Campus News

Race Relations Scholar George C. Wright to Receive UK Libraries Intellectual Achievement Medallion

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 15:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 12, 2015) — Tonight the University of Kentucky Libraries Spring Gala will recognize the 2015 recipient of the UK Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement, George C. Wright. The Lexington native, UK alumnus and president of Prairie View A&M University is an esteemed historian and scholar of African-American studies.


"Dr. Wright is an accomplished scholar, an award winning teacher, and a highly recognized higher education administrator. His life and career have made a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of students and have given us a greater understanding of race relations both in the United States and around the world,” Dean of UK Libraries Terry Birdwhistell said.


The UK Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement is one of UK's most prestigious awards. It was created in 1990 to recognize high intellectual achievement by a Kentuckian who has made a contribution of lasting value to the Commonwealth. The award also promotes education and creative thought. The recipient is determined by the UK Libraries National Advisory Board. Past recipients of the honor include: John Anthony, Wendell Berry, James Still, Bobbie Ann Mason, Thomas D. Clark, Laman A. Gray Jr., Guy Davenport, George C. Herring, Adalin Wichman, John Egerton and Karl Raitz.


As president of Prairie View A&M, Wright leads the second-oldest public institution of higher education in Texas. Offering baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees through nine colleges and schools, the 130-year old historically black university has an established reputation for producing thousands of engineers, nurses and educators.


A native of Lexington, Wright received his bachelor's and master's degrees in history from UK and his doctorate in history from Duke University. In 2004, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from UK.


Wright's teaching experience began as an assistant professor of history at UK in 1977. From 1980 to 1993, he served the University of Texas at Austin in several capacities as a faculty member, holder of the Mastin Gentry White Professorship of Southern History, and vice provost for undergraduate education. In 1993, he joined the faculty at Duke University as vice provost for university programs and director of the Afro-American studies program; he also held the William R. Kenan Jr. Chair in American History. Prior to joining Prairie View A&M, Wright was executive vice-president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Texas at Arlington.


As an educator, Wright has been the recipient of numerous fellowships, grants and awards. At the University of Texas at Austin, he received the Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence, the “Eyes of Texas” Award for excellence in service and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Award for “Outstanding Black Faculty Member.” He was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellowship at Harvard University and was the Friar Society Centennial Fellow for Teaching Excellence, the Silver Spurs Centennial Teaching Fellow and the Lillian and Tom B. Rhodes Centennial Teaching Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.


Wright is the author of three books on race relations, "A History of Blacks in Kentucky: In Pursuit of Equality, 1890-1980, Volume II"; "Racial Violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940: Lynchings, Mob Rule, and 'Legal Lynchings'"; and the "Life Behind a Veil: Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky, 1865-1930." He has also published many scholarly articles, chapters in books and essays. Wright is currently working on a new book, a biography titled "Charles O’Hara Benjamin: A 'Forgotten' Afro-American Leader," on a Kentucky journalist, attorney, teacher and political activist who fought for racial equality.


Wright has served as a member of the Editorial Board for the Southern Biography Series at Louisiana State University, the Board of Editors of the Journal of Southern History and the Southern Historical Association Program Committee.



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;


UK Art Museum Opens Three New Exhibits, Announces Free Admission

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 15:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 11, 2015) — As the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky opens three new exhibitions, "Chester Cornett: Beyond the Narrow Sky," "Vivian Maier: On the Street" and "Other Streets: Photographs from the Collection," arts patrons will also find a new admission policy. Thanks to the generosity of several anonymous donors, the Art Museum at UK is becoming a free admission institution.


While donations are encouraged, there will be no required fee to view the temporary exhibitions and permanent collection at the Art Museum at UK beginning with the three new exhibitions that opened May 9.


Art Museum at UK Director Stuart Horodner made the policy decision in consultation with several College of Fine Arts and UK colleagues. “In recent years, several major U.S. museums have gone in this direction and have seen their audiences diversify, memberships increase, and civic pride expand. We want to remove all obstacles that might prohibit art lovers from enjoying the range of historical and contemporary works we offer.”


As the museum moves to its new free admission policy, membership levels and benefits have been restructured to encourage even more engagement with the campus and community. For more information on membership, contact Lyndi Vandeursen at 859-257-8164 or


A King of Chairs

"Chester Cornett: Beyond the Narrow Sky" is a collection of extraordinary chairs and rockers, made by an Appalachian artisan and visionary artist who pushed the form of a functional object into more sculptural conceits. Cornett (1913-1981) was raised in both financial and emotional poverty in Letcher and Harlan Counties. He achieved only a fourth-grade education and learned the craft of furniture-making from his uncle.


Cornett weathered personal traumas of childhood and service in World War II by developing an obsession with innovative chair design. He created such forms as “two-in-one” chairs with wide seats and four rockers, and would carve wood in decorative themes tailored to the patron who commissioned it.


In 1965, Cornett received a flurry of attention when writer Gurney Norman published an article titled "Rare Hand-Made Furniture Produced by Bearded Chairmaker." Other stories and essays followed including "The Tyranny of Charity" by Wendell Berry.


In 1973, Cornett made an elaborately carved rocker for U.S. President Richard Nixon, which he was able to present to him. The rocker remains in the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.


"Chester Cornett: Beyond the Narrow Sky" illuminates the life and work of a complex man who aspired to be “king of the chairmakers.” The museum gives special thanks to Matt Collinsworth, director of the Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead, Kentucky, and Adrian Swain, former artistic director, who organized this exhibition.



The Nanny Behind the Lens

"Vivian Maier: On the Street" is an exhibition of 30 photographs by a woman whose talents were discovered only after her death. When a Chicago realtor named John Maloof purchased an unclaimed box from a storage unit containing 100,000 of her negatives in 2007, he had no idea of the story that would unfold.


After Maloof posted some of her work online, Vivien Maier (1926-2009) became an art world darling, discussed as part of the tradition of street photographers including Robert Frank, Helen Levitt and Garry Winogrand. Like them, she demonstrates a keen sense of timing, an eye for the nuance of gesture, and an ability to catch dramas, large and small, unfolding on city streets.


Lovers, antagonists, the strange intimacy of public transport, and the lives of children are all seen in Maier's tightly composed photographs. Her own face and body appear in numerous self-portraits, reflected in mirrors and windows, but also as a shadow, an eternal observer, seeing but unseen.


Maier worked for most of her life as a nanny in New York and Chicago where she roamed the streets with a camera and her young charges in hand. The job provided her the freedom to obsessively record the life around her. Maier was so secretive, that she used aliases when having her film developed; and the families with whom she lived had little idea of the seriousness of her work or the facts of her life.


In recent years, Maier has been the subject of numerous articles, exhibitions, books and a documentary film, "Finding Vivian Maier." The unearthing of her work and its subsequent reception raises questions about the expanded canon of art history and the possibilities of other unknown artists of consequence.


Art Hits the Streets

"Other Streets: Photographs from the Collection" examines American street photography between the 1950s and early 1980s which combined the observational skills of documentary work with the tightly composed aesthetic of modernism to create images that captured the look and feel of the times. Organized to help contextualize the photographs by Vivien Maier, this exhibition includes images by Van Deren Coke, Bruce Davidson, J.J. Jaffee, Robert C. May and Ralph Eugene Meatyard, among others. Some created single, iconic photos, while others spent months or years on specific projects.


Coke and Meatyard, who were both members of the Lexington Camera Club, set out in the 1950s to photograph the predominantly African American neighborhood of Georgetown Street. Meatyard carefully distinguished the kind of images they were making from documentary photography which traditionally focused on disadvantaged populations. "We have only one story to tell, and it is that these people are like you and me."


