The Ambassador - July 2021

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THE AMBASSADOR College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Alumni Association

July 2021

TOM HAMMOND

‘67, ‘18 Animal Sciences


From the Dean

Friends, I hope you are enjoying this summer and the transition to the pre-COVID lifestyle, after many challenges that affected our college family.

Our college finished the 2020-21 academic year strong with an in-person graduation for our May 2021 and August 2021 graduates along with May, August and December 2020 graduates who were invited to participate. Our college is proud of our success in supporting students. Some indications of our support include the fact that we have awarded more than $3 million in scholarships in the past four years, thanks to your generosity. Another success is the fact that nearly 1 in 5 students enrolled in fall 2020 were underrepresented minorities. Also, we are proud that our first-generation student enrollment (28.4% for Fall 2020) has nearly doubled since 2010; this number is about 30% higher than UK’s overall rate! Our students continue to excel. CAFE will have a record four students in the newest cohort of UK Gaines fellows. The Gaines fellowships recognize outstanding academic performance, demonstrated ability to conduct independent research, an interest in public issues and a desire to enhance understanding of the human condition through the humanities. With funds from the college and UK Office of Undergraduate Research, we were able to award 19 grants this spring to support student research projects. Allowing our students to participate in meaningful research at the undergraduate level gives them a perspective and competitive advantage that simply cannot be found elsewhere. Additionally, seven of the eight 2021 UK sustainability summer research fellowships were awarded to CAFE students and mentors. This fall, we will begin a collaboration with the College of Nursing to help meet the need for more nurses in rural Kentucky. The Ag Nursing Scholars Program for Kentucky Health and Wellness will provide a way for Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition majors to seamlessly earn a second degree in nursing. CAFE and Nursing are also teaming up to expand community safety and health education and research through the Cooperative Extension Service. Under the partnership, a community safety and health nurse will collaborate with Extension’s program and staff development team to develop and deliver safety and health education, promotion programs and materials. Partnerships and collaborations are important to our overall success as educators. Whether those are collaborations with fellow colleges, with grant agencies to support undergraduate research or through the support of stakeholders and friends, all are critical to meeting the needs of students, Kentucky and the world. We are looking forward to having our students, faculty and staff back on campus this fall. We also look forward to seeing many of you in October at Roundup. As always, thank you for your support.

Nancy M. Cox Vice President for Land-grant Engagement Dean, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

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BOARD OF DIRECTORS EXECUTIVE BOARD

College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Alumni Association

AFFILIATE NETWORK REPS

PHILANTHROPY & ALUMNI Brent McCauley 859-257-1207

Elizabeth Vaughn 859-257-8783

Danielle Jostes 859-218-1176

Jonathan Furnish 859-257-7211

Tressa Neal

859-257-2146

Cynthia Byars 859-257-4069

Sr. Director of Philanthropy & Alumni

brent.mccauley@uky.edu

Assoc. Sr. Director of Philanthropy elizabeth.vaughn@uky.edu

Director of Equine Philanthropy

danielle.jostes@uky.edu

Assoc. Director of Alumni Eng.

jonathan.furnish@uky.edu

Assoc. Director of Donor Relations tressa.neal@uky.edu

Services Mngr. & Exec. Assistant

Sara Mendoza 859-323-7809

President Quentin Tyler ‘02, ‘05 Vice President Melissa Tomblin ‘02 Secretary Michaela Mineer ‘18 Treasurer Ben Conner ‘16 Affiliate Network Representative Stephanie Chamberlain ‘99, ‘00 Past President Sue Whitaker ‘64 UK Alumni Association Liaison Michelle McDonald ‘84, ‘93

