The College of Design held its Scholarship and Awards Dinner on Oct. 21, 2011. The College holds this annual event to celebrate the achievements of the scholarship recipients and to honor the donors who made the scholarships possible. Nearly a hundred students, alumni, faculty and friends attended the dinner at the Hilary J. Boone Center.
Lexington’s Mayor, Jim Gray, addressed the dinner with a talk about the role of design in adding value to a city. He also drew upon his personal experiences at Mayoral Institutes, his visit with New York city’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and shared his personal affinity to the College of Design.
Two individuals were honored at the dinner with the ‘Alumnus of the Year’ and ‘Friend of the College’ Awards.
Eileen Jones, a 1976 graduate of UK was presented with the Alumnus of the Year Award, presented annually to alumni who have demonstrated a willingness to give back and support the College of Design. Jones, a graduate of the UK School of Interior Design, is principal and national discipline leader at Perkins+Will Branded Environments, one of the largest architecture firms in the nation. In this role, Jones has led strategic research, community cultural interpretation, brand master planning and design development for clients.
Jones currently serves on the School of Interior Design Advisory Board and is playing a key role in the planning process for the school’s upcoming spring symposium. In the past, Jones has taught at the College of Design, hosted students in Chicago, and even participated in retreats with faculty to discuss the future of interior design.
"Simply put, Eileen has been a tremendous partner for the College of Design. Not only has she been extremely success in her profession, she has been more than willing to share her expertise with us here on campus," said Dean Michael Speaks. "The School of Interior Design is better due to her continued support and involvement."
Butch Branson was given the Friend of the College Award, presented annually to someone who has partnered with the college to bring recognition and success. Branson is the owner of Ohio Valley Marine Service in Henderson, Ky.
Over the past four years, Branson has forged a strong relationship with the college, directly supporting the River Cities Project in Henderson and the students who participated in the projects. A gracious host, Branson is a favorite among the College of Design students who frequent Henderson for study trips and reviews. Branson’s support and generosity helped spearhead the effort for the college’s recent acceptance in to the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) where student work will be displayed.
In addition, Branson is involved in the community of Henderson, serving as the chair of the Board for River City Renaissance, a nonprofit organization that is working to bring development opportunities to the city. Through the group's efforts, the main focus of the Henderson Project, a deactivated power plant on the river known as HMPL1, will be redeveloped in the near future.