The Art Museum at UK is located in the Singletary Center for the Arts at Rose Street and Euclid Avenue. The hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Friday.


The mission of the Art Museum at UK, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. Home to a collection of more than 4,500 objects including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the Art Museum at UK presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from its permanent collection. 



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;

Moecher Named Earth and Environmental Sciences Endowed Alumni Professor

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 13:56

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 11, 2015) — Dave Moecher, professor and chair of the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has been named the Earth and Environmental Sciences Endowed Alumni Professor.


The Earth and Environmental Sciences Endowed Alumni Professorship is awarded to a tenured full professor who has made outstanding contributions to research and education in the field of earth and environmental sciences. The establishment of the professorship was driven completely by alumni; namely Ken Neavel, William Foley, Steve Sullivan and Jim Pear.  


"It is a profound honor to be awarded the Earth and Environmental Sciences Alumni Professorship because I have a high regard for and appreciation of the geology alumni who helped establish the professorship, and the other alumni who have helped sustain it," Moecher said. "This award reflects their commitment to building the reputation of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.” 


Moecher, who joined UK faculty in 1991, conducts research in the fields of tectonics, igneous and metamorphic petrology, geochronology, and structural geology. He was recently awarded a $155,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to understand how the Earth's crust produces magma, specifically, how unusually hot granites were formed 1 billion years ago.


In addition to the grant focused on “hot granites” that will support the research of two new graduate students, Moecher has an active NSF grant on Appalachian tectonics that supports a post-doctoral researcher, two graduate students and two high school students, and a prior grant also related to the “hot granite” topic.


Moecher teaches igneous and metamorphic petrology and often leads regional field trips to New England, Canada and the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.


"Besides research and teaching, I have a keen interest in undergraduate education and alumni relations," Moecher said.


He was recently honored with the 2015 Terry B. Mobley Development Service Award from the UK Development office, which recognizes success by UK faculty and staff in alumni development and service. Moecher has also received the 2013 Ken Freedman Outstanding Advisor Award for UK faculty and the 2013 National Association of Academic Advisors (NACADA) Region III Outstanding Academic Advisor for Kentucky. 




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

UK Board Names Residence Hall for Lyman T. Johnson

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 12:31

 LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today approved the renaming of Central I residence hall in honor of Lyman T. Johnson, the late civil rights pioneer who in 1949 became the first African American to be admitted to UK as a student. The hall, built as part of the ongoing transformation of campus facilities, opened in Aug. 2013.


UK President Eli Capilouto praised the board action.


“Over the last several years our campus has focused intently on rebuilding our residential, academic, research, and health care spaces. We have undertaken this priority to build community on our campus,” Capilouto said. “But community isn’t fostered by bricks and mortar alone, it is nurtured in the stories and people who define this place. Today, because of the actions taken by our Board of Trustees, we bring greater light to one of those stories, one of those people who define this place. The new Lyman T. Johnson Hall will be both a home to countless students of myriad backgrounds and beliefs, and stand as a physical representation of an individual’s actions that forever altered the trajectory of this institution and the way we serve others.”


Rev. C.B. Akins Sr., a member of the UK Board of Trustees, thanked his fellow members and the adminstration for taking this step, "The struggle that Lyman T. Johnson went through to initiate the integration of this university is worthy of memorializing. I applaud President Capilouto and the members of this board for taking this very significant action. Others who come to UK will now have this important reminder of Mr. Johnson's legacy located in the center of campus."


Frank X Walker, UK English professor and former Kentucky poet laureate, expressed his appreciation for the board approval. "As an alum and longtime employee, I'm extra proud to be part of an institution that recognizes how Lyman T's contributions and legacy enriches us all," Walker said.


“Lyman T. Johnson deserves this recognition for his courage and willingness to challenge the blatant racism of the time," said Kahlil Baker, director of the UK Martin Luther King Center. "His challenging of the status quo is what opened the door for myself and many others to enter and move about this campus.”


Thanks to Johnson's successful suit in Federal District Court, African Americans were admitted to graduate and professional programs at UK beginning with the summer session of 1949. African Americans were admitted to the undergraduate program beginning in 1954, when the U.S. Supreme Court settled the constitutional question for Kentucky and the nation in regard to separate education for blacks and whites in Brown v. Board of Education.


A Tennessee native, Johnson, the grandson of former slaves, earned his high school diploma from the preparatory division of Knoxville College. After receiving a bachelor's degree in Greek from Virginia Union University, Johnson attained a master's degree in history from the University of Michigan. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Johnson served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and during the latter part of his tour of duty, helped run a school at the Great Lakes Naval Base, which enabled young and often illiterate sailors to obtain an educational foundation.


Johnson taught history, economics, and mathematics at Louisville Central High School for more than 30 years before becoming an administrator at two different schools in the Jefferson County Public Schools system, then spent three years in an administrative capacity at a Catholic high school. He also served as a member of the Jefferson County Board of Education for four years.


In 1979, Johnson received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from UK.


Widely known as an eloquent speaker, Johnson not only opened the doors to education for thousands of minority students, he also led struggles to integrate neighborhoods, swimming pools, restaurants and other facilities. Johnson headed the Louisville chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for six years.


Lyman T. Johnson died in Louisville in 1997 at the age of 91.


The request to rename the residence hall was submitted by the Lyman T. Johnson African American Alumni group and was recommended by the Advisory Committee on Naming University Property.

Kentucky Hospital Association Honors Eastern State Hospital With 2015 Quality Award

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 12:22

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015) — The Kentucky Hospital Association presented a 2015 Quality Award to Eastern State Hospital on Friday during a special awards presentation by Board Chair Dennis Johnson held as part of the Kentucky Hospital Association Annual Conference in Lexington.


The Quality Awards are presented in six categories with Eastern State honored in Psychiatric Care.  Other categories include Critical Access Hospital; Under 100 Beds; 100 to 250 Beds; Greater than 250 Beds; and Post-Acute Care.


Eastern State Hospital, managed and operated by UK HealthCare through an agreement with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), opened its new facility in September 2013 and provides recovery-focused, individualized care in a supportive environment that features the latest in mental health treatment. The facility provides an extensive range of inpatient mental health services to adults living within the 50 counties surrounding and including Fayette County.


“We are honored to receive the 2015 KHA Quality Award that recognizes our clinical teams’ hard work to improve the quality of care we provide to some of our state’s most vulnerable patients,” said John Phillips, chief administrative officer, Eastern State Hospital. “Our focus on trauma-informed care and new clinical processes has enhanced our patient-centered care philosophy.”    


The award honors hospital leadership and innovation in quality, safety, and commitment in patient care. According to KHA, the goals of this award are to:

  • Raise awareness of the need for an organization-wide commitment to highly reliable, exceptional quality, patient-centered care
  • Reward successful efforts to develop and promote improvements in quality of care
  • Inspire organizations to systematically integrate and align their quality improvement efforts throughout the organization
  • Communicate successful programs and strategies to the hospital field
  • Facilitate Kentucky hospitals’ alignment of quality initiatives with national initiatives


According to the hospital’s award submission, Eastern State Hospital has developed and adopted the definition of quality as "a lifestyle as well as an ongoing commitment to provide optimal care to our patients. Quality is accomplished by empowering staff, focusing on evidence­based practice, and striving for continuous regeneration of exemplary treatment.” 


Administrative leadership has empowered managers to encourage autonomy in their staff, and to evaluate, treat and educate patients using best practice and evidence-based standards.