cynthia.byars@uky.edu

Business Officer

sara.gardner71@uky.edu

Bluegrass Jacob Ball ‘11 Dietetics & Human Nutrition Jessica Coffie ‘06, ‘10 Cristina Hiten ‘06, ‘10 Equine Autry Graham ‘16 Forestry & Natural Resources Michael Shearer ‘74, ‘76 Fort Harrod Brian Osterman ‘00 Green River Darla Kirkland ‘00 Lake Cumberland Chelsey Anderson ‘11 Licking River Stephanie Chamberlain ‘99, ‘00 Lincoln Trail Jeremy Hinton ‘98 Rick Ryan ‘77 Louisville Keith Jeffries ‘85 Mammoth Cave H.H. Barlow III ‘72 MANRRS Tiffany Monroe ‘17 Northeast Danny Bailey ‘68, ‘71 Northern Kentucky Whitney Stith ‘90 Pennyrile Nancy Kelley ‘81 Purchase Lena Mallory ‘94 Quicksand Thomas Cravens ‘83, ‘90 Wilderness Trail vacant

STUDENT DIRECTORS

Ag. Education & Ag. Economics Gracie Furnish Family Sciences Meghan Harless Individualized Ag. Emma Heimlich

FACULTY REPRESENTATIVES Teaching Research Extension

Will Snell ‘83, ‘85, ‘89 Robert Houtz Laura Stephenson

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Jill Conway ‘00 Diana Doggett ‘75, ‘77 Brandon Gilles ‘12 James Gilles ‘10 Kim Henken ‘92, ‘95 Amelia Iliohan ‘19 Brooke Jenkins ‘00, ‘05 Bill McCloskey ‘84, ‘87 Martha Nall ‘70 Megan Tennison ‘13, ‘17

ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL

Dean Nancy Cox Associate Dean for Instruction Carmen Agouridis ‘05 Assistant Dean for Diversity Antomia Farrell ‘12 Director of Student Relations Wayne Centers ‘08

STAY CONNECTED The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Philanthropy & Alumni office is located in the E.S. Good Barn on the University of Kentucky campus. 1451 University Drive | Lexington, KY 40546 The Ambassador is published three times yearly by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Alumni Association.

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ALUMNI FOCUS STUDENT SPOTLIGHT HISTORIC COOPER HOUSE COOPER HOUSE REIMAGINED IT STARTS WITH US

@ukyagriculture

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THANK YOU A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THE FOR THEIR SUPPORT THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.


Alumni Focus

TOM HAMMOND: GROWING UP IN COOPER HOUSE By Aimee Nielson


T

he corner of Cooper Drive and Nicholasville Road in Lexington hasn’t always been a bustling hub of activity. In fact, fewer than 100 years ago, it was the scene of an idyllic, Greek Revival-style house, surrounded by acres and acres of farmland and a few barns—the home of agricultural research for the University of Kentucky. “There was nothing else there; it was just a typical farm,” said Tom Hammond, UK alum and iconic NBC sportscaster. “The Good Barn was actually there; it was the dairy barn. There was no football stadium, no medical center. It was all farm. There wasn’t even a Cooper Drive. You had to take Tates Creek [Road] and go all the way around from Chevy Chase and back out. Even Central Baptist Hospital wasn’t there. It’s changed so much.” Soon after Hammond was born in 1944, his father Claude Hammond was deployed with the U.S. Army. His mother Catherine Cooper Hammond took Tom and they moved in with her father, Thomas Poe Cooper. Cooper was the dean of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and he lived in the farmhouse Hammond described above. They lived on the farm until Claude Hammond was discharged but continued to visit often after that. Living on the farm was magical. Hammond likens the experience to living at a Disney theme park. His grandfather always raised a garden behind Cooper House with a rose-covered entry way. It wasn’t all roses and fun though. Hammond said the house was already old when they lived in it and it had a lot of noises— moans and groans in the night. “It was enough to scare a young boy,” he said. “Sometimes I had to run into my grandfather’s room and jump into bed with him.” He remembers tractors on the farm, but also recalls a few draft horses employed to pull wagons and such. “There was one named Billy,” Hammond recalled. “When he would see me in the garden, he would come over to the fence. I’d find something to feed him, whether it was corn shucks or something else, and we became friends. That was my first interaction with horses.” As a rambunctious youngster, Hammond admits he probably raised a few eyebrows with his antics. “I’m sure I was a terror to most of the workers,” he said. “They had to rescue me one time. When they were planting a tree, somehow, I fell into a hole. I don’t know how long I was in there, but I was there crying, and they finally came and got me out.” Hammond can tell stories of his memories of Cooper House all day. “If you’re facing Cooper House, the living room would have been the first room on the right,” he reminisced. “I can remember the radio being in the corner. There was no television then. At Christmastime, the Christmas tree would go in that spot. On the left side, the first room was my grandfather’s office. He had a desk in there that UK President Dr. (Frank L.) McVey gave him when he retired, which I now have in my home.” His memories of the way the house looked at the time are vivid.

