Congratulations to our 2015 Hall of Distinguished Alumni Honorees

What makes our university thrive as a community and a center for knowledge? It's the people--and not only the outstanding faculty, staff and students--but the alumni who create and continue a legacy of excellence.

Last week, our community honored 23 former UK students — leaders who have impacted the Commonwealth, the nation and the world through their work — with induction into the 2015 Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

I had the pleasure of joining the UK Alumni Association in recognizing these exceptional individuals. It was yet another reminder of the critical efforts taking place, on our campus and beyond, that positively impact lives and address complex challenges.

We know that our work is deeply rooted in a sense of community. I thank each of these individuals listed below for making our community even stronger.  

The 2015 Hall of Distinguished Alumni honorees include:

*Deceased

Joyce Hamilton Berry

Joyce Hamilton Berry is a prominent clinical psychologist with her own practice in the Washington, District of Columbia, area. The first female African American to earn a Ph.D. from UK in 1970, she is a regular contributor to magazines such as Ebony, Essence and Cover Girl and has appeared on television to give advice and counsel. She was a member of the Congress of Racial Equality and the Urban League and has a history of speaking out against discrimination. Berry earned her master's in special education from the UK College of Education in 1967 and her doctoral degree in guidance and counseling in 1970.

Amy L. Bondurant

Amy L. Bondurant served as the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in France from 1997-2001, following a professional career spanning more than 20 years in government and private legal practice. She is the managing director of Bozman Partners, with offices in Washington, District of Columbia, and Paris, France, and also served on the boards of Rolls-Royce PLC and the American Hospital of Paris. Bondurant earned her bachelor's in telecommunications from the UK College of Communication and Information in 1973.

Stephen B. Bright

Stephen B. Bright is president and senior counsel at the Southern Center for Human Rights, a public interest law program that focuses on human rights for those who are facing the death penalty, class action law suits and unconstitutional practices in the criminal justice system. He has been a fellow or visiting lecturer in law at Yale Law School since 1993. Bright has received numerous honors, including the American Bar AssociationThurgood Marshall Award in 1998. Bright earned his bachelor's in political science from the UK College of Arts and Sciences in 1971 and his juris doctorate degree from the UK College of Law in 1974.

Timothy A. Byers

Timothy A. Byers, (retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen.) was the civil engineer at U.S. Air Force headquarters, Washington, District of Columbia. He was responsible for installation support functions at 166 Air Force bases worldwide with an annual budget of more than $12 billion. He received the Army Corps of Engineers Bronze deFleury Medal for demonstrating a high degree of professional competence, standards of integrity and moral character, with devotion to duty and country. Byers earned his bachelor's in civil engineering from the UK College of Engineering in 1981.

Jennifer Burcham Coffman

Jennifer Burcham Coffman is a retired U.S. District Judge, serving joint appointments to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, on which she served as the chief judge starting in 2007, and for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. She ran a private practice in Lexington from 1977 to 1993 and was an adjunct instructor at the UK College of Law from 1979 to 1981. Coffman also served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Coffman earned her bachelor's in English from the UK College of Arts and Sciences in 1969, her master's in library science from the UK College of Communication and Information in 1971, and her juris doctorate degree from the UK College of Law in 1978.

L. Berkley Davis Jr.

L. Berkley Davis is known internationally for innovations leading to the development and worldwide implementation of low-nitrous-oxide-emission gas turbines for electric-power generation. For more than four decades, his contributions to combustion evolution have made their mark at General Electric and in the power industry. He holds more than 20 patents related to gas combustion, and in 2006 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Davis earned his bachelor's in mechanical engineering in 1966, his master's in mechanical engineering in 1970, and his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering in 1972, all from the UK College of Engineering.

Brady J. Deaton

Brady J. Deaton is chancellor emeritus at the University of Missouri, where he was chancellor from 2004-2013 and held numerous other positions, such as provost, chief of staff and chairman of the Agricultural Economics Department. He has also participated in a number of advisory roles with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Deaton previously held faculty positions at the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech, and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. Deaton earned his bachelor's in agricultural economics from the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment in 1966, and his master's in diplomacy and international commerce from the UK Graduate School in 1968.

