Black Alumni Reunion. This year's reunion will be celebrated April 11-13.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 28, 2024) – The University of Kentucky Alumni Association, in collaboration with the Office for Institutional Diversity, the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the J. David Rosenberg College of Law, are proud to announce the second annual UK Black Alumni Reunion will be celebrated April 11-13, in Lexington, Kentucky. The weekend will be full of activities bringing together generations of alumni, fostering new connections and rekindling old friendships. 

Teveas Henry Burdette, a 1987 graduate from the Stanely and Karen Pigman College of Engineering, is a member of the Lyman T. Johnson Alumni Constituency Group. She attended the Black Alumni Reunion last spring and is looking forward to this year’s lineup of events. 

“When I graduated from the University of Kentucky 35 years ago, I had limited engagement with the university even though I live right here in Lexington,” said Henry. “I was invited to join the Lyman T. Johnson Alumni Constituency Group in 2023 and attended the first Black Alumni Reunion. I enjoyed meeting other Black alumni from all eras, and it was contagious to see the UK pride in those who attended. My love for UK is reignited!” 

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Lyman T. Johnson’s challenge to the status quo in his landmark court case which opened the University of Kentucky to Black students in 1949. Today, Johnson’s legacy continues in and around campus with a residence hall named in his honor, campuswide awards to honor accomplished alumni and students, a scholarship fund to open doors for students, and the UK Alumni Association’s Lyman T. Johnson Alumni Constituency Group. 

“At UK, we have a laser focus on building and strengthening the impact and legacy of our Black students and alumni,” said UK Vice President for Institutional Diversity Katrice Albert.  “And this year, we mark the 75th anniversary of Lyman T. Johnson’s integration of the university. We could not be more pleased with how our entire university community, and especially our students, continue to embody his legacy by developing strong bonds and a community of connection. Through the second annual Black Alumni Reunion, we can reinforce those ties that our students build with each other, our alumni and the university as we commemorate the past, celebrate the present and create the future.”  

Burdette says the Black Alumni Reunion is an important tradition and a step in the right direction for UK.

“As Lyman T. Johnson said, ‘We cannot let the wagon roll down the hill.’ It is important, as Black alumni from the University of Kentucky, that we collaboratively use our voices to keep that wagon moving up the hill and ensure all are celebrated at our alma mater.” 

A comprehensive schedule of all UK Black Alumni Reunion activities and registration information can be found at Space is limited for some of the events. Please register to guarantee your spot.  

Thursday, April 11, 2024 

Pioneers for Progress: Guest Panel with Moderator 

Hosted by J. David Rosenberg College of Law and the UK Alumni Association 

Noon-1:30 p.m.  

J. David Rosenberg College of Law | Room 297 | 620 S. Limestone 

The J. David Rosenberg College of Law will host an alumni panel where graduates will share their career journeys. The event, open to all alumni and current students, will include lunch. Register here. 

Pioneers for Progress: Welcome Reception and Guest Panel Discussion 

Hosted by J. David Rosenberg College of Law and the UK Alumni Association 

5-7:30 p.m.  

J. David Rosenberg College of Law | Grand Courtroom | 620 S. Limestone 

Join the J. David Rosenberg College of Law and UK Alumni Association for a social hour, featuring light hors d’oeuvres, followed by the unveiling of a gallery wall, showcasing the rich history of racial integration within the Rosenberg College of Law. Following this, engage in a panel discussion examining the pivotal court case of Lyman T. Johnson and its significance for UK, encompassing its impact on the past, present and future. Moderated by Judge Brian Edwards, the panel will feature insights from Dr. Ricky Jones, Dr. Derrick White and Judge Melissa Murphy. This event is open to all alumni and students. Register here. 

Friday, April 12, 2024 

Breakfast and Student Panel Discussion 

Hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences 

9-11 a.m.  

The Cornerstone | Innovation Lab | 400 S. Limestone 

Join us for a morning of insightful discussions and breakfast, proudly hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences and moderated by Sherelle Roberts, a UK Political Science Ph.D. candidate and the esteemed host of WTVQ’s” Let’s Talk Kentucky.” Hear from a panel of students as they share their perspectives on their time at UK. Registration here. 

Campus Activities or Lunch 

11 a.m.-1 p.m.  

Gatton Student Center | 160 Avenue of Champions 

The Martin Luther King Center, located on the second floor of the Gatton Student Center, will be open for tours. TEDxUKY will be held in the Grand Ballroom of the Gatton Student Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to the public. Attendees can also enjoy lunch at Champions Kitchen, browse the campus bookstore or participate in a self-guided campus tour.  

Lunch and Legacy: Celebrating Black Nursing Alumni Success 

Hosted by the College of Nursing, Office of Inclusive Excellence 

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.  

UK College of Nursing | Room 102 | 751 Rose St. 

Enjoy a relaxed lunch by connecting with nursing alumni, sharing stories and celebrating achievements. Alumni and current students from the College of Nursing are invited. Register here. 

Author Conversation and Book Signing with Crystal Wilkinson, Dorian Hairston and Priscilla McCutcheon 

1-3 p.m.  

The Cornerstone | Esports Theater | 400 S. Limestone 

Enjoy a conversation with three esteemed writers as they share their literary journeys and discuss their latest works. Books by the authors will be available for purchase and signing. This event is open to alumni and students. Register here. 

Emmett P. “Buzz” Burnam Inclusive Excellence and Expansion Impact Award Gala 

Recognizing the 2024 “Buzz” Award Recipient Cassandra Jean Johnson 

6-9 p.m.  

The Campbell House | The Barn Room | 1375 S. Broadway  

You’re invited to a prestigious evening celebrating diversity, inclusivity and impactful contributions. Join us as we honor Cassandra Jean Jones, the distinguished recipient of the 2024 Emmett P. “Buzz” Burnam Inclusive Excellence and Expansion Impact Award. Cassandra is a two-time graduate from the UK College of Social Work and has been a counselor at the University of Kentucky for more than 20 years. The gala will include a dinner and program, beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m. Following the program, enjoy musical entertainment by Honey Child and dancing. Register here. 

Saturday, April 13, 2024 

Campus Bus Tours with Jim Green

8:30-11 a.m.  

Tour departs and returns at Kroger Field | Blue Lot at Gate 11 | 1540 University Dr. 

Sit back and relax as you view the transformation of campus with UK track and field legend Jim Green. The tour will include visits to athletic facilities and many other colleges and buildings across campus. Register here. 

Blue-White Spring Game 

1 p.m.  

Kroger Field | 1540 University Dr.  

Kentucky Football will hold its Blue-White Spring Game, a showcase of the Wildcats’ spring practice. All standard seating will be open and general admission. 

Blue and White After Party 

8-11 p.m.  

The Campbell House | Bluegrass Ballroom | 1375 S. Broadway 

Conclude the weekend at this social event as you enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, local vendors, a cash bar and music from DJ Always. The cost is $10 for alumni and free for students when they use the codeStudent.” Register 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.