“I remember my grandmother reading to me as we sat in the hallway, sometimes in the living room,” he said. “After you enter the hallway of Cooper House, there was a cherry wood spiral staircase on the left. We used to sit opposite that. The first thing you would notice as you walked into the house was an oval stained-glass window, right by the spiral staircase. The door then led out onto the porch. I remember it all so well.” His time on the farm and his relationship with his grandfather heavily influenced Hammond’s decision to attend UK and pursue a degree in animal science. He graduated in 1967, also following in the footsteps of his parents, both UK graduates. While attending UK, Hammond met his wife of 54 years, Sheilagh Rogan. Together, they have three children. Hammond said he never intended to have a career in journalism and broadcasting. He describes himself as shy, not a great candidate to be in the public eye. His primary interest was horses. In the summers, he visited racetracks and even worked as a groom. “I got into broadcasting by accident,” he said, explaining that his friend Tom Gentry introduced him to Dave Hooper, who worked for the “Daily Racing Form” and had a nightly race results show on WVLK. “Dave Hooper was being transferred by the ‘Racing Form’ to Miami. He couldn’t find anybody to take his spot on the radio … I said, ‘I bet I can do that.’ And he said, ‘Well, see you down there tomorrow at 5.’ I’m sure I was horrible, but there wasn’t anybody else to choose, so I got the job reading the race results on the radio for $35 a week.’” That job was the first of many media gigs that eventually led Hammond to become news director for WVLK and then to be an announcer for horse sales in Ocala, Illinois, Oklahoma, Maryland and the All-American Sale in Ruidoso, New Mexico. From there, he moved into television with a job at WLEX 18 in Lexington and then moonlighted as sales announcer for Keeneland. Before long, Hammond was rubbing shoulders with NBC Sports greats Billy Packer, Al McGuire and Dick Enberg when they came to town for basketball games. “I befriended the producers, Dick Enberg especially,” he said. “One of these trips in, this was at the old UK Memorial Coliseum, he said, ‘I sure would like to see Secretariat. Can you arrange for me to see him?’” He said he had some time after the [basketball] game before he flew out. So, I took him to see Secretariat. Seth Hancock was with us, and Enberg asked Seth and me, “Now, how do you know a good horse?” I asked what he meant, pedigree, confirmation and then Seth says, “Sometimes you can see it just in their eyes,” and then Secretariat looked Enberg right in the eye. He told that story for years. It really made an impression on him.’” The NBC connections eventually led to Hammond calling his first Breeder’s Cup in 1984, and the rest is history. He became part of the broadcasting elite. For the next 34 years, he announced major Thoroughbred stakes races and the National Football League. He was NBC’s play-by-play announcer for Notre Dame football and the AFL on NBC. He was involved in the coverage of continued on pg. 6