Thomas B. Deen

Thomas B. Deen was the executive director of the Transportation Research Board, the national transportation research organization and a division within the nonprofit National Research Council of the National Academies of Science and Engineering. He was also a partner atAlan M. Voorhees and Associates, a worldwide leader in urban transportation. Deen pioneered the development and application of methods analyzing urban transportation problems and designing urban transit systems. Deen earned his bachelor's in civil engineering from the UK College of Engineering in 1951.

Holloway Fields Jr.*

The late Holloway Fields Jr. was the first African American to receive a bachelor’s degree at UK, graduating from the College of Engineering. He became a test program engineer at General Electric Co. and held positions of increasing technical and managerial responsibility. This work resulted in more than a dozen successfully deployed system types for more than 500 systems at installations for field sites. Fields was inductedinto the College of Engineering Hall of Distinction in 1998. Fields earned his bachelor's in electrical engineering from the UK College of Engineering in 1951.

Ernest Lee Fletcher

Former Kentucky Gov. Ernest L. Fletcher hasbeen an Air Force fighter pilot, engineer, family doctor, lay minister, state legislator, and U.S. Congressman. His legislative career began in 1995 as astate representative for Kentucky’s 78th District. Fletcher also served his community as a family practice physician in Lexington for 12 years, including two years as CEO of the Saint Joseph Medical Foundation. He is currently involved in business development and health care consulting. Fletcher earned his bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the UK College of Engineering in 1974 and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the UK College of Medicine in 1984.

John R. Guthrie

John “Jack” R. Guthrie is the former chairman and founder of Guthrie Mayes Public Relations, a large firm that has servednational and international corporations including Philip Morris, Toyota Motor Manufacturing and United Parcel Service, among many others. He also was one of the founding partners of Worldcom Public Relations Group, the largest network of independent public relations firms in the world. He served on the UK Board of Trustees from 1996-2002. Guthrie earned his bachelor's in journalism from the UK College of Communication and Information in 1963.

Ardis D. Hoven

Dr. Ardis D. Hoven, an internal medicine and infectious disease specialist, was president of the American Medical Association (June 2013 to June 2014). She was a member of its board of trustees since 2005, its secretary for 2008–2009, chairwoman for 2010–2011, and immediate past chairwoman from 2011 to 2012. Hoven is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Disease Society of America, and was named in Modern Healthcare Magazine’s Top 25 Women in Healthcare. Hoven earned her bachelor's in microbiology from the UK College of Arts and Sciences in 1966 and her Doctor of Medicine degree from the UK College of Medicine in 1970.

Robert Milton Huffaker

Robert Milton Huffaker is a scientist who has worked with NASA on the Apollo space program. His lunar physics included the creation and direction of laser Doppler systems, significantly impacting the aerospace industry and its understanding of turbulence and wind patterns. Huffaker founded Coherent Technologies Inc. (acquired by Lockheed Martin), a company focused on using laser radar systems for military/homeland defense and meteorological applications. Huffaker earned his bachelor's in physics from the UK College of Arts and Sciences in 1957.

Terence Hunt

Terence Hunt is a retired deputy bureau chief for the Associated Press (AP) in Washington, District of Columbia. He covered the White House for 25 years, from Ronald Reagan’s presidency through George W. Bush’s administration, reporting from about 90 countries and every state in the United States. Hunt won the Merriman Smith Award for presidential reportingunder deadline pressure. While at UK, he served as executive editor of the Kentucky Kernel. Hunt earned his bachelor's in journalism from the UK College of Communication and Information in 1967.

Howard L. Lewis

Howard L. Lewis is chairman, CEO and founder of Family Heritage Life Insurance Company of America, beginning his career with Central Trust Co., Picker International Corp., Progressive Insurance Co. and Capital American Life Insurance Co. He gives support to groups such as the Boy Scouts of America, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Wigs for Kids. Lewis has also been a cabinet member for Harvest for Hunger, which feeds Cleveland’s homeless. Lewis earned his bachelor's in business administration from the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics in 1970.