One of the hospital’s most significant accomplishments has been to reduce the number of restrictive interventions by focusing on trauma-informed care and changing the culture. That culture change has included emphasizing nonviolent de-escalation techniques; individualizing emergency medication protocols; and expanding use of behavioral supports. Since implementing such measures, restrictive interventions have dropped 85 percent, and employee safety has improved.




MEDIA CONTACT:  Vikki Franklin,


Trustees Consider Changes to Code of Student Conduct

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 12:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees Friday planned to discuss changes being proposed in UK's code of student conduct as part of a comprehensive effort to continue investing in ‒ and improving ‒ the campus safety environment.


The board will formally consider the proposed changes during its June meeting.


These vital issues have been part of a comprehensive and exhaustive review by a safety task force, formed by UK President Eli Capilouto, and charged with making recommendations regarding student health and safety and strengthening neighborhood relationships.


The broad-based task force ‒ which included faculty, students and staff along with representatives from local government, neighborhoods and other institutions ‒ can be found at:


“Safety is integral to a productive campus where students, faculty and staff can live, learn, discover and serve together,” Capilouto said. “For more than a year, campus and community workgroup members have been tireless in their effort to produce a comprehensive document and set of principles and policies that will ensure our campus is a welcome and safe place to prosper.


"Their product is more than an alcohol policy or a collection of rules, it is another component in our multi-faceted approach to position UK as a thriving residential research university that supports its campus family and surrounding community.”


In recent years, for example, UK has invested some $5 million in additional safety efforts, including more safety officers and counselors, lighting, cameras and other technology.


In its work, the task force reviewed national best practices, such as the National Student Code of Conduct; researched other universities’ policies and procedures; and consulted with national leaders. It also consulted and briefed several campus and community groups, including the UK Alumni Association, the board’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee, the Dean’s Council, Lexington Urban County Council, neighborhood associations, UK Student Government Association, and several other community and campus groups.


Key recommendations with respect to the university's Code of Student Conduct as well as incidents of sexual misconduct and UK's alcohol policy include:


·        The code should reflect language similar to the National Student Code of Conduct.



·        Code of Student Conduct

o   Extension of all code regulations to any on- or off-campus location, is effective immediately after a student registers for classes and extends to any location and any time frame, including periods when classes are not in session, until a registered student graduates or transfers.


·         Sexual Misconduct

o   In its examination of new regulations and recommendations from the U.S. Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Education, the task force recommended adjusted policies and procedures regarding reporting, interim suspensions, formal hearing procedures, recommended sanctions based on specifics of the violations, and the appeals process.


·        Alcohol Policy

o   With an objective to promote legal and responsible behavior, the university will allow the legal consumption of alcohol at specific locations and at specific times.

o   Alcohol is not allowed in residence halls under any circumstances

o   Events where alcohol is served must:

§  Pre-register the event through the Office of Event Planning

§  Provide qualified security and verification of identification

§  In addition to compliance with other relevant regulations, Greek organizations must also co-sponsor all such events with alumni


“I have appreciated the opportunity to provide student feedback throughout the development of these important policies over the past year,” said outgoing Student Body President Jacob Ingram. “While these policies will continue to be refined to meet the changing needs of campus, I am confident this is a step forward in making our campus a safer, better place.”


“The Student Health and Safety Task Force worked diligently to create a comprehensive approach on the issues that our students currently face on and off campus,” said Robert Mock, chair of the task force and vice president for student affairs. “The proposed policies are designed to improve the safety of our students and the community.”


MEDIA CONTACT: Jay Blanton, 859-257-6605, or Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302, 



Complex Drive to be Closed May 11-29

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 11:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 11, 2015)  Complex Drive will be closed from University Drive to Sports Center Drive from Monday, May 11 through Friday, May 29. The closure is due to water line work in the area; a portion of Complex Drive, from University Drive to the Johnson Center Loop, will be under construction. Anyone traveling from University Drive to Sports Center Drive should use Cooper Drive.


Parking on Complex Drive, the Johnson Center Loop and in the Complex service areas is prohibited for the duration of the construction project.


Only emergency traffic will be allowed access to the open portion of Complex Drive during this time. The open portion of Complex Drive will be changed to two-way traffic with a turn-around using the Johnson Center Loop. Emergency vehicles will enter and exit the open portion of Complex Drive from Sports Center Drive.


The CATS Summer/Break Route will not be affected by this road closure.

Anyone who normally travels in the vicinity should allow extra travel time. Drivers and pedestrians are encouraged to use caution as they navigate the area.

The project is expected to conclude by Friday, May 29, but as with all construction, the work is weather-dependent and timetables are subject to change.



MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton and Blair Hoover, (859) 323-2395;,

Stadium South Red Lot and West Blue Lot to Temporarily Close May 11

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 09:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015) — As part of the Commonwealth Stadium renovation and expansion project, the Stadium South Red Lot and Stadium West Blue Lot will temporarily close on Monday, May 11. This closure is necessary to accommodate resurfacing, repairs and the installation of islands in the parking lots. The parking lots are scheduled to reopen in August prior to the start of fall semester.



The CATS Summer/Break Route will be modified during this project; instead of the Red Lot stop, the bus will stop at two locations on University Drive. For the most up-to-date information, riders can view the actual location of all CATS buses on all routes by using Cat Tracker, a real-time GPS-based bus locating system at Riders may also track the buses via the free TransLoc iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps, by using their smartphone to scan the QR codes found on each bus stop sign or by using the SMS codes found at each bus stop.


UK students should feel minimal impact from this temporary closure, as May 11 also begins summer parking control. While all lots will remain on control, permit holders will experience more flexibility in student parking areas. For more information on summer parking, visit the Summer Break parking page. To view a map of available summer parking, visit


BCTC students and employees will still have access to parking in the North Red Lot and the Green Lot; however, the connector road between the two roads is expected to be closed. Access between the parking lots will be via Cooper Drive.

President Eli Capilouto is Guest on WUKY's 'UK Perspectives'

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 08:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  This week WUKY News Director Alan Lytle is guest host, and he talks to UK President Eli Capilouto about the end of the academic year, graduation ceremonies taking place Saturday and the continued transformation of campus. 


To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit


"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.

UK Board Approves Four University Research Professorships

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 18:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today approved University Research Professorships for 2015-16 for four faculty members. The professorships carry a $40,000 award to support research. Funds for these annual awards are provided by the Office of the Vice President for Research.


Now in its 39th year, the University Research Professors program's purpose is to enhance and encourage scholarly research productivity, to provide an opportunity for concentrated research effort for selected faculty members, and to recognize outstanding research achievement by members of the faculty.


The 2015-16 University Research Professors are:


Lance E. De Long, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, has had a long and uninterrupted record of high quality research in the area of condensed matter physics. He was honored as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2006 for his contributions to the understanding of magnetic properties and interactions in superconducting and strongly correlated metallic crystals and films.


He has recently turned his attention to the physics of quasicrystals and thin-film metamaterials. Quasicrystals, which are nearly absent in nature and difficult to grow in a laboratory, exhibit unique physical properties that have multiple potential applications. De Long's pioneering work in this area has led to advances that allow the creation of "artificial quasicrystals" which have complex physical properties that can be systematically controlled. De Long's work was featured on the cover of the Aug. 2013 issue of Physical Review Letters, the most prestigious physics journal in the world.


De Long plans to continue his investigations in the physical properties of thin-film quasicrystals that hold the promise of answering fundamental questions in physics. The insights gained will find applications in a wide range of science and will pave the way to future technological applications.


De Long came to UK as an assistant professor in 1979 and was promoted to full professor of physics in 2001. 