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13 Olympic games as chief commentator for track and field in the summer and figure skating and ice dancing in the winter. Hammond formally retired from his NBC duties in 2018. Even at the height of his career, he remained humble and always kept Lexington as his home base. He said one thing that kept him humble was a simple philosophy that bodes well in all aspects of life. “Don’t try to prove how much you know, because you will just prove how much you don’t know,” he said. “That applies as a broadcaster in a lot of sports. I always felt like we were reporters. Now, it seems like everybody must be a personality. But I always thought that people didn’t tune in to hear me. They tuned in because they wanted to see that event. And if I could help them enjoy that event, that’s my job.” As for a bit of advice for current students wanting to pursue a similar career, Hammond believes in hands-on experiences in the field, flexibility and honesty. “Education is great, but experience is what really helps distinguish one person from another, and it enables them to get and keep a job. So, in your summer vacations or whatever, do whatever relates to what you want to do. And of course, be flexible, because you might wind up doing something completely different from what you thought, like me, that you find that you have an aptitude for which could be good. So be flexible and don’t turn down any opportunities to find out about something you might want to do.” “And if you’re going into broadcasting learn to write, relax and be yourself. Don’t try to be what you think a broadcaster should be. It’s easy to say to relax, but hard to do sometimes, especially when you’re going before 50 million people for the Olympics. When you’ve done it often enough, you can relax. And when you relax, then your abilities and your stories and all the good things can come out.” Since retirement, Hammond has done some recording and a few special projects. He’s also concentrated his attention more on his family’s legacy. He’s looking forward to seeing the Cooper House restored and repurposed once again as a gateway to the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. He said he’s excited to see it return to some semblance of its original grandeur. “My grandfather spent his adult life devoted to the college, and it’s been a big part of my family as well,” he said. “South campus gets lost in the shuffle these days, so it will be a nice anchor there. Hopefully the restored home will help perpetuate my grandfather’s memory. You can measure his impact to the university by all the things named after him … Cooper House, Cooper Drive, Cooperstown, the Thomas Poe Cooper Forestry Building, the Cooper campus of KET. It would be great to be able to go to the top floor of [Cooper House] and get a glass of Kentucky craft beer, wine or Kentucky bourbon.”

Top: Tom at the 2012 summer Olympic Games in London. Middle: Tom with former University of Kentucky basketball player and sports broadcaster, Larry Conley. Bottom left: Tom after receiving his Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Kentucky in 2018. Bottom right: Tom speaking to a group of students inside Cooper House.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF COOPER HOUSE ON PAGE 8.


Student Spotlight

GRACE CLARK

COMMUNITY AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT MINOR IN AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS MAY 2021

HOMETOWN: Franklin, KY ACTIVITIES: +College of Agriculture, Food and

Environment Student Ambassador +CAFE Student Council Club Representative +UK Horse Racing Club Member +UK Dressage Team Member & Officer +Social Media Coordinator & Photographer at Kentucky Downs Racing +Marketing Intern & Tour Guide at Darley America +Intern and Public Affairs Assistant at the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy +Grassroots Outreach Coordinator at the Kentucky Equine Education Project. Q: What led you to choose the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment? A: I was drawn to the College because of the wide array of opportunities. I wanted a place where I could not only learn in a classroom setting, but in the field as well. The College and the Department of Community and Leadership Development have provided that for me – courses and classroom experiences that helped me improve and prime my skills, along with experiential learning opportunities that tested those skills.

Q: What does the college mean to you? Describe your overall experience. A: As cliché as it may sound, the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment has become a home and family to me. Our

community has genuinely become one of my favorite communities, whether it’s in person or virtual. I was drawn to this college because of students, faculty, and staff who support each other in and out of the classroom. I never imagined I would feel such pride in a college and major, but here I am, telling everyone who will listen, that we have the best college in the world.

Q: How is the college preparing you for your future? A: My time in the College has prepared me for my future through lectures, discussions and other hands-on learning experiences that

align with my goals, and even helped me to better shape my future plans. I gained clarity about what I hope to do in the future thanks to my classes and extracurricular activities, along with the people I have met along the way. I wouldn’t be where I am today without this College.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 15 years? A: In 15 years, I hope to run a boutique marketing and communications agency that focuses on the agricultural and equine industries in the Bluegrass. I love using storytelling in its many forms to help improve communities, especially those I hold dear to my heart. Kentucky is such an incredibly unique state, and I want to do what I can to share the stories of the people and industries that make it special.