Thomas W. Lewis

Thomas W. Lewis created a successful home building business, T. W. Lewis & Co. (later sold to David Weekley Homes) in Phoenix, Arizona. He and his business have been recognized with multiple national industry awards, including being recognized as the first inductee into the National Housing Quality Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2006 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Professional Builder Magazine and the National Housing Quality Award Committee. Lewis earned his bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the UK College of Engineering in 1971.

James W. May Jr.

Dr. James W. May Jr. is internationally known for his groundbreaking work in reconstructive surgery and has served as president of the most prestigious associations of reconstructive surgeons in the world. May is professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, where he has taught for 32 years, and is chief, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, a post he has held since 1982. He holds two patents related to vascular issues. May earned his bachelor's in chemistry from the UK College of Arts and Sciences in 1965.

W. Rodney McMullen

W. Rodney McMullen is CEO and board chairman of the Kroger Co., having started in 1978 as a part-time stock clerk. He held increasingly responsible positions, including financial analyst; chief financial officer; executive vice president of strategy, planning and finance; and president and COO. McMullen has been on the board of directors of Cincinnati Financial Corp., dunnhumby Ltd., dunnhumbyUSA and Xavier University Board of Trustees. McMullen earned his bachelor's in accounting in 1981 and his master's in accounting in 1982, both from the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics.

Jeffrey P. Okeson

Dr. Jeffrey P. Okeson is a full professor in the UK College of Dentistry Department of Oral Health Science, where he is also chairman, as well as program director for the college’s postgraduate Orofacial Pain program. Okeson is an accomplished teacher, clinical investigator, mentor and clinician who has published more than 220 peer reviewed articles and edited two textbooks on tempromandibular disorders and orofacial pain, now translated into 11 languages. Okeson earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the UK College of Dentistry in 1972.

Beverly Moore Eaves Perdue

Former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Eaves Perdue, whose term of office was from 2008-2012, was the first woman to lead that state. She also served as the 32nd lieutenant governor, was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives and served five terms in the North Carolina Senate. Currently, she is founder and chairwoman of the Digital Learning Institute, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and theCarnegie Corp. of New York. Perdue earned her bachelor's in history from the UK College of Arts and Sciences in 1969.

Peter Perlman

During nearly 50 years practicing law, Peter Perlman has won more than 50 multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients. He is recognized worldwide as a specialist in product-liability and crash-worthiness litigation. Perlman was president of the Litigation Counsel of America, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Civil Justice Foundation and the Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys. He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Perlman earned his bachelor's in philosophy from the UK College of Arts and Sciences in 1959 and his juris doctorate degree from the UK College of Law in 1962.

Theodore Strickland

Former Ohio Gov. Theodore “Ted” Strickland was in office from 2007-2011, previously serving in the U.S. House of Representatives (1993–1995, 1997–2007). He has also been employed as a minister, a psychologist and a college professor. Strickland was the director of the Methodist Children’s Home in Versailles. He also worked as an assistant professor of psychology at Shawnee State University and a consulting psychologist at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. Strickland earned his master's in guidance and counseling from the UK College of Education in 1966 and his doctoral degree in educational and counseling psychology from the college in 1980.

Richard E. Whitt*

Richard E. Whitt received the 1978 PulitzerPrize for his coverage in the Louisville Courier-Journal of the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club fire. He won the 1984 John Hancock Award and was a finalist for the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for a series on coal mine safety in Kentucky. Whitt was also a 1988 Pulitzer Prize finalist for a series on public service and received the 1988 Southern Journalism Award from the Institute for SouthernStudies for a series on vote fraud in Kentucky. Whitt earned his bachelor's in journalism from the UK College of Communication and Information in 1970.

The first official recognition ceremony for the members of the UK Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni took place in 1965, making 2015 a special year as it marks the 50th anniversary of the hall's formal celebration. However, some individuals were selected as early as 1963, publicly announced in 1964, but only officially recognized in the first ceremony of 1965. With the 2015 honorees, the total number of alumni honored to date is 306 from more than 220,000 UK graduates. To find out more information on previous inductees, visit http://www.ukalumni.net/hoda.

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