Rebecca Dutch, a professor in the UK Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, has established an international reputation in her area for understanding fundamental molecular mechanisms of emerging RNA viruses. Her research focuses on viruses which represent a critical threat to world health, as seen by the recent epidemics caused by Ebola, SARS and MERS virus. 


Dutch has made fundamental discoveries on the mechanism of infection for the Hendra and Nipah viruses, which are biosafety level-4 zoonotic pathogens with high mortality rates in humans. Her lab identified a critical host protein in viral infection and discovered a previously unknown mechanism for viral entry. This work provides an important new target for antiviral therapeutics.


In addition to mentoring undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students, Dutch has led studies of a recently discovered human respiratory virus that significantly impacts the very young and the elderly worldwide. With this award, she will continue studies of this virus, the human metapneumovirus (HMPV), to address important questions about the nature of viral infections, which are likely to impact our understanding of numerous human respiratory pathogens.


Dutch joined the UK Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry in 2000.  She has been a full professor of biochemistry since 2001 and associate dean for biomedical education in the College of Medicine since 2013.


Suzanne Segerstrom, a professor in the UK Department of Psychology, has built an internationally recognized research program focusing on self-regulatory processes. Her work addresses many aspects of self-regulation, including the personality processes associated with self-regulation, the resources that contribute to and follow from self-regulation, and psychological and physiological consequences of self-regulation.


Her more recent work on how self-regulation affects psychological and physical health in older adults was recognized with an Individual National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Aging. In addition to this honor, she was made a fellow of three professional societies, has served as the associate editor of three major journals and as a consulting editor on seven additional journals, and was appointed senior editor for Oxford Research Reviews for 2012-2015.


The research that Segerstrom will conduct with this award follows from the finding that conscientiousness is a robust predictor of resistance to cognitive decline. She will use brain-imaging procedures to test three hypotheses that may explain this connection and influence both behavioral and neuroscience research on cognitive aging.


Segerstrom joined the UK psychology department in 1997 and was promoted to full professor in 2007.


Dong-Sheng Yang, a professor in the UK Department of Chemistry, is an international leader in the study of catalytic chemistry using a technique called zero electron kinetic energy (ZEKE) spectroscopy. This is a form of high-resolution photoelectron spectroscopy that is ideally suited to the study of fundamental metal-ligand interactions. He is one of a very few practitioners of this technically demanding science and the only one in the world applying it to organometallic complexes.


Before coming to UK, Yang constructed the finest instrument in the world for ZEKE spectroscopy that UK purchased from the Canadian government when Yang came to UK in 1998. He has continued to improve it to the point that it is orders of magnitude better than any other instrument available commercially.


With this award, Yang and the students he mentors will use laser techniques to study carbon-hydrogen and carbon-carbon bond activation by transition metals. This is a very important area of research because the insertion of metals into such bonds is the fundamental catalytic chemistry that drives most industrial processes for converting crude oil into useful organic chemicals. These chemicals are crucial building blocks for the plastics and manufacturing industries.  He and his group are establishing the primary data that will be used to understand metal-hydrocarbon interactions in real-world industrial processes.


Yang was a research associate for the National Research Council of Canada before coming to UK in 1998 as an assistant professor.  He was promoted to full professor in the Department of Chemistry in 2007.


About UK Research Professorships
The purpose of the University Research Professorships is to enhance and encourage scholarly research productivity, provide an opportunity for concentrated research effort for selected faculty members, recognize outstanding research achievement by members of its faculty, emphasize its research function, and to publicize its research accomplishments in order that the research function of the university be appropriately recognized and understood.



MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343;



Celebrating the Class of 2015

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 16:45

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015) — On Saturday, May 9, thousands will fill Rupp Arena to celebrate the University of Kentucky Class of 2015.


The May 2015 Commencement Ceremonies will recognize the accomplishments of undergraduate, graduate and professional students who will have completed their degrees by the end of the spring 2015 semester. Graduate and professional degrees will be conferred at 9 a.m.; and undergraduate degrees will be conferred at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.  All ceremonies will be streamed live on UKNow


Saturday's ceremonies include:

More than 2,500 undergraduates and over 500 graduate and professional students are expected to participate in Saturday's ceremonies; overall, approximately 2,961 undergraduate, 1,089 graduate and 448 professional degree candidates have been submitted to the UK Board of Trustees for approval. 


The May 2015 graduates, as well as December 2015 graduates, will also receive unique diplomas that honor the university's sesquicentennial. All diplomas will bear a seal commemorating 150 years of UK's dedication to research, education and service. 


While all graduates are celebrated for their tremendous achievements, many have particularly interesting stories to share about their lives and time at UK.


Alex Maina, who is graduating with a bachelor's degree in geography, is a native of Kenya who came to the U.S. at age 12 to find a better life. He was adopted by his parents in Nicholasville, Kentucky, and has not seen his birth parents since he left his homeland. Now, his graduation will bring both his Kenyan parents and his Kentucky parents together for the first time. Maina’s biological sisters and their families will also join the graduate’s biological and adoptive parents in Lexington to celebrate his achievement.


William Hawks, who is graduating from the College of Dentistry, first came to UK many years ago, but had to leave during his freshman semester to serve his country in Afghanistan. He later came back to earn two undergraduate degrees in biology and agricultural biotechnology. After graduation, Hawks plans to continue serving his country after being commissioned as a captain in the U.S. Army Dental Corps in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.


Sarah Haynes, who will graduate with a bachelor's degree in health science with minors in theatre and psychology, credits Kentucky's first fine arts extension program with where she is today. Haynes grew up in a rural section of Pike County, where her opportunities to experience the arts were constrained in the early part of her childhood. But that all changed around her 10th birthday when Pike County became the home of the Commonwealth’s first arts extension program through the UK Cooperative Extension Service and the UK Colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environment and Fine Arts. Haynes became actively involved in the newly established Artists Collaborative Theatre and excelled in school, graduating as valedictorian in 2011 before arriving at the University of Kentucky later that fall.


"I believe that without the influence of this incredible theatre I may have never discovered my true potential, talents, or unique skill set," said Haynes. "I held tight to the drive for success that had been instilled in me. I knew I was capable of anything I set my mind to do. Participating taught me leadership, adaptation, and diligence.


Read more interesting stories about UK's May 2015 graduates.


Student Speakers

UK President Eli Capilouto will deliver remarks at all three ceremonies, and a student will also address the audience at each of the undergraduate ceremonies, as per UK tradition.

  • Brooke Nemec, from Glen Arm, Maryland, is graduating with a degree in agricultural biotechnology from the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Nemec works as a student lab assistant and undergraduate researcher at the Gluck Equine Research Center. She will deliver the Commencement address at the 1 p.m. ceremony.  
  • Ryan Mosley, from Emmalena, Kentucky in Knott County, is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a degree in both history and sociology from the UK College of Arts and Sciences. Mosley is program director for WRFL 88.1 FM, the university's student-run radio station. He will give the Commencement address at the 6 p.m. ceremony. 

Honorary Degrees

The University of Kentucky will also award honorary doctorates at the 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ceremonies.


Kentucky Music Hall of Fame member Leslie Coleman "Les" McCann, a celebrated jazz pianist and vocalist widely known as the "Father of Soul Jazz," will receive an honorary Doctor of Arts at the 9 a.m. ceremony.


O. Leonard "Len" Press, the founding director of Kentucky Educational Television, and his wife Lillian Henken Press, a mental health, education and women's advocate who also served as first director of Kentucky's Governor's Scholars Program, will receive honorary doctorates at the 6 p.m. undergraduate ceremony. 


Read more about the May 2015 UK Honorary Degree recipients. 



