Campus News

UK Alumnus Named Director of Governor's School for the Arts

Fri, 10/14/2016 - 09:55

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 17, 2016) The Kentucky Center has appointed University of Kentucky music performance and arts administration alumnus Nick Covault to the position of director of its Governor's School for the Arts (GSA) program.


As director of GSA, Covault will be responsible for supervision of the program, which for nearly 30 years, in partnership with the state, has enabled Kentucky high school students to engage in the arts during a three week, immersive residential summer program, providing instruction in nine disciplines: architecture and design, creative writing, dance, drama, instrumental music, musical theatre, new media, visual art and vocal music. The program also works to engage high school students across the state interested in the arts through its fall ArtShops program.


Covault is a 2002 graduate of GSA, where he studied vocal music. At UK, he earned bachelor's degrees in vocal music performance and arts administration. After graduating, he worked for LexArts in Lexington, before relocating to Louisville to join the staff of GSA as program coordinator and registrar. He transitioned into the role of programming and community engagement manager for The Kentucky Center for four years before accepting the position of director of GSA. He is the first GSA alumnus to serve as director of the program.


"The Kentucky Center Governor's School for the Arts is proud to have one of its own graduates now at the helm," said Kim Baker, president of The Kentucky Center. "Nick brings a wealth of experience in the arts and an unparalleled background specific to GSA. His unique perspective will support his vision of creating a life-changing experience for today's Kentucky high school students, much in the same way it was for him."


Covault's accolades have included participation in SouthArts' groundbreaking Dance Touring Initiative, the Emerging Leader Institute of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and the Global Fellowship Program of the International Society for the Performing Arts. He was recently listed as one of Business First of Louisville's 2016 Forty Under 40 Honorees and has been named a compassion laureate by Compassionate Louisville.


Active in the local and statewide community beyond his role at The Kentucky Center, Covault currently volunteers for Kentucky Refugee Ministries and serves on the steering committee for the Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange convened by Art of the Rural and Appalshop. He has served on the board of directors for Squallis Puppeteers and is one of the founding organizers of PosSOUPbility (a meal-based community event that generates micro-grants for innovative grassroots initiatives). Covault strives to remain active as a musician, and has twice stage-directed Bourbon Baroque and Squallis Puppeteers' collaborative production of the one-act opera "Les Sauvages."


GSA is a public/private partnership inaugurated in 1987 by The Kentucky Center, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and numerous private supporters. Today, the vital funding required to make GSA a reality is provided by the state through the leadership of the Governor's Office and the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, as well as The Kentucky Center Endowment Fund, Toyota Motor Manufacturing and more than 300 corporations, parents, educators, alumni and friends of GSA.


The mission of The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts is to lead and enrich the artistic, educational and economic vitality of the region by providing unparalleled programming and cultural events. The center serves Kentucky through education and initiatives which expand and diversify audiences while enhancing their understanding, appreciation and support for the arts.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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

UK Ag to Host Discussion on Benefits, Safety of GMO Crops Oct. 17

Thu, 10/13/2016 - 16:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2016)  Today’s crops, which are grown for both food and non-food uses, are bred for better field performance, such as resistance to insect pests and diseases. In some cases, certain crop improvements are the result of many years of scientific research leading to the development of genetically modified crops, commonly referred to as GMO (genetically modified organisms) crops.


This year, University of Kentucky Extension Professor of Plant Pathology and UK’s Coordinator of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) Paul Vincelli, is leading an effort designed to further educate UK students, faculty, staff and the greater community about GMO crops.


In recent years, Vincelli hosted scientists who were skeptical about the safety of certain GMO crops.


On Monday, Oct. 17, a pair of leading industry scientists will give their side of the story. The program, titled “A Question and Answer Session on the Benefits and Safety of GMO Crops,” will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m., in room 321 of the new Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building at UK.


John Vicini and Jay Petrick, scientists with the Monsanto Corporation, will make a short presentation to begin the forum, followed by a Q-&A session.


“These gentlemen are scientists, and as a scientist myself, I appreciate their willingness to discuss this controversial issue and answer questions in a public setting,” Vincelli said. “Sharing data and examining a topic from different perspectives sheds more light on an issue, which in turn makes all of us more effective citizens, better able to make informed decisions.”


Admission to the event is free. Parking will be available in Parking Structure # 2, located on Rose Street, alongside the Jacobs Science Building.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200;

UK Forestry Celebrates National Forest Products Week

Thu, 10/13/2016 - 16:21

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Oct. 14, 2016) National Forest Products Week runs from Oct.16–22 and recognizes the sustainable benefits of wood materials and their important role in the nation’s economy. In recognition of the role these products play in Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin has proclaimed it Forest Products Week in the state.


Kentucky is one of the top producers of hardwood timber in the nation, with logging operations in every county, a characteristic that drives thriving wood products industries in the state. The University of Kentucky Department of Forestry, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, supports the industry throughout the year with its land-grant mission of teaching, research and extension.


The wood products and forestry industry supports more than 66,000 direct and indirect jobs and contributes $14.6 billion annually to the Kentucky economy. With the global marketplace for green building materials expected to reach $529 billion by 2020, support is growing for the innovative uses of wood in construction. Kentucky forests produce timber from such species as red and white oak, walnut and maple. These species are used for household furnishings, mouldings, cabinets, flooring, barrel staves and paper.


“As educators and active supporters of the industry, we welcome the recognition that National Forest Products Week gives the many wood products we all use and appreciate in our daily lives,” said Terrell “Red” Baker, chair of UK Forestry.


An Eastern Kentucky arm of the forestry department, the Wood Utilization Center, part of UK’s Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability in Quicksand, offers programs for all ages. The 14,000 square foot facility contains an industrial hardwood furniture manufacturing laboratory, classrooms, computer lab and a hardwood lumber dry kiln.


The center offers programs such as Win With Wood, which introduces the region’s youth to forestry and wood industries and opens the door to career opportunities by bringing them together with forest and wood industries' owners, industry leaders, and UK extension agents and specialists. This year, 230 young people attended the event on Oct. 11.