Q: Why would you recommend the college to future students? A: I wholeheartedly recommend this college because it has something for everyone, and a wealth of people who want to help

students grow personally and professionally. I chose the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment because of the diverse choice of majors and minors, clubs, activities, and classes, and I fell in love with the College because of the people who work to support those around them. It is simply the perfect combination that enhances education and growth.

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HISTORIC COOPER HOUSE By Aimee Nielson

Around 1865, a Greek Revival home was built in Lexington on what is now the south side of the University of Kentucky campus. At that time, it was surrounded by farmland with no easy way through town. In 1887, the Agricultural Experiment Station of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky bought the home and surrounding 48.5 acres to serve as a research farm and residence for the acting station director and dean of agriculture. The farm was the foundation of the growing station and the current UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. By 1908, the A&M College became the State University, and the Agricultural Experiment Station had grown to more than 230 acres. The station director and dean Melville Amasa Scovell and his team began repairing fences, tilling, surveying plots and roads, and seeding the original 48.5 acres in grass. In a letter to S.E. Bennett, former veterinary science professor, Scovell said, “We have one of the finest farms anywhere, and we are very proud of it. The station is growing rapidly.” Thomas Poe Cooper became dean and director in 1918. He stayed in the position longer than any other dean. During his tenure, he also served as acting UK president from 1940-1941, but turned down the opportunity to be president in favor of staying in his role in the College of Agriculture. When he turned 70 in 1951, he had to step down, according to university policy at that time. Cooper’s grandson Tom Hammond, retired

08 | JULY 2021

NBC sportscaster, said Cooper was dean and director during many notable seasons. “He was there for the end of World War I. He was there for the Roaring Twenties, for the Great Depression, for World War II and for the beginning of the Cold War,” Hammond said. “There’ll never be another like him again.” Hammond and his mother Catherine Cooper Hammond lived in the house for several years while Hammond’s father Claude served in the military. He remembers the house with vivid detail from the oval stained-glass window, red brick and cherry wood, spiral staircase to the gardens, the detached garage and an old walnut tree with a swing on a lowhanging branch. The tree is still standing. Many pieces of furniture that were in Cooper House, now occupy space in Hammond’s Lexington home. The residence at the corner of Cooper Drive and Nicholasville Road was named for Cooper, along with a host of other roads, awards and structures at the university, such as Thomas Poe Cooper Forestry Building, Cooperstown apartments, Cooper Drive and the Thomas Poe Cooper Awards that annually recognize outstanding Kentucky farm

leaders and outstanding UK faculty achievement. From 1887-1969, Cooper House served as residence of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s dean. After that it became the home of the Landscape Architecture Department. It now, sits empty waiting, patiently for restoration to begin.


Photos of the Cooper House starting in the late 1800’s. At left, pictured is a young Tom Hammond with his sister, Susan, on the porch of the house and playing in the yard. Above, Tom is standing at the staircase as he visits the house in more recent years.

TO LEARN ABOUT THE FUTURE OF COOPER HOUSE, SEE PAGE 10.


COOPER HOUSE REIMAGINED By Aimee Nielson

After many years of sitting empty, the historic Cooper House is ready for her makeover and set to be the new “front door” to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. The college broke ground on the facility in September 2019, with plans to begin construction in 2020. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic interrupted and delayed the timeline, but it will soon be back on track in 2021. Construction for the approximately $4 million facelift and expansion will usher in a new, exciting look for the university’s south campus. The house will return to its red-brick, white-trim stature, joining the past to the future. New reception areas will welcome prospective students, faculty, staff, visitors and industry partners. Outdoor gathering areas will encourage community and collaboration in a beautiful setting. The entire area will be a welcoming place for future alumni events. On the first floor, visitors will experience a museum that will walk them through the history of Kentucky agriculture and the

10 | JULY 2021

history of the college. Office space on the upper floors will house the college’s Office of Philanthropy and Alumni. Cooper House faces Nicholasville Road, in close proximity to the future home of the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits. The Beam Institute will educate the next generation of distillers through a curriculum that develops the skills needed to succeed in the distilled spirits industry at graduate, undergraduate and professional levels.