All three ceremonies will be streamed live at, the university’s news website. Full video of each ceremony will be available within two weeks after Commencement on the university’s YouTube channel,


Followers of UK’s Twitter account ( can follow along with the Commencement activities via live tweets prior to and during the event. Social media users are encouraged to use the hashtag #ukgrad to honor all the graduates.



MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343;


Managing Your Child’s Tech Time

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 16:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 12, 2015) -- May is Better Hearing and Speech Month – a good time to look at how children learn speech and language. Frequent conversations with children in their early years are the best way to set them on the road to language learning and academic success. Studies have demonstrated a link between the number of words a child hears and later academic achievement.


While they should spend quality time listening, talking, playing and reading with their parents, our children are instead spending time with technology. According to a poll recently released by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the average child age 8 and under uses more than three different personal tech devices, including tablets, video game consoles, and smart phones. Even children as young as 2 are now “connected” via technology.


Since technology cannot substitute for face-to-face communication, children who spend their time preoccupied with solitary devices lose out on language learning opportunities. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has made several suggestions on how to manage your child’s technology use to keep communication at the forefront:


·      Create tech-free times. Find opportunities for everyone to disconnect and talk.

·      Don’t over-rely on technology for entertainment. Everyday activities like errands provide great opportunities for conversation and learning for young children. Resist the urge to rely on devices.

·      Don't overestimate the value of educational apps. Children learn best simply through talking, conversing, and reading. Technology cannot replace these activities.

·      Make tech use a group activity. Do things together with the device and talk about what you’re doing.

·      Consider whether young kids really need their own devices, which lead to more time spent alone with technology.

·      Set and enforce daily limits on "tech time."

·      Teach safe listening, especially when using ear buds or headphones. Teach kids to keep the volume down (a good guide is half volume) and take listening breaks to avoid noise-induced hearing loss.

·      Model good tech habits. Practice what you preach when it comes to tech time and safe-listening habits. 

·      Learn to recognize the signs of communication disorders. This is important for all parents, regardless of their children’s technology use. Early treatment can prevent or reverse many communication disorders. Parents should not wait to see if a child “outgrows” a suspected speech or hearing problem. If you have concerns, seek an assessment from a speech-language pathologist or audiologist. Learn more at


Judith L. Page, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences


This column appeared in the May 10, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Former Navy SEAL Finds a Challenge in Adventure Writing

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 16:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015) — “We thought we’d do one more run,” said Cory Zigmund about a trip he took to Colorado to visit his brother during the summer of 2013. They were on a backcountry glacier and planned to hike to the top and snowboard down. On the ride down, Zigmund hit a ditch on the rough slope and wiped out, completely dislocating his shoulder. As a trained U.S. Navy SEAL medic, Zigmund knew how to fix it, but his brother had to do it. Step-by-step, he walked his brother through the processes of popping his bone back into joint so they could complete the run.


Zigmund has filled his life with adventures — most of which have not required impromptu medical assistance on the face of a glacier. But even the especially challenging ones haven’t discouraged him from taking advantage of an opportunity to explore something new.


Hiking, climbing, snowboarding and diving through both water and the sky — he’s explored a lot of terrain. This spring, Zigmund gets to blaze a new trail by being the first student graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from UK’s new Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies (WRD).


After spending eight and a half years with the SEALs, Zigmund returned to his home state of Kentucky and enrolled at UK as an English major, and just two semesters before graduating he added a second major in WRD — still managing to graduate in four and a half years.


Zigmund thinks that the two programs complemented each other.


"WRD went right along with what I was doing in English and the things I would like to do in the future, which include writing about my experiences exploring both the more accessible outdoors and remote wildernesses,” Zigmund said.


English had been one of Zigmund’s favorite subjects in high school, and writing had always been a part of his life. In fact, during middle school, just for fun he and his father wrote a book together. It was a story where kids traveled to a new dimension, having fantastic adventures that Zigmund has come close to experiencing in real life.


When Zigmund was a senior at Henry Clay High School, he spearheaded the creation of a semester-long creative writing class. The class was a success and Zigmund continued to meet with the teacher after the term was over, through an independent study, discussing style and writing. His teacher urged him to consider doing something with writing instead of going into the military as he had planned.


His teacher’s words stuck with him over the years he served, and when he was ready for the next adventure, he knew what path to follow — equipped with years of unique experiences that would filter into his writing.


Throughout his time majoring in English at UK, Zigmund took several WRD classes including Travel Writing and Multimedia Writing, and when he heard that WRD was offering a major, he sought information about what he would have to do to graduate as a double major. He spoke with WRD faculty Beth Connors-Manke and Brian McNely and learned he only needed 24 additional credits. Not one to turn down an opportunity to try a new adventure, Zigmund went for it.


“Everyone in the WRD program has been phenomenal. They’ve been extremely helpful. Any questions I’ve had have been quickly answered. They’ve been outstanding,” Zigmund said.


And the praise goes both ways. McNely shared that “working with Cory was one of the best things that could have happened to me as director of undergraduate studies. Helping him navigate a path to the degree helped me navigate the WRD curriculum, and to learn the administrative ins and outs of my new role in the department. Professors often note that they learn much from their students; this was definitely the case for me as I worked with Cory over the last year, in both my role as a faculty advisor, and as a professor.”


According to Joshua Abboud, Zigmund “represents the kind of student we look for as WRD majors.” Having worked with Zigmund in multiple classes, Abboud considers his student to be “bright, curious, hard-working and possessing a self-awareness of how his work impacts the world around him. All of Cory’s work has shown an ability to connect his professional interests to his personal interests in innovative ways.”


Both Abboud and McNely note Zigmund’s ability to integrate his love for travel and exploration with his skills in writing and media. It was in their classes that Zigmund began developing a website, bringing his two passions together. It’s an outdoor adventure website — part guidebook, part survival manual, part trail map — that he’s compiled from his own experiences and written for people of all skill levels. He hopes to continue building it by collaborating with some of his friends who share the same interests.


Abboud has seen the progress of this project and explained that Zigmund wants to help “others find the same kinds of excitement he derives from these excursions, and he makes that excitement contagious.”


Zigmund shared his belief that “you should always try to find ways to combine things you enjoy, with what experiences, what knowledge, and what education you have and put it all together. English and WRD will definitely enable you to write and inform your audience about whatever passions you share.”


This summer Zigmund is planning another trek across Rocky Mountain National Park with a friend he met in the military — another medic, so they’ll both be in good hands.




MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-433-2784,

Kentucky Primary Care Association and UK HealthCare Announce Partnership Benefiting Rural Care Practitioners

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 13:45


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2015) – The Kentucky Primary Care Association (KPCA) and UK HealthCare announced today a groundbreaking partnership aimed at providing more than 800 patient care providers access to UK HealthCare support services such as supply chain contracts, medical professional placement services, practice transformation support/training and an after-hours pediatric call triage center.


KPCA has more than 250 member clinics from Paducah to Pikeville and from Covington to the Tennessee border serving some of Kentucky's most underserved citizens and focusing on improving the health of those they serve.  


The partnership provides KPCA members access to services at heavily discounted rates or at no charge to the facilities. One of the prominent features of the partnership is the recognition of KPCA organizations as “affiliate” sites under UK HealthCare's group purchasing contract. Under this purchasing arrangement, the savings to some of the larger health centers and clinics is quiet significant, adding thousands back to the annual budget, and more efficient management of purchasing volume.


“Primary care physicians, especially those in rural areas, have the extra burden of high patient volume, limited staff, and stretched resources,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “By partnering, UK HealthCare and KPCA members can grow important programs and services for their patients while also controlling and reducing operating costs. In today’s health care environment, this will be a game changer for many KPCA members.”