The center’s Wood Products Entrepreneur Program acts as an incubator for individuals who are building wood products manufacturing businesses. The program provides mentoring in product design, machinery operation, business plans, marketing and financing. It also minimizes initial start-up costs by providing space, equipment and utilities until the new business has enough cash flow to secure its own space and equipment.


As the boom in new distilleries continues in the state, the demand for barrels and the white oaks that supply the stave wood has become a topic of concern. Recently, UK forestry extension held a workshop in Rowan County to discuss the sustainability of white oaks in Kentucky forests. More than 140 people attended, divided evenly between landowners and representatives of the logging industry.


“Bourbon is a wood product. You can’t do it without wood,” said Jeff Stringer, UK extension forestry professor. “It is not a particularly fast-growing tree and there is some concern over long-range supply issues.”


Since Kentucky’s No. 1 wood export is barrels, the concern is well-founded. Researchers in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s newly formed Forest Health Research and Education Center are studying white oak genetics in the hopes of getting ahead of future supply problems.


“Made from renewable resources and easily recycled, the products our members make are a true environmental success story,” said Robert Glowinski, American Wood Council president and CEO.


In Kentucky, the industry is represented by several groups: the Kentucky Woodland Owners Association, the Kentucky chapter of the Society of American Foresters, the Kentucky Association of Consulting Foresters and the Kentucky Forest Industries Association.


Additional information about the UK Department of Forestry’s research and outreach activities can be found online at


Additional information on the role of wood products in North America, environmental advantages and environmental product declarations are available from the American Wood Council at



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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

Sculptor Donald Lipski to Speak at UK

Thu, 10/13/2016 - 14:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2016) The University of Kentucky Art Museum will welcome to campus celebrated sculptor Donald Lipski 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, at the Singletary Center for the Arts Recital Hall. As part of this free public talk, Lipski will discuss his sculpture and large-scale installations, including "Pieces of String Too Short to Save" on display now at the museum. 


"Pieces of String Too Short to Save" is comprised of industrial mesh cages filled with found objects. Since 1979, Lipski’s work has been defined by his ingenious manipulation of common materials in small and large sculptures and installations. Drinking straws, bits of wire, bottles, cigarettes, flags, musical instruments and countless other everyday items have been assembled into precise formal studies.


Lipski's sculpture is often a two-part acknowledgment — seeing a recognizable object and then appreciating the artist’s engagement with it. This can involve isolating a single item for contemplation, presenting vast quantities of things brought together for maximum impact, or altering materials through processes of slicing, weaving, wrapping, piercing and stacking.


In his steadfast use of commercial objects, Lipski continues the legacy of 20th-century artists, including Arman, Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp. His ongoing investigations into conditions of materiality, composition and site specificity affirm a connection to the Dada, Surrealism, Pop and Minimalism art movements. Lipski was born in Chicago in 1947. His work is in the collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Menil Collection, Houston.


The mission of the UK Art Museum, 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 4,800 objects including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the UK Art Museum presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from its permanent collection.


The UK Art Museum, located in the Singletary Center at Rose Street and Euclid Avenue, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free but donations are encouraged. For more information on membership, contact Lyndi VanDeursen at 859-257-8164 or



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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



Bix Named Adjunct Faculty in Australia

Thu, 10/13/2016 - 12:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2016) — Dr. Gregory Bix, associate professor and the Paul G. Blazer Jr. Professor of Stroke Research in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and director of the Center for Advanced Translational Stroke Science, has been named an adjunct associate professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the Queensland University of Technology. Bix is also an honorary Clinical Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.




Songs for Sound Event Supports Research and Outreach of UK’s Cochlear Implant Program

Thu, 10/13/2016 - 12:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 17, 2016) – Imagine going from total silence to hearing again. A Cochlear implant, a small electronic device implanted just behind the ear, can provide the miracle of hearing to many people who suffer from profound hearing loss.


The University of Kentucky’s Hearing Program, under the direction of Dr. Matthew Bush, associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, and the Lexington Hearing and Speech Center are partnering with Songs for Sound Hear the Music Project, for the third year to bring to Lexington some of country music’s most elite songwriters to share their music and the stories behind the lyrics. This year’s event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6 at the Manchester Music Hall.


Songs for Sound, a 5013c charity, is dedicated to improving the quality of life for the 260 million people worldwide who suffer from profound hearing loss. The charity was founded by Jamie and Kevin Vernon of Nashvill, parents of Alexis, “Lexi,” who at 1½ years of age, was diagnosed with profound hearing loss. The Vernons learned that Lexi was eligible for a cochlear implant which took their daughter from a world of silence and allowed her to blossom into an active, speaking and hearing child.


Songs for Sound travels across the country hosting “Hear the Music” events with the help of friends from Nashville’s music industry, in an effort to raise awareness of profound hearing loss. The organization provides free hearing screenings and access to needed resources, such as the resources found at UK, the primary cochlear implant center of Central and Eastern Kentucky since 1989.


“Songs for Sound “‘Hear the Music’ is such an important event for our patients, the University of Kentucky and our region" Bush said.  "It represents a collaborative effort among dedicated clinicians, amazing patients, and the generous Songs for Sound team. Our cochlear implant program has grown progressively over the past 20 years and this event will enable us to expand our research and extent our reach to provide the absolute best hearing healthcare for patient throughout Kentucky and beyond. This will be a fantastic event that will highlight top country artists and patients who, in spite of their hearing loss, have regained the ability to ‘hear the music.’”


Sponsorship tickets for the event start at $30 per ticket or $50 for two, and go up from there. General admission tickets can be purchased for $10. Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased from the Songs for Sound website


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uky4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or 



Grant Received for Southland Drive Public Pop-up Space

Thu, 10/13/2016 - 10:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2016) As part of the ongoing Southland Drive corridor redesign, the city has launched a new project called “Retrofitting the RETRO” — a public pop-up green space that will be used to both increase aesthetics and pedestrian mobility in the area. Lexington Division of Planning teamed up with University of Kentucky’s School of Interiors, Department of Landscape Architecture and Department of Historic Preservation to provide design assistance on the project.