Pictured are renderings of what the Cooper House renovation and expansion will be.

This renovation will be a partnership between the university and donors committed to the progress of the college. Naming opportunities are in development for the Cooper House. If you are interested in learning more about naming opportunities and how to make your impact on the new front door of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, please contact Brent McCauley, CAFE’s senior director of philanthropy. Brent can be reached by phone at 859-257-1207 or by email at brent.mccauley@uky.edu.


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It Starts With Us

FINDING HIS PLACE IN THE WORLD: UK GRAD ZACHARY CHANEY By Carol Lea Spence

Zachary Chaney is heading to law school in the fall. That’s not so unusual, but his journey might seem atypical. Well, to some, but not to Chaney himself, or to the extension arts agent who started him on his path. In fourth grade, Chaney discovered ACT, The Artists Collaborative Theatre in Elkhorn City, and in doing so, found his voice. The Pike County company was run by the arts agent Stephanie Richards, currently a University of Kentucky fine arts extension specialist. At the time the 9-year-old Chaney discovered the group, they were holding auditions for “The Wizard of Oz,” one of his favorite movies. Of course, he had to try out. That show was the start of a whole new life. “I walked in on that first day not knowing what to expect, and I don’t think I walked out of that building until I graduated high school in 2017,” Chaney said. “I had some part in all eight productions every single year. My main thing was acting, but if there was a show that didn’t have a role that fit me, then I ran tech, lighting, sound or was house manger.” Chaney learned a lot working with ACT, including discipline. He said Richards ran “a tight ship” and because of that he learned to take responsibility for his work. Theater also taught him to work with people. “Just having that expectation of me being professional 100% of the time taught me how to network with people, and it taught me how to talk with people. Those are skills you don’t really get anywhere else,” he said. Richards said that’s part of the power of the arts. “When a young person is empowered with

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responsibility and expectations, they rise to the occasion. They rise to that level of expectation,” she said. “We expected the most out of him and the other kids, and when he was empowered and he had that responsibility, he figured out how good he was.”

I had been interested in law and politics. If it weren’t for the arts and extension, I don’t think I would have known that the College of Ag houses a lot more than traditional agriculture,” he said.

Perhaps this is where his interest in politics and community flickered to life. Richards said she always used the shows to teach life lessons about what was going on in the world.

“I really love leadership. I love community and working in community. Community theater was a huge part of that, how you get into a community and how you give back. I really thought CLD was a fit, and it turns out that after four years, it’s like my second family,” he said.

“I was very open about real life struggles or about having a voice or about being a strong woman or young person,” she said. “That’s one of the philosophies that all the directors (at ACT) have; you have a place in this world and is a valuable place.” When it came time to head to college to major in chemistry and ultimately become a doctor, Chaney was not sure that really was his true place in the world. He liked science, but did he really want to be a doctor? Leafing through a list of academic majors he received during UK’s freshman orientation, he came across the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and remembered that Richards and ACT were part of the UK Cooperative Extension Service, which was part of CAFE. “I saw (the Department of) Community and Leadership Development, and I wanted to know more about that, because

It turned out to be a good decision.

Chaney credits a lot of his growth during college with two professors he considers his mentors, associate professors Kris and Bryan Hains. He took Byran Hains’ Learning in Society class, and Kris Hain’s Organization Leadership class. On occasion, he stopped after class to talk to her about current issues. “That’s when we pulled him into the Innovations in Community Engagement class. It’s a place where you can apply what you’re learning in class directly to a project that really makes a difference in a community, and he was all about that. He did a fabulous job,” Kris Hains said. “He’s now in my Ethics in Leadership class, and it turned into much more than having discussions outside of class and talking about future careers. He’s very passionate about not only politics, but the