However, this collaboration is as much about improving the quality of care provided in KPCA member clinics as it is reducing costs.


"By addressing some of these issues related to costs, clinics with already scarce resources can instead focus on improving the quality of care provided across the Commonwealth," said Joseph E. Smith, executive director of the Kentucky Primary Care Association. “We’ve had a longstanding association with the University and UK HealthCare and this partnership elevates that relationship by adding a strong commitment to assisting rural doctors, nurses and practice managers who face some of the toughest transitions taking place in medicine today.”


KPCA members will have access to robust staffing solutions through Kentucky Medical Professional Placement Services and the Kentucky Medical Opportunities Website, an online marketplace linking candidates to vacancies across the state, active job search features for recruits, and links to offline events that link job seekers with interested organizations looking to fill positions across the clinical spectrum. 


This cooperation also affords KPCA members access to practice transformation services, or Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) consultants, that work with intensive cohorts across the state, assisting practices in the transition to quality and value-based care models. As a compliment to the PCMH model, UK HealthCare’s afterhours pediatric call triage service has been extended to KPCA members as well, providing organizations with around the clock access to specially trained registered nurses and over twenty-six community pediatricians and nurse practitioners throughout Central and Eastern Kentucky.


The Kentucky Primary Care Association was founded in 1976 as a private, non-profit corporation of community health centers, rural health clinics, primary care centers and other organizations and individuals concerned about access to health care services for the state’s underserved rural and urban populations. Association members are providers of primary care – first contact, broadly trained physicians, nurses and other professionals deliver that whole-person health care.


UK HealthCare is the University of Kentucky's health care system and encompasses UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Kentucky Children’s Hospital as well as the patient care services at Markey Cancer Center, Gill Heart Institute and all UK’s clinics and outreach locations. UK HealthCare is a research intensive, referral academic medical center that aims to ensure all Kentuckians — no matter how complex their medical problem — can be taken care of in Kentucky and not required to leave the state for advanced subspecialty medical care. 

College of Communication and Information Presents Awards

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 12:36

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015) — The University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information held its 15th annual Excellence Awards Dinner Friday, April 24, at the Hilary J. Boone Center. The event honored outstanding faculty, staff, alumni and past award recipients.


Honorees included:


Friend of the College Award: Recognizes a person who has demonstrated support to the College of Communication and Information or one of its units by volunteering, providing internships, or by their involvement in programs supported by the college. This year the college honored two recipients:

Janice Birdwhistell, former College of Communication and Information director of development for 13 years and chief of staff for Dean Dan O’Hair for two years until her retirement

Kip Cornett, founder and current president and CEO of advertising agency Cornett and current chair of the Breeders’ Cup Festival Week Host Committee


Outstanding Alumnus Award: Recognizes an alumnus of the College of Communication and Information for their many contributions to the college and community. This year the college honored:

Lonzell Watson, (Telecommunications, 1999)


Faculty Teaching Excellence Award: Recognizes faculty who not only demonstrate mastery of the subject matter, but also awareness of current developments, and a vision of what is to come.  They demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate that knowledge to students in ways that foster understanding, intellectual growth, and a broadening of perspectives. This year the college honored:

Matthew Savage, assistant professor of health communication in the Department of Communication


Graduate Teaching Excellence Award: Recognizes students who not only excel in their own studies, but they also demonstrate knowledge and expertise of their field through teaching undergraduate students. This year the college honored:

Timothy Bill, doctoral candidate in the Graduate Program in Communication, also serves as the director of forensics and the head coach of the university’s competitive speech and debate team


Faculty Research Award: Recognizes faculty achievement in research that is important to both the college and the faculty member’s area of expertise. This year the college honored:

Sherali Zeadally, assistant professor of information communication technology in the School of Library and Information Science


Outstanding Staff Award: Recognizes outstanding work and contributions by a staff member. This year the college honored two recipients:

Amber Troxell, administrative assistant for the School of Library and Information Science

Maggie Chapman, administrative staff officer


Faculty Community Service Award: Recognizes achievements by faculty in service to the community. This year the college honored:

Shari Veil, associate professor of communication and associate dean for undergraduate affairs


Outstanding Advisor Award: Recognizes the critical role played by advisors in fostering academic achievement, clearing pathways to graduation, and providing meaningful engagement on campus and in the community. This year the college honored two recipients:

Schyler Simpson, lecturer, recruiter

            Mike Farrell, associate professor in the School of Journalism and                                       Telecommunications



MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover and Rebecca Stratton; (859) 323-2395;,

Three UK Students Awarded Undergraduate Research Abroad Scholarships

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 09:11

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015)  Three University of Kentucky students have received the Undergraduate Research Abroad Scholarship (UGRAS), which will support their international independent research projects during the 2015 summer session.


Annie Griggs, a biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, Faith VanMeter, a psychology major in the College of Arts and Sciences and Marcel Roman, a political science and international studies double major in the College of Arts and Sciences are the recipients of the scholarship — chosen because they demonstrate the ability to explore exceptional academic undergraduate research abroad with the support of UK faculty mentors.  UGRAS is a result of funding from a collaboration between the UK Education Abroad Scholarship fund and the Office of Undergraduate Research. UGRAS awards each recipient $5,000.  


“The UGRAS award is a special highlight for me as both a researcher and the director of undergraduate research at UK," said Diane Snow, who is also a professor of neuroscience.  "It’s so exciting to be able to offer these students the opportunity to take their research inquiries to the next level and simultaneously experience research from a global perspective.  The experiences they will have outside the U.S. will benefit not only them and their career goals, but the goals of their UK mentors and the overall UK research mission. We at the Office of Undergraduate Research, and Education Abroad, who jointly sponsor the UGRAS, are so very proud of our amazing students!”


Griggs will complete her project, "Temporal Predictability of Nectar: Does it differently influence aggression in cloud forest hummingbirds based on species and breeding season?" in Costa Rica.  Her UK faculty mentor is David Westneat, professor in the Department of Biology and director of graduate studies.


"I am beyond thrilled to receive this scholarship. I love ecology and field work and to have this opportunity to do research in the cloud forest in Costa Rica is incredible," Griggs said. "Going abroad for this experience not only opens me up to the rich and unique biodiversity of Costa Rica, but also to different methods and ideas. I hope to go to graduate school and pursue a Ph.D. for ecology, so this experience fits perfectly into my future career and research interests.  I am so grateful that I was chosen to receive this scholarship, and I cannot wait to get started!"


VanMeter will complete her project, "The Role of Emotional Support During Child Abuse Victim Interviews: Benefits for Disclosure and Evidence Gathering," in England.  Her UK faculty mentor is Peggy Keller, member of the Developmental Psychology Program and faculty associate of the Center for Research on Violence Against Women.


"I am very honored to receive this scholarship," VanMeter said. "This experience will allow me to gain valuable research skills that I will be able to apply in graduate school. I hope to become a clinical psychologist, and this project will be very relevant to the population that I hope to work with as a clinician. Additionally, I have never been out of the country before, and this will allow me to become more cultured and gain a sense of independence. I am extremely excited about this upcoming adventure, and I know it will be very rewarding."


Roman will complete his project, "Land Rights and Ethnic Politics in Fiji," in Fiji.  His UK faculty mentor is Emily Beaulieu, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science.


“As a policy debater and member of the UK Debate Team, I’ve been acquiring research skills on a variety of topics for seven years," said Roman. "This time, however, the UGRAS scholarship will help provide me with the tools and skills necessary to produce and develop my own research from the field instead of merely synthesizing information from the work of others.