The Blue Grass Community Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Donor Advised Fund recently donated $10,000 to the city to help take the project from a concept to a reality. The funding will go toward design and construction of a temporary public space.


“We are excited to support 'Retrofitting the RETRO,' which will explore innovative ways to revitalize shared public places, which dovetails perfectly with Blue Grass Community Foundation’s efforts to help Lexington be the most vibrant, dynamic community it can be. Walkable, bike-able, connected neighborhoods are key to these efforts,” said Lisa Adkins, president/CEO of Blue Grass Community Foundation


In the past few years, the Southland corridor has undergone significant improvements with new businesses, bike lanes and community involvement. This pop-up green space will continue that progress, and help enhance the $1.5 million publicly funded sidewalk project in a unique, collaborative way.


“People enjoy inviting public places,” said Derek Paulsen, commissioner of Planning, Preservation and Design. “The neighbors around Southland Drive have already done a lot of work to improve the corridor. 'Retrofitting the RETRO' is the next step.”


The Lexington Division of Planning partnered with UK’s School of Interiors, Department of Landscape Architecture and Department of Historic Preservation to provide data collection and design assistance on the project. To date, students have conducted research into the history of the corridor, hosted community meetings, and have conducted interviews with area merchants and residents. 


“Community engagement is a key strategy for meaningful teaching, research and service in the UK School of Interiors,” said Patrick Lee Lucas, director of the School of Interiors. “Working with campus collaborators — the talented students and faculty in the Department of Landscape Architecture and the terrific staff of the Tracy Farmer Institute — we join together with community partners to use design to meet the opportunities in the Southland area which, in turn, benefit the city. There can be no greater lesson for students than that.”


Community Input
To help make this project successful, the city is seeking public input and encouraging citizens to complete a brief online survey about how often they frequent the Southland corridor, what they like, dislike and what improvements they would like to see. 


The collaborative "Retrofitting the RETRO" project has been championed by Urban County Councilmembers as well.


“My hope is that the ideas shared with the students will be a springboard for residents, business owners, and the Southland Association to enhance places where residents can walk, talk, share and have social connections while retaining the unique character of the corridor,” said 10th District Councilmember Amanda Bledsoe, who represents a large portion of the Southland Drive corridor.


Next Steps in 'Retrofitting the RETRO'
The Division of Planning, along with the UK design students, is currently working to gather community input to develop conceptual masterplans and identify key public space locations in the district.


Once completed, the Division of Planning will launch a student design contest for the project. The design contest is expected to launch in November 2016, with design submittals presented to the public in December. Construction for the pop-up public space is anticipated in 2017. 


For more information or to sign up to email updates about the project, go to and/or contact Brandi Peacher in the Division of Planning at



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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

UK Faculty Chosen for SEC Travel Program

Thu, 10/13/2016 - 10:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2016) More than 100 faculty members from all 14 Southeastern Conference (SEC) universities will take part in the 2016-17 SEC Faculty Travel Program, the league office announced Oct. 6. Of the more than 100 participants, nine are faculty at the University of Kentucky. The program, in its fifth year, provides support for selected individuals to collaborate with colleagues at other SEC member institutions.

"The SEC Faculty Travel Program continues to garner significant interest from faculty members across the conference, and we are encouraged by how our universities have identified a range of individuals to participate," said Torie Johnson, executive director of the SEC's academic initiative, known as SECU. "This program allows us to facilitate collaboration that stretches from the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields to include the arts and community engagement."

Through the program, the SEC provides financial assistance for its faculty members to travel to other SEC universities to exchange ideas, develop grant proposals, conduct research and deliver lectures or performances.

The nine chosen from UK to participate in the SEC Faculty Travel Program are:

· Sunday "Tayo" Adedokun, an assistant professor of animal and food sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment;

· Melinda Ickes, assistant professor of kinesiology and health promotion in the College of Education;

· Yang Jiang, an associate professor in behavioral science in the College of Medicine;

· Youngseek Kim, assistant professor of library and information science in the College of Communication and Information;

· Yoko Kusunose, assistant professor of agricultural economics in the College of Agriculture, Food and Enviornment;

· Rebekah Radtke, assistant professor of interiors in the College of Design;

· Monica Visona, associate professor of art history in the College of Fine Arts;

· Irina Voro, professor of piano in the College of Fine Arts; and

· Jonathan Wenk, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering.

Program participants from each SEC university will travel throughout the academic year.

The SEC Faculty Travel Program is part of SECU, the academic initiative of the Southeastern Conference. The SEC supports and promotes the endeavors and achievements of the students and faculty at its 14 member universities.

Visit the SECU online at for a full list of 2016-17 SEC Faculty Travel Program participants.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Kathy Johnson, 859-257-3155, or Caroline Kelsey,


UK Professor's Credits Include US Architectural Masterpiece

Thu, 10/13/2016 - 09:55

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2016) The design work of Martin Summers, an assistant professor of architecture at University of Kentucky College of Design, and his former colleagues at Morphosis executed at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science recently received national recognition.


The building, located in Dallas, Texas, was included in the list of "10 overlooked architectural masterpieces in the U.S." published on The Real Deal, a popular New York real estate website. The article from The Real Deal complimented the Perot Museum's "sharp angles and futuristic look" for making it "one of the most cutting-edge buildings in America."


Morphosis designed the museum to stimulate a wide audience of visitors in hopes of ultimately broadening individuals’ and society’s understanding of nature and science. The award-winning design's immersive experience of nature within the city begins with a visitor’s approach to Perot Museum, through two native Texas ecologies: a forest of large native canopy trees and a terrace of native desert xeriscaping, which gently slopes up to connect with the museum’s stone roof. The overall building is conceived as a large cube floating over the site’s landscaped base. The acre of undulating roofscape is comprised of rock and native drought-resistant grasses to reflect the city’s indigenous geology and demonstrate a living system that will evolve.