environment.” Chaney has taken advantage of the many opportunities the college offers its students, as well as some he encountered outside academia. He worked part time for 2 1/2 years at the university’s Maine Chance Farm, which houses the college’s horse program. “I had never been around horses, much less worked with them, but I needed a job, so I went out to talk with the manager. I told him, ‘I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, but if you’re willing to take a chance, I’m willing to work,’” he said. And work he did, caring for the horses,

mucking stalls and even being on 24-hour call to help with foaling. He also started as an unpaid volunteer in a wetland restoration program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which led to another part-time job helping with the legal documents in land acquisition. In his spare time, Chaney is deeply involved as a lector and member of the LGBTQ+ ministry at Historic St. Paul Roman Catholic Church in Lexington. “I see his true passion lying in social justice, where he wants to make true change in that capacity,” Bryan Hains said. “He’s taken it to a whole next level, so now he is not only a barrier-breaker, but

now he is a leader for others to follow. I think that’s the most important story to tell.” Chaney graduated this past May, and in the fall, he heads to law school at Ave Maria School of Law in Florida, where he will study environmental law. The little boy auditioning for “The Wizard of Oz” in Elkhorn City has come a long way. “I’ve always thought that having arts agents can make an impact, and I think you see this in Zach,” Kris Hains said. “I think the opportunities afforded to him helped him blossom into the person we are seeing in classes, who we are seeing as he goes to law school.”

UK INTERNATIONAL CENTER ANNOUNCES 2021 GLOBAL IMPACT AWARD WINNERS This year, five awardees were recognized with Global Impact Awards in five different categories. Larry Grabau, professor, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, was awarded the UK Global Impact Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievement in Education Abroad. This award recognizes Grabau for his dedication to expanding education abroad opportunities for students in the college. Over the years, he has developed and implemented transformative, facultyled multidisciplinary experiences for students.

curriculum,” Rebecca McCulley, professor and chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, said. “He helped institute the practice in our college and has played an instrumental role in making education abroad a possibility for everyone at UK.” Additionally, during Grabau’s time as associate dean for instruction, he successfully advocated for the creation of the “Dean’s International Incentive Fund,” which provides support for CAFE faculty to significantly increase the college’s portfolio of faculty-led education abroad opportunities.

“I cannot imagine a more worthy recipient of this award. Larry Grabau was one of the first faculty to fully integrate education abroad experiences into the UK

“I have met many faculty and staff who perceive the immense value of wellcrafted and finely tuned international experiences for our students, and their collective work, energy and enthusiasm

UK FOOD SCIENCE GRADUATE NAMED FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR

her Fulbright toward a master’s degree in food microbiology at University College Cork in Ireland.

A UK CAFE student recently received a 2021 Fulbright scholarship. Clarissa Somers is a 2021 food science and Lewis Honors College graduate. Somers, of Bolivia, North Carolina, will use

has helped many

has helped many students develop enriched understandings of a global community,” Grabau said. “I’m glad the GIA selection committee felt that I have contributed in a modest, yet meaningful, way to that collective impact.”

Upon completion of her Fulbright and her master’s degree, Somers plans to earn her doctoral degree abroad and pursue an international career in human milk research.

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UK GRAD AND FATHER OF 4 COMPLETES DEGREE 15 YEARS IN THE MAKING By Danielle Donham “I always wanted to complete what I started here at UK. I wanted to be a UK grad - no other school would do.” Byron Mitchell always knew he would complete a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky, but he couldn’t have imagined doing it during a global pandemic. In May, Mitchell walked across the stage at Rupp Arena at Commencement - closing the final chapter on his journey that began 15 years ago. Although things looked a tad different, with most family members and loved one cheering him on virtually due to the social distancing requirement and safety policies, the moment was still as special as he imagined. Mitchell was born and spent his early years in New Orleans, where he developed a love for the New Orleans Saints football team. His middle and high school years were spent in Houston. When it came time to go to college in 2006, Mitchell chose UK because of a partial debate scholarship offer. He initially majored in psychology but left in 2011 just 19 credits shy of his degree. Mitchell struck gold in the professional world, finding success in management. For the last nine years he has managed a small team at a midsized technology firm, traveling the world to countries including South Korea, India and the Philippines. Even the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t slow down his professional momentum; he acquired a real estate license in 2020.