“This opportunity afforded to me from UGRAS isn't just to simply analyze and further understand the socio-cultural processes of Fijian politics, it’s an opportunity to open myself up to vulnerability and to be self-reflexive in the gaps that my methods and research may produce vis-à-vis an environment and group of people that are dealing with a civil society that is fundamentally distinct from the American and Western experience.” 


The institutional benefit of undergraduate research is only a part of why Anthony Ogden, director of Education Abroad at UK, deems the scholarships a smart investment.


"As a Research 1 institution, we are investing in ways to ensure students graduate with the essential knowledge and skills to engage with their discipline on the world stage. Conducting research abroad will help students learn firsthand the demands and rigor of their field in a real-world way.”


Ogden has observed that undergraduate students who participate in research abroad programs often go on to pursue graduate or professional degrees in their fields.


"These experiences not only foster knowledge and skills in a given research area, but they can also lay a foundation for a student’s professional network."



MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton and Blair Hoover, (859) 323-2395;,

UK's Kentucky Ag Leadership Program Accepting Nominations

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 16:47

LEXINGTON, Ky., (May 8, 2015) — The Kentucky Agricultural Leadership Program is accepting nominations for Class XI.


KALP, housed in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is an intensive two-year program designed for young agricultural producers and agribusiness individuals from Kentucky and Tennessee.


“Anyone who wants to be on the cutting edge of decisions that affect agriculture, rural communities and society in the 21st century will benefit greatly from going through this program,” said Will Snell, KALP co-director. “Graduates of the program have gone on to become active leaders in legislative bodies, farm and commodity organizations, agribusinesses and their local communities, which is vital for the future of agriculture in today’s challenging marketplace and policy arena.”


Applicants must be U.S. citizens, residents of Kentucky or Tennessee, be involved in some phase of agriculture, and be willing and able to commit around 50 days over the two-year period to participate in this premier leadership program. The program dates back to the mid-1980s and was originally called the Philip Morris Agricultural Leadership Program, though it was never commodity specific. Philip Morris fully funded the first seven classes. Now more than 150 financial supporters provide funding, including the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, Kentucky agribusinesses, farm organizations, program alumni and participant fees. Participants will be responsible for tuition of $2,500 payable in two installments to help offset the $15,000 individual program costs.


The program consists of 10 domestic seminars devoted to important agricultural issues. Sessions also focus on improving participants’ communication, leadership and management skills. Class members will visit a variety of Kentucky agribusinesses, Frankfort and Washington D.C., and will travel to other states and nations to explore agriculture in different settings. The previous 10 classes have yielded 267 graduates, many who subsequently have taken on leadership positions in agriculture.


“This program is about more than farming,” KALP co-director Steve Isaacs said. “Participants will polish essential leadership skills, identify common rural and urban concerns, understand current public policy issues and establish a basis for lifelong learning and development.”


Interest is expected to run high for the 22 seats available in Class XI. Snell and Isaacs, both from the UK Department of Agricultural Economics, said they generally receive around 100 nominations for each class. Candidates may self-nominate or be nominated by county extension agents, farm organizations, trade associations, alumni of previous leadership programs or other interested individuals. The nomination form link and additional details can be found at the Kentucky Agricultural Leadership Program website, Nominations are due June 15. All nominees will receive information about the program and procedures for submitting the required application, which will be due July 15. Interviews to select class members will be in mid-August, with the first seminar scheduled for Nov. 4-6.




MEDIA CONTACT:  Carol Lea Spence, 859-257-8324.


UK Certification Program Targets Wine, Brewing, Distilling Industries

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 16:31

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2015) — For several years, University of Kentucky students have been able to take classes related to the wine, beer and distilled spirits industries. Now, those courses will come together into a cohesive undergraduate certification program that will prepare students for careers in this growing economic sector.


Wine, brewing and distillation form a multi-billion dollar industry with myriad career opportunities in science, engineering and the arts, said Seth DeBolt, horticulture professor in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.


“Through the undergraduate certificate in distillation, wine and brewing studies (DWBS), students will gain the knowledge and skills needed to pursue various career options within these industries,” said DeBolt, who serves as the program director. “We are excited about this program and its ability to provide trained employees for this thriving Kentucky industry and provide excellent career options for our students.”


DeBolt and his colleagues have been consulting with these industries within the state to ensure the program will be a positive experience for their students as well as meet industry needs.


In addition to leading the program, DeBolt is one of several faculty from three colleges and seven departments who will be instructors for the program. The certificate has the flexibility in its course structure for students from a variety of degree programs to develop skills advancing their career options.


Students will gain an understanding of the career opportunities in wine, brewing and distilled products industry; be able to define key technical methods and analytical skills required for a career in these industries and understand the history of wine, brewing and distilling and how this relates to human culture.


“When a small group of us had our initial discussions about the potential of a certificate program, I knew I wanted to be a part of this exciting initiative,” said Bert Lynn, a faculty member in UK’s chemistry department and co-director of the internal advisory group. “As a chemist, I have always been fascinated by the orchestra of compounds that define the flavors and fragrances in spirits. The DWBS certificate provides me an opportunity to share my enthusiasm for this science with students from diverse backgrounds. I cannot think of a more enjoyable teaching experience.”


In the near future, they hope to award between 100 and 150 certificates per year. In addition to training and knowledge in the field, these certificate holders will have an appreciation for the history and traditions behind Kentucky’s DWB industries.


“I join Seth in saying that we are excited about this program and excellent career options provided for our students,” Lynn said.


Internal and external advisory boards made up of faculty and industry, respectively, will oversee the program. The first certificates will likely be awarded sometime late this year or in 2016.


“In the spirit of the land-grant university, we are happy to embark on this top quality teaching program that meets industry needs and strengthens the Kentucky land-based economy,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “We hope this program leads to closer partnerships and collaborations with our valued commercial partners.”


Wine, beer and distilled spirits are a growing industry in Kentucky. In 2013, bourbon production from more than 40 Kentucky distilleries surpassed 5 million barrels with a value greater than $8 billion a year. Some 10,000 people are estimated to work in this industry.


“Additionally, approximately 25 new craft and full-scale distillers will be opening soon, and there are more than 70 wineries and a thriving craft beer movement that demand trained and knowledgeable employees,” DeBolt said. “Finding graduates with an understanding of fermentation and their industry are vital to the industries’ rapid growth.”




MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Skillman, 859-323-4761.

Civil Engineering Professor’s Research Proves Timely for Concerned Community

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 15:59

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2015) — Near the end of January, the community of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was faced with a disturbing possibility: their children could be exposed to harmful chemicals while attending a local public school every day, based on the fact that a contaminated site lay beneath the school.


Following confusion and panic from parents and students, nationally recognized experts were called to engage with the school community. Kelly Pennell, University of Kentucky civil engineering professor, was one of three researchers who flew down in early February for a public information session.   


Vapor intrusion — Pennell's area of expertise and the scientific term for the cause of concern in Winston-Salem — occurs when chemicals from contaminated groundwater or soil vaporize and enter into indoor air spaces.


In an interview with a Winston-Salem public radio station, Pennell said that vapor intrusion is an ongoing issue for the country because of legacy contamination sites where spills occurred years ago.


"It's a problem in many localities," she said. "There's not one state that isn't dealing with this issue."


Vapor intrusion is similar to radon intrusion, but differs in several ways; importantly, vapor intrusion results from the actions of a “responsible party” that caused the pollution rather than — like radon — through naturally occurring processes. With vapor intrusion, the party responsible is often liable to deliver a solution once science-based evidence confirms a problem exists.