This intersection of the two ecologies defines the main plaza, a gathering and event area for visitors and an outdoor public space for Dallas. From the plaza, the landscaped roof lifts up to draw visitors through a compressed space into the more expansive lobby. The topography of the lobby’s undulating ceiling reflects the dynamism of the exterior landscape surface, blurring the distinction between inside and outside, and connecting the natural with the manmade. Moving from the entry, a visitor's gaze is drawn upward through the sky-lit atrium. Upon arrival to the top floor, the fully glazed façade opening provides visitors a bird’s eye view of downtown, the landscaped roof and entry plaza below.


"I have several favorite moments in the project," said Summers, who was a senior designer on the project. "The first is the moment where you enter the building. You know the atrium is there as you can see parts of it from the exterior, but it is not until you walk past the overhead glazing that you see the full extent and complexity of the circulation above you."


Another favorite moment for Summers can be found when riding the escalators to the top floor. "On the first escalator you move through the lobby ceiling and the building once again opens to your view, both to the interior and exterior though neither is at that moment accessible. You again emerge at the top of the second escalator to views of the city, the site below and the interior of the atrium where you sense you are floating in the space."


From the top floor, visitors proceed downward in a clockwise spiral. The descending path weaves in and out of the building’s galleries and main atrium, alternately connecting the visitor with the internal world of the museum and with the external life of the city beyond. The visitor becomes part of the architecture, as the eastern facing corner of the building opens up toward downtown Dallas to reveal the activity within.


Summers was deeply involved with the design of the Perot Museum during his time at Morphosis. He was responsible for the design and development of the museum's atrium and the circulation associated with the public sequence through that space. Summers also was responsible for the early building envelope development and led the façades team on the project by integrating the multiple systems and their detailing.


“It is exciting to have someone consider a project you worked on a 'masterpiece,' and to draw attention to it so that it can be experienced by a broader audience. I feel fortunate to have been able to lend my talents as part of an exceptional team and firm. A lot of my recent professional work, research and teaching have been influenced by my experience on the Perot Museum.”


Summers has two decades of experience across a variety of project types and scales. After founding PLUS-SUM Studio in 2012, his first project was recognized as part of the 2013 AIA Emerging Professionals Exhibition in Washington, D.C. At the eighth IDA (International Design Awards) three of his projects received five total awards, including the top prize “Architectural Design of the Year 2014.”


At UK, Summers leads advanced studios focused on iterative digital processes and teaches electives in high performance building envelopes. Before coming to UK, he worked 10 years at Morphosis in Santa Monica, California. He holds a bachelor's degree in architecture from UK and a master's degree in architecture from University of California, Los Angeles.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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

Behind the Blue: Poet Frank X Walker Reflects on Work as Writer, Professor

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 18:25




LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2016) — “Affrilachia” is the word coined by poet Frank X Walker to signify the importance of the African-American presence in Appalachia, and he's a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets. Walker says he has "accepted the responsibility of challenging the notion of a homogeneous all-white literary landscape in this region.”


A native of Danville, Kentucky, Walker is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, currently serves as associate professor in the UK Department of English, and was the 2013-14 poet laureate for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He was founder and executive Director of the Bluegrass Black Arts Consortium, former program director of the UK's Martin Luther King Center and a Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Fellowship recipient. He has lectured, conducted workshops, read poetry and exhibited at more than 300 national conferences and universities and was the recipient of the 2006 Thomas D. Clark Literary Award for Excellence.


In this edition of Behind the Blue, Kody Kiser of UK Public Relations and Marketing talks with Walker about his work, reflections on UK both as a former student and now as a professor, and more.


Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of "Behind the Blue" each week. UK's latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.


For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email, or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue.


Click here for "Behind the Blue" on iTunes.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT:  Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282, 

College of Nursing Receives $2.6 Million Grant to Promote Rural Caregivers’ Cardiovascular Health

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 16:55

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2016) — In a self-sacrificial role, caregivers of chronically ill patients often neglect their own psychological and physical health while attending to the needs of a loved one.


The demands of caregiving can cause emotional distress and reduce the time caregivers are able to devote to their personal health. In rural areas, additional barriers prevent caregivers from attaining and maintaining cardiovascular health. All of these factors increase their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). 


A national grant awarded to two professors, who are also co-directors of the Research and Intervention for Cardiovascular Health (RICH) Heart Program in the UK College of Nursing, will address cardiovascular disease risk factors in rural caregivers through an intervention promoting psychological health, CVD risk-reduction measures, and self-management. Debra Kay Moser, professor and Linda C. Gill Endowed Chair of Nursing, and Misook Lee Chung, a professor in the UK College of Nursing, were awarded a $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Nursing Research to implement and test outcomes from the Rural Intervention for Caregivers’ Heart Health intervention (RICHH).


The RICHH intervention aims to reduce CVD risks and depressive symptoms in rural caregivers by helping them overcome environmental and socioeconomic barriers to health maintenance. Barriers in rural communities include high poverty rates and limited healthcare and social resources. The researchers will examine the short- and long-term effects of a treatment condition by measuring CVD risk factors, self-care behaviors and depressive symptoms. Participants receiving the intervention condition will attend individual video conferencing sessions through an application on a digital device. The sessions include information and resources for preventing CVD and maintaining personal health.


“Often the demands of a chronically ill family member detract from our own health,” Moser said. “We know rural caregivers are especially vulnerable to CVD because they lack the social support and health resources to help them maintain their physical health and deal with depressive symptoms that accompany the caregiver’s role. Our intervention is designed to address each of these factors so the caregiver does not become the patient.”


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

VIDEO: What Motivates UK Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis?

