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Sullivan Award
Sullivan Medallion Photo
Frequently Asked Questions


1. Who is eligible for this Award?

The Award is given to a graduating male, a graduating female, and a citizen (non-student).

Eligibility to receive the 2017 award is limited to students who have graduated with a baccalaureate degree in August 2016, December 2016, or who will graduate in May 2017. The citizen must have some University connection as an employee, alumnus/alumna, or friend. The citizen does not have to be a UK graduate.

2. What kind of person receives the Award?

The guidelines state that "in the selection of the recipients nothing shall be considered except the possession of such characteristics of heart, mind, and conduct as evince a spirit of love for helpfulness to other men and women."  This is a humanitarian award meant to recognize those who have selflessly given to others or served others in some way.

Recipients have included the well-known philanthropist E. O. Robinson, Courier-Journal publisher and philanthropist Barry Bingham, Nobel laureate William Lipscomb, Jr., and Vice President of the United States Alben Barkley as well as those whose service was almost anonymous. Among the latter are Patrick Smith, who built homes for the poor on three continents; Earl Ogata, who devoted years to serving Lexington’s poor, alcoholic, and homeless, led Spanish and Japanese churches, and provides a home to international students through the International Fellowship Program; Elizabeth Rebmann, who worked tirelessly in Iraq and Afghanistan to improve the lives of people there; and Josh Nadzam, who volunteered extensively with the Catholic Action Center, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Ronald McDonald House, God’s Pantry, the Hope Center, and headed the campus “Soles for Soles” shoe drive. These individuals gave their time and energy to improve the lives of others.

3. How are the recipients recognized?

Recipients are recognized and given a Sullivan Medallion and a certificate signed by the President of the University. A narrative about each recipient’s accomplishments is read at the ceremony. Publicity about the recipients normally appears in the Kernel and in local newspapers.

This award is considered to be one of the University’s most prestigious.

4. How do I nominate someone?

Begin the nomination process by sending an email to Buck Ryan, chairman of the Sullivan Committee ( Nominations typically have supporting letters describing how the nominee meets the criteria set forth for the Award.

Updated March 20, 2017 by Webmaster