"Many times, people look at their floor and say, 'Well I don't have any cracks in my floor,' but yet we see that low concentrations of these compounds can enter the indoor air through many different pathways — even in the absence of visible cracks," Pennell said.


And when individuals breathe 20,000 liters of air a day, compared to drinking only two liters of water a day, even low concentrations in indoor air are significant.


"We're just, in the past 10 years I'd say, really trying to systematically evaluate potential health risks from vapor intrusion," said Pennell, who earlier this year received the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award for her project “Vapor Intrusion, Knowledge Brokers, and Environmental Health — A Three Dimensional Perspective.”


Vapor intrusion, depending on the chemicals and duration of exposure, can have the potential to cause cancer, and has more recently been linked to acute health risks such as birth defects.   


One research question Pennell and the UK Superfund Research Center are currently looking at is how the health (nutrition, physical activity) of the individual can modulate the effect of that exposure, while also investigating new methods for reducing exposures to pollutants. She and her team of undergraduate and graduate students are also looking at how atmospheric effects, like wind and precipitation, can influence the vapor intrusion process. For example, how wind flows around a building can alter the air exchange rates inside of a building.


Pennell, who joined UK faculty in 2013, has been involved in many vapor intrusion research projects, including computational modeling with collaborators at Brown University, a field study with collaborators at Brown and Boston University in the metro-Boston area, and now lab, modeling and community-engaged studies at UK.


Using this multi-pronged approach, she continues to gain a stronger scientific understanding of what factors affect vapor intrusion and when it can and cannot occur.


For example, the field study in Boston with Brown University and Boston University delivered an unexpected finding; Pennell calls it "CSI of the toilet." The team was finding indoor air concentrations of a chemical and narrowed it down to the upper level of the building; an odd finding because vapor intrusion should come from the ground floor.


It turns out, there was a small sewer gas leak in the upstairs bathroom, a fairly common occurrence. But this sewer gas contained high levels of the chemical and the leak was identified as a potentially significant exposure route that was originally overlooked.


"The toilet was removed and the students sampled the sewer pipes to evaluate the vapor concentrations. The students were quick to tell me, 'hey, we never signed up to do plumbing research,'" Pennell joked.


Although it may not have been what they expected, the team's work would soon prove valuable.


Word spread about the finding and the California Environmental Protection Agency invited her team to talk to the agency about it. In March, new collaborators developing methods for evaluating the sewer gas pathway presented how sewer gas can be a source of these chemicals in indoor air at the Association for Environmental Health and Sciences Annual Meeting.


Pennell says the finding is especially of interest to regulators, and "from a health stance, this (sewer gas) is an important exposure pathway."


Not only an issue in the realm of health and the environment, vapor intrusion often becomes a legal dispute between those who may be liable and those affected. In this way, Pennell draws from her past experience as an environmental consultant and government liaison, positioning her work at the center of research, policy and practice.


"As part of the UK Superfund Research Program, we do monthly seminars in Frankfort at the state offices. We ask them what types of topics they want to learn about, and we organize seminars based on their interests. I've given several talks on vapor intrusion and environmental health," Pennell said. She and her team also bring in national experts to speak on other topics of interest to state agency staff.


As a researcher, she says it is important to think what in her research is of value to the public, and at the same time she realizes the nature of her work often includes uncertainty and is not immediately transferable to real-world problems.


As the school district in Winston-Salem was faced with a decision and also a lot of uncertainty, Pennell says when considering environmental exposures they must use what they know as true or what is likely, then individuals can make better decisions instead of only reacting to emotions.


Several months after Pennell visited Winston-Salem, the school in question is now vacated, but members of the community still contact Pennell about test results and for support.


"Back in January, when a parent from Winston-Salem called me on my cell phone asking questions about my research and how it related to the health of her child, I was humbled and caught somewhat off guard, but mostly, I was motivated," Pennell said. "It was truly a privilege to have been welcomed into her community as they struggled with a difficult, but all too common problem.”




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

Kentucky Celebrates Small Businesses

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 15:55

LEXINGTON, Ky., (May 7, 2015) — The Commonwealth’s best were celebrated in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort May 6 with an awards ceremony recognizing outstanding small businesses and small-business people. Kentucky Celebrates Small Business was presented by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center (KSBDC), part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the Kentucky district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Lexington chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. 


“Small Business Week is big in Kentucky! These three organizations share the mission of supporting and encouraging small business and are proud to celebrate the wonderful entrepreneurial talent in Kentucky,” said Becky Naugle, KSBDC director.


KSBDC selects Kentucky Pacesetter businesses based on how the nominees are changing Kentucky’s economic landscape by introducing innovative products, increasing sales and/or production, boosting employment and serving their communities.


This year’s outstanding Kentucky Pacesetters are:

A.C.E. Compressor Services Inc., Mayfield

Green River Appliance, Owensboro

Stewart and Stafford Inc., Pikeville

Sustainment Solutions Inc., Lancaster


Each year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes outstanding small businesses and entrepreneurs with awards across the country. The Small Business of the Year winner from each state has the opportunity to be acknowledged at both regional and national levels.


The 2015 Kentucky Small Business Administration award winners are:

Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year: Scott Shinn, president and CEO of Sustainment Solutions Inc.

Kentucky 8(a) Graduate of the Year: Kathy Mills, president and CEO of Strategic Communications

Kentucky SBA Resource Partner of the Year: David Oetken, director of Small Business Development Center Louisville

Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year: Mark Strother, president and CEO of Commercial Bank of Grayson

Kentucky Home Based Business of the Year: Nicole Mueller, president and owner of Startup Productions LLC

Kentucky Woman Small Business Advocate of the Year: Michelle Gorman, small business specialist at U.S. Bank of Bowling Green

Kentucky Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Shane Hamilton, president and owner of Service Maids LLC


“Entrepreneurs are the engines who drive our economy forward,” said Ralph Ross, district director of the Kentucky office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Every year we honor them during Small Business Week, and this year we have an extra reason to celebrate. The Kentucky unemployment rate has dropped to 5.1 percent, and demand for SBA loans has increased 30 percent over last year. Our Kentucky entrepreneurs are hard at work, and we cannot thank them enough.”


The Lexington chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners strives to propel female entrepreneurs to spheres of economic, social and political influence through strengthening economic development, creating innovative and effective changes in the business culture, building strategic alliances and transforming public policies.


Their Winners’ Circle Award is presented annually to a Kentucky woman who has shown outstanding leadership, financial stamina and control, contributed to her community through time and resources, understands and resolves complex issues, and is dedicated to furthering women in business through personal support and mentoring. The 2015 recipient is Dr. Ardis Dee Hoven, past president of the American Medical Association and a Lexington-based infectious disease physician.


The chapter also presented the following awards:

Woman Business Owner of the Year: Dr. Jennifer Fuson, owner of Lexington Women’s Health

Member of the Year: Karen Boone, owner of Kreations by Karen

Tribute Award: Ericka Harney, executive director of Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance

Rising Star Award: Kelly King Bakehorn, owner and president of The Grand Reserve and The Barrel House

Legacy Award: Kathy Gornik, president and CEO of Aperture Consulting


“With the latest census statistics showing that the majority of all workers in America are employed by small-business owners, we are reminded that small-business owners are the true unsung heroes of our times,” said Janey Moores, NAWBO Lexington chapter awards coordinator. “That same census also shows that women now own at least a third of all businesses in the U.S. As more and more women follow the dreams of their hearts by owning their own businesses, America grows stronger by the day and remains the land of the free and the home of the brave.”


The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 15 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information on KSBDC services, visit their website,




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