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 15:54


Video produced by UK Public Relations and Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2016) — When Lisa Cassis isn’t in her cardiovascular research lab, you’ll find her leading the research enterprise at the University of Kentucky. 


How does the UK researcher balance her time in the lab and in the office? What motivates her each morning? 


Watch the video above to find out what keeps Cassis motivated and why a special talent is her favorite way to relax after a long day of work.


About Lisa Cassis

Lisa Cassis earned a bachelor's degree in pharmacy and a doctoral degree in pharmacology from West Virginia University, followed by postdoctoral positions as an Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow in Pharmacology at Wurzburg, West Germany, and within the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Virginia. Cassis joined the faculty at UK in 1988, and is currently a faculty member within the College of Medicine Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional SciencesSaha Cardiovascular Research Center, the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center and the College of Pharmacy.


Research within the Cassis laboratory has been continuously supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for more than 27 years, contributing to more than 130 scholarly publications. She has mentored many scientists, been the recipient of national and local research awards, and served for 10 years as program director of an NIH Training Grant in Nutritional Sciences. She currently serves as program director for an NIH grant that supports the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) focusing on obesity and cardiovascular diseases.


As vice president for research, Cassis reports directly to the president and oversees research proposal development, grants and contracts administration, federal relations, human subjects protection, 10 non-degree granting and multidisciplinary research centers, and an array of shared-use core facilities that serve UK researchers.


The University of Kentucky is one of only eight universities in the country with the full range of undergraduate, graduate, professional and medical programs on one contiguous campus. That range of programs — world-class poets and writers working minutes away from nationally renowned researchers in cancer and energy — enlivens interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary initiatives in learning and discovery. UK is currently one of only 22 public institutions with a trifecta of federal designations of excellence — for aging, in cancer and in translational science.


This video is part of our “5 Questions” monthly UKNow series where we strive to introduce you to Lisa Cassis, the person. 


The goal is to learn more about the people leading, teaching, healing, discovering and learning at the University of Kentucky. If you think of someone in our community who you would like to see featured, please email us. Who knows? We might just choose your suggestion for our next “5 Questions with …” conversation on UKNow!



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



VIDEO CONTACTS: Amy Jones-Timoney, 859-257-2940,; or Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282,

Brioche Dorée Arrives at the University of Kentucky

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 15:03

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2016) — At 10 a.m. tomorrow, Oct. 14, the University of Kentucky and Brioche Dorée will celebrate the grand opening of the eatery's new location in the Gatton College of Business and Economics.


The new and convenient eatery specializes in an impressive range of European café options. From fresh espresso-based coffees and croissant breakfast sandwiches to French-inspired pastries, the menu options and brand aura intend to recreate the classic streetside café in a modern environment that envelops all of the senses.


“This opening is the latest example of how we are bridging the quality that students and faculty desire with the convenience and taste profiles they expect,” said Jeff Drake, president of Brioche Dorée. “Keeping in mind that students desire healthy, customizable menu items, Brioche Dorée is sure to impress with its genuine Parisian character.”


Brioche Dorée’s selection of menu items is updated regularly to stay in step with the season and ensure the freshest ingredients. The brand’s traditional French products are of exceptional quality and freshness, and provided in a quick-service setting, much like Parisians find in their street markets.


“Whether our students and faculty are rushing off to their next class, or have a few minutes to relax, Brioche Dorée is sure to please everyone who wants a delicious meal, a quick coffee, or a tasty treat,” said Penny Cox, director of housing project implementation and new strategies for the University of Kentucky. “On campus, we strive to bring new and unique offerings for our students and employees. Brioche Dorée certainly fulfills that objective.”


Each Brioche Dorée dish is made simply and naturally, with signature menu items including the classic butter croissant with flour, yeast, butter, milk, eggs and nothing else. Or, for those looking to indulge, tartlets and chocolate croissants await the sweet tooth.


“We are working to bring our fresh bakery café experience to more universities across the country,” added Drake. “Our cafés are perfectly designed for settings that serve busy students, employees and visitors who want fresh bakery options and delicious drinks. We are confident that Brioche Dorée will build a great name for itself at the University of Kentucky and on many more campuses to come.”



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 859-257-6398,

UK Choirs Welcome Over 400 High Schoolers to Bluegrass Choral Music Festival

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 14:52

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2016) The University of Kentucky Choral Music Department will host the 24th annual Bluegrass Choral Music Festival Oct. 14 and 15, at the Singletary Center for the Arts. This event has grown to become one of the largest high school choral festivals in the southeastern United States featuring more than 400 singers from across the state of Kentucky.


Participating students in the Bluegrass Choral Music Festival will combine to form three large choirs: an SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) mixed choir, the all female SSA (soprano I, soprano II, alto) choir, and a mixed Honor Choir. The SSA choir will be directed by Lori Hetzel, associate director of Choral Activities at UK, and the Honor Choir will be directed by Jefferson Johnson, director of Choral Activities. Special guest conductor and UK doctoral candidate Beth Wilson, director of the UK Choristers, will conduct the SATB Choir.


On Friday, the high school students will attend a special performance by the acoUstiKats and Paws and Listen, UK's popular male and female a cappella groups. The entire festival will culminate the following day with a free public concert featuring all three student choruses at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, in the Singletary Center Concert Hall.


For more information on 24th Bluegrass Choral Music Festival 2014, contact William White, administrative assistiant for UK Choirs, at


UK Choirs are part of the UK School of Music at UK College of Fine Arts. The school has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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

Craigslist Mirrors Gallery on Display at UK Chandler Hospital

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 14:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2016) – A new art exhibit, featuring the work of Eric Oglander, is currently on display at the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital. The collection, entitled Craigslist Mirrors, features photographs of mirrors taken by various patrons of Craigslist.


People sell everything on Craigslist:  bikes, dining room sets, artwork, cars and notably (for Oglander’s purposes) mirrors. An avid user of the site, Oglander first stumbled across a ghostly image of two reflected figures in 2013. Since that time, he has collected over 3,000 images of mirrors that he regularly posts on Tumblr and Instagram, documenting beautiful, banal, and surprisingly strange moments.


In this particular project, Oglander acts as visual archaeologist, archivist, and artist: unearthing, organizing, and exhibiting the almost certainly unintentionally artistic images created for a purely commercial transaction. The subjects reflected are infinitely varied: an interrupted landscape, household pets, couples, cars, wildlife, clouds, and even people dressed graduation day gowns. Viewed individually, these images feel like footnotes of a larger story. Viewed collectively, they offer a portrait of American life and society that is at once devastatingly commonplace but also captivating; basements and garages, life, love and change.  


Oglander’s interest in art was sparked during his childhood living in the country outside of Nashville where he was raised by two working artists. He spent much of his adolescence searching the woods and riverbeds seeking interesting objects like arrowheads, reptiles and wildflowers. These activities lead him to identify strongly as a collector, as well as an artist, often finding the line between the two too difficult to distinguish.


The exhibit will be on display until March or April 2017, in the West Rotating Gallery in Pavilion A in the groundfloor hallway that leads to the UK Chandler Emergency Department.


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACT: Olivia McCoy,, (859) 257-1076; Phillip Jones,





Join the Largest Student Organization On Campus

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 14:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2016)  The Student Activities Board (SAB) is now accepting applications for the 2017-18 executive team and board of directors through noon Friday, Nov. 4, either online or in the SAB office in room 365 of Blazer Dining. The applications, requirements and other necessary information can be found at


The applications available are for positions on the executive team, promotions team, seven programing committee directors and the director of market research. Executive team positions include president, vice president of internal affairs and vice president of promotions. Promotions team positions include information technology, media, public relations and two graphic designers. Programming director positions include campus life, concerts, cultural arts, engaging issues, multicultural affairs, pop culture, traditions and market research.


With no prior involvement required, SAB is looking for hard-working, passionate and creative students that want to unite the campus and community by bringing exciting events to campus. Directorship, through programming or the executive team, provides the opportunity to earn internship credit, such as COM 399 and JAT 399.


"My time with SAB has benefited me both personally and professionally,” said President Elizabeth Myers. “I recommend that all students get involved somewhere, and if that place is SAB, they will not regret meeting great people and receiving real world experience".


Applicants are highly encouraged to visit the SAB office before the application deadline. If you have any questions, please email Elizabeth Myers, SAB president, at


SAB brings more than 60 entertaining, educational and enriching programs that are reflective of contemporary issues and trends to the University of Kentucky annually. These programs are designed to enhance the college experience for students, faculty, staff and the greater Lexington community.

Connect with SAB at, follow them on Twitter at, or like them on Facebook at For more information about SAB and events, email



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



SAB CONTACT: Kaelin Massey,, 859-257-8868


MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett or Rebecca Stratton, or, 859-257-1909/859-323-2395 

UK ASB Trips Applications Close Tomorrow

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 13:33


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2016) — University of Kentucky Alternative Service Breaks (ASB) applications for winter, summer, spring and weekend trips will close tomorrow, Oct. 14. There are still spots available!


Students interested in traveling, learning new cultures and volunteering in places like Jinotega, Nicaragua; Atlanta, Georgia; David, Kentucky; Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic; the Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, Kentucky; Columbus, Ohio; among others, are encouraged to apply! 


UK ASB is a student-run organization that gives students the opportunity to travel, learn about new cultures and become more socially aware about the world around them. ASB offers leadership and service to students wanting to spend part of their winter, spring or summer breaks volunteering. ASB also offers weekend trips for those who cannot commit a full week.


Participants in these alternative service breaks travel to various places around the country and globe. This school year, ASB will be offering 15 different trips! Detailed information about the trips, costs and the application process can be found on For any further questions please feel free to contact ASB Director Meg Zugger at


Applications are out now! All UK students are eligible to apply and students will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Trips are already beginning to fill up so be sure to secure your spot today. 


The link to winter break trips can be found here. The link to spring break, summer break and weekend trips is here.


UK ASB is a program housed in the UK Center for Community Outreach (CCO). The CCO seeks to serve, connect and unite the University of Kentucky with the surrounding community in collaborative efforts to promote lifelong community service. For more information about the CCO, visit Connect with the CCO on Facebook here and on Twitter at



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



CCO CONTACT: Erica Daly,,


MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton,, 859-323-2395 

Lexington's Early Marriage Indexes of African Americans Available Online

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 12:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2016) Over the summer of 2016, the Special Collections Research Center at University of Kentucky Libraries and the Fayette County Clerk’s Office developed a pilot project that will provide online access to the Colored Marriage Indexes dated 1866-1882 and 1958-1968. The purpose of the project is to provide researchers with greater online access to early primary documents pertaining to African Americans in Kentucky. 


Details of the project, including ensuring security of the original records, took a few weeks to work out and were finalized during a sit-down meeting with Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins Jr., Deputy Clerks Meredith Nelson and Shea Brown, and Reinette Jones and Sarah Dorpinghaus from UK Special Collections Research Center. The project involved the secure in-person handoff of one volume at a time from the Clerk’s Office at 162 E. Main St. to the Digital Lab in the M.I. King Library Building on campus. Volumes were returned to the Clerk’s Office at the completion of each digitization process.


The four volumes of the Colored Marriage Indexes are the original finding aids used to locate the early marriage bonds of African Americans in Lexington. The indexes contain the name of each bride and groom, and the page number of the actual marriage bond held at the Fayette County Clerk’s Office. As the marriage indexes and bond books have been in continuous use by the public for many years, some are in fragile condition. 


The digitized versions of the indexes are now freely available to the public on ExploreUK, UK's digital library. The originals were scanned in full color at a high resolution that surpasses the national standard for digital preservation. The typed indexes have been run through optical character recognition (OCR) and are searchable.


The first two volumes of the indexes are handwritten and will be transcribed using an open-source software program developed by Eric Weig, digital library architect in the Special Collections Research Center. The program is called Libscribe. Libscribe works in conjunction with the open-source Omeka content management system to facilitate simple page transcription in order to improve digital library search accuracy. Once the transcription has been completed, it will be searchable and presented as an alternate view for each handwritten page.


“I am very pleased with the results of our collaboration with the Special Collections Research Center. The images are outstanding and will be a huge asset to genealogists and researchers everywhere,” said Blevins.


The original indexes and marriage bond books are available for use by the public in the Land Records Vault at the County Clerk’s Office, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, and copies may be made by the counter staff. 


UK Special Collections Research Center is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection and ExploreUK. The mission of the center is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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

Proposed Clinical Trial Could Change the Game for Deadly Type of Breast Cancer

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 11:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2016) –  University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center Oncologist Dr. Edward Romond spent his career at UK treating and studying breast cancer, even leading major Phase 3 clinical trials on the breast cancer drug trastuzumab in the early 2000s. Commonly known as Herceptin, this drug became a standard of care for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.


Though he retired from practice last year, Romond continues to work part-time with the research team at Markey, this time pushing toward a cure for a different, more deadly, type of breast cancer. 


"Breast cancer, we now recognize, is at least five different disease that are completely different from each other," Romond said. "And the hardest nut to crack is this one called triple-negative breast cancer."


Triple-negative breast cancer is a moniker given to a particularly aggressive group of breast cancers that often affect younger women. Unlike the receptor-positive types of breast cancer, which have biomarkers that tell oncologists which treatment the patient should respond to, triple negative breast cancers have no definitive biomarkers. If the patient does not respond well to the current standard of care, it's up to the oncologist to make an educated guess about which chemotherapy will do the job.


The good news is that triple-negative breast cancers do generally respond well to chemotherapy. However, because triple-negative breast cancers are not homogenous, and every single patient responds differently to various chemotherapies, it's difficult to predict which chemotherapy will best treat each patient's cancer.


But the researchers at the UK Markey Cancer Center are working to change that paradox. Markey's Breast Translational Group is currently developing a proposed clinical trial that could create a major shift in the way triple-negative breast cancers are treated.


Currently, after a patient is diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, she usually receives chemotherapy first to try and shrink the tumor (known as neo-adjuvant therapy), followed by surgery to remove as much of the mass as possible. The patients are then monitored for signs of recurrence. If a patient has residual cancer despite getting neoadjuvant chemotherapy, they are at a high risk for recurrence.


There are currently at least six different types of chemotherapy that can be used as a possible therapy for patients, and each one may affect each individual patient in a different way. To tailor the treatment to each distinct patient, the investigators aim to test the tumors in a set of animal model “avatars” with these different therapies to gauge the response.


Here's how the proposed trial would work: after the patient's biopsy, her cancerous tissue would be transferred into a mouse that is bred to grow human tumors, then subsequently into three dozen mice: her "avatars." While the patient undergoes neo-adjuvant chemotherapy and then surgery – a process that can take up to six months – the avatars will be divided into groups, with each group receiving one of the six available chemotherapies.


When the researchers see which avatar group has the best result, they'll know which chemotherapy should work best for that patient. Knowing this would provide additional options for women who have residual cancer after neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and may reduce their risk for disease recurrence.


"It would prevent us from having to experiment with each individual patient, and end up finding that they didn't respond to that therapy," said Kathleen O'Connor, director of Markey's Breast Translational Group. "If we can do this, then the oncologists will no longer have to guess."


Dr. Aju Mathew, a medical oncologist who treats triple-negative breast cancer patients at Markey, compares his team's game-changing proposition to the way Uber has altered the use of public and personal transportation.


"We often hear about disruptive technology — Uber being one, for example," he said. "It disrupted the current paradigm of everyone driving a car on their own or hiring a cab. This trial is our way of disrupting the current standard of care, the current technology, and the current practice of medicine, to try to change the paradigm of 'one size fits all' approach for triple-negative breast cancer patients."


Though the avatar model of research isn't new, O'Connor notes that not many researchers are using them specifically for the treatment of an individual patient. Using a trial protocol to get the tissues directly from the patient's biopsy is a key factor in making the research work.


"The important thing is that we need to get the tumor tissue before they've been exposed to chemotherapy," O'Connor said. "This is one of the things that makes our trial unique."


With the trial design in place, the team just needs to provide ample data showing that growing a patient's tumor in the avatar from biopsy will work. But to gather that data, they need more funding. Initial pilot funds stemming from Markey's National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation grant have enabled the team to establish their first set of avatars with tissues taken from patients' surgeries. But a boost in funding would help them establish the preliminary data for the trial and allow the team to then apply for major federal funding.


"We have a large group of people who have freely given their time up to this point," O'Connor said. "But we need to have money to protect the time of the researchers doing this work, and we need enough money to get the mice in order to do this."


Video produced by UK Reveal. 


Funding for triple-negative breast cancer has been a major focus for Lexington resident Cindy Praska, whose daughter Whitney was diagnosed with the disease in 2007 at age 24. After undergoing a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation at another hospital, Whitney was deemed cancer-free.


In the years following her diagnosis, Whitney became an advocate for breast cancer awareness and fundraising, becoming actively involved in the Frankfort Country Club's Rally for the Cure, which has raised money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center for nearly 20 years.


Though her initial treatment for triple-negative breast cancer was successful, Whitney then developed osteosarcoma in 2012. This time, she elected to have her surgery out of state and came to Markey for her chemotherapy. Genetic testing revealed she carried a P53 genetic mutation, which was the cause of her original cancer, and combined with the radiation she had received prior, also caused her osteosarcoma. Despite Whitney's and her doctors' best efforts, her cancer metastasized and she succumbed to the disease in November of that year.


Carrying the torch for her daughter, Cindy continues to push for education, awareness, and research toward triple-negative breast cancer and is still heavily involved in fundraising.


This Saturday, Cindy and the team behind the Frankfort Country Club Rally for the Cure have planned a "party with a purpose" called Bourbon & Jazz for the Cure to celebrate the organization's 20th anniversary. Held at the Frankfort Country Club on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m., this special fundraising gala includes a silent and live auction featuring limited-edition Buffalo Trace bourbon bottles, and the funds raised from the gala will directly benefit the research team behind this proposed clinical trial.


“Whitney helped bring awareness to this disease, and it is so rewarding to me that work is progressing so that more young women her age will live to marry, have a family, and be able to see their young children grow up,” Cindy said. “It has given me a purpose to be an advocate for these causes and it’s an honor to be supporting Markey, who we called family and home the last year of her life.”


For more information on Bourbon & Jazz for the Cure, visit the Frankfort Country Club website. To make a donation directly to the UK Markey Cancer Center for this or any other research projects, visit the Markey Cancer Foundation and specify where you would like your gift to go under "Tribute."


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or



New Director Ron Zimmer is Right at Home in UK’s Martin School

Tue, 10/11/2016 - 17:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 12, 2016) – “I’m at the point in my career where I really want to make a difference in an institution, and I think I can make a difference here at the Martin School. It’s a place I’m really passionate for.”


Those words are from University of Kentucky Professor Ron Zimmer, who on July 1, came back ‘home’ to become director of UK’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration. You see, Zimmer earned his Ph.D. in public policy at the Martin School, working with the likes of Genia Toma, Merl Hackbart and Ed Jennings, who remain stalwarts among the school’s faculty.


“From my experience here being a student, it’s just a special place where the faculty really cares about the students, not only while they’re here but after they leave and take an interest in helping you beyond the classrooms, so I wanted to give back in that way,” Zimmer said.


Consistently ranked in the top 25 nationally among public policy programs, UK’s Martin School is in the top 5 for its public finance, financial management and budgeting program. With about 65 to 70 students in its master's degree offerings and 15 to 20 doctoral students at any given time, the Martin School can provide its students the personal touch.


The school is also providing new academic offerings. This semester, the Martin School began offering an online, 12-credit-hour, four-course graduate level Certificate of Public Financial Management. The first two classes are being taught this fall and two more will be offered in the spring. Each class in the certificate program is being offered in an eight-week module. 


Two of the courses have been developed in partnership with the Von Allmen School of Accountancy, part of UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics, including a course taught by Urton Anderson, the director of the Von Allmen School.


Martin School Professor Merl Hackbart, who spearheaded the action to establish the new program, said, "The effective partnership forged by the Martin School and the Von Allmen School of Accountancy has made possible a unique program, which establishes a niche serving an important national need -- the enhancement of financial management processes and procedures of public and nonprofit organizations. The Certificate of Public Financial Management will help individuals enhance their knowledge and career advancement."


The Martin School will also soon launch a 36-hour Master of Public Financial Management (MPFM) program as a result of the Council on Postsecondary Education's recent unanimous vote to approve the degree. Also offered completely online, the MPFM will be the school's fourth degree program and will be distinct nationally because of its focus.


Another plus for the Certificate of Public Financial Management is that students who complete the 12 hours will be able to transfer that credit to the master's program.


"The programs leverage the nationally recognized strength in financial management of the Martin and Von Allmen Schools to train students here in the U.S. and internationally,” Zimmer said.


The existing Martin School degree programs are the Master of Public Administration, the Master of Public Policy, and the Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration.


Among Zimmer’s future goals is to develop undergraduate course offerings.


“I think there’s a real need or demand for that type of major and developing those types of skills for undergraduates," he said. "There aren’t many universities across the country, actually, that have undergraduate majors in public policy, so there’s a real opportunity to provide a skill set not many other schools could provide.”


Zimmer, who is nationally regarded for his educational policy research, previously served on the faculties of both Michigan State University and Vanderbilt University.

Prior to that, he worked at the Rand Corporation, a highly respected research ‘think tank’ for nine years.


The Martin School’s new director wholeheartedly endorses the school’s growing reputation for bringing prominent public figures to the UK campus to engage in dialogue on vital issues of the day.


For instance, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle will deliver the 2nd Annual Wendell Ford Public Policy Lecture at UK Tuesday, Oct. 18.


In an address titled ‘The 2016 Federal Elections: Crisis Point in a Dysfunctional Political System,’ Daschle will comment on anticipated effects of the current federal elections on partisan gridlock, the lost art of compromise and his proposals for improving the political climate. The presentation will begin at 4 p.m. in the new Kincaid Auditorium of the Gatton College of Business and Economics.


Daschle currently serves as chair of the board of directors of the Center for American Progress and remains actively engaged in major public policy debates.


Following the presentation, Al Cross, former political reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal and director of UK’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, will moderate a conversation with Daschle, joined by Steve Voss, associate professor in UK’s Department of Political Science, and Mike Duncan, former chair of the Republican National Committee.


The event is sponsored by the Martin School,  UK, and co-sponsors include the UK Libraries’ Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship, the Council of State Governments, the UK College of Communication and Information, and the Gatton College.


Admission to this event is free and open to the public. The Kincaid Auditorium in the Gatton College has seating for 500, and people planning to attend are encouraged to arrive at least 15 minutes early.


The lecture is named in honor of the late Wendell Ford, who served as governor of Kentucky before being elected to four consecutive terms in the U.S. Senate. After his retirement from public office, Ford served as a Distinguished Fellow at the Martin School.


Last year’s initial Ford Lecture featured Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former editor of Newsweek magazine Jon Meacham as he helped to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


“The Ford Lecture is fast becoming a signature event for the Martin School and for the University of Kentucky,” Zimmer said. “To hear some of the stories from these individuals who have lived the experience I think is instrumental and really important for students. I am confident that this will be an important, informative, and stimulating program not only for our students, but also for our faculty, staff and members of the greater Kentucky community.”


To hear a recent "UK at the Half" interview with Zimmer, click on the play button below.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200;