Although his timeline to graduation had shifted beyond his initial projection, his professional dreams and aspirations continue to center around the nonprofit sector. Having gained years of experience across his management roles, Mitchell felt a degree with leadership in the title would help to further enhance his career. He knew he would return one day, and his discovery of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Community and Leadership Development (CLD) program sealed the deal. “My program builds on the idea that humans are stronger when they work together. Such a paradigm is aligned with my world view. The College of Agriculture and CLD program cared about me as a student and a person. They helped me get to the finish line. The University of Kentucky is a large school that feels small because of the warm people.” Byron Mitchell isn’t the same man he was 15 years ago when he first stepped foot on campus. Now, he’s married to Erin D. Mitchell, a kinesiology grad and former UK track and field hurdler. Returning to school while working a full-time job and raising a family is not as complicated as one may imagine, according to Mitchell. He managed his responsibilities day-today like clockwork. After his family would go to bed in the evening, he handled any reading and schoolwork from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., waking up the next morning to start the day all over again. Throughout the two chapters of Byron Mitchell’s college journey, one of his biggest motivators has remained constant, his mother.

Mitchell may have left campus for a few years, but he never left the community and life he had begun to build here.

“She grew up in a two-bedroom mobile home with nine siblings. She would later go on to earn a master’s degree in education.”

“This is where I began my journey into adulthood. This was the first campus and city I had ever loved. I never left Lexington, and secretly I knew I wouldn’t leave until the mission was completed.”

Byron’s wildest ambition now that he has crossed the proverbial finish line - the next generation. He says he would like all four of his kids to attend and graduate from

16 | JULY 2021

college and to see their dreams become reality. In the near future, he’d like to start by taking his entire family on a vacation to India, once health and safety guidelines make it possible. “It would expose them to a beautiful culture and people, while reminding them of the blessings and opportunities we have in our home country.” Now, Mitchell is passing the torch to the next generation of Wildcats, many of whom are entering college at a strange transition in history between the pre- and post-pandemic world. As someone who started college in 2006 and is finishing his degree in 2021, he has some valuable lessons and perspective to share with current and future students. “UK is an amazing place. Be sure to connect deeply with people. I have gotten to know my professors and I was unafraid to tell them about my own life. This deeper connection always helped me during the undergraduate process. Those relationships will last a lifetime.”


G

GRASSROOTS GRASSROOTS

INSURANCE INSURANCE

EDUCATION EDUCATION

ADVOCACY ADVOCACY

LEADERSHIP

SERVICE

LEADERSHIP

SERVICE

Proudly supporting the next crop of Kentucky farmers. Farming in Kentucky has seen dramatic changes over the past century. New technologies. New practices. New ways of bringing products to market. In the midst of these changes, the future of Kentucky agriculture demands that tomorrow’s farmers be educated in the field and in the classroom. Kentucky Farm Bureau proudly supports giving young farmers the tools, skills and knowledge they need

of theseinchanges, Kentuckychanges agriculture tomorrow’s Farming Kentuckythe hasfuture seenofdramatic overdemands the pastthat century. New farmers be educated in theNew fieldways andofinbringing the classroom. Kentucky technologies. New practices. products to market. Farm In the Bureau midst supports giving young theagriculture tools, skillsdemands and knowledge they need ofproudly these changes, the future of farmers Kentucky that tomorrow’s for success. Why Farm education ensures a brighter for farmers be educated in Bureau? the field Because and in the classroom. Kentucky Farmfuture Bureau all Kentuckians.

all Kentuckians. proudly supports giving young farmers the tools, skills and knowledge they need for success. Why Farm Bureau? Because education ensures a brighter future for all Kentuckians.

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farmers be educated in the field and in the classroom. Kentucky Farm Bureau

technologies. New practices. New ways of bringing products to market. In the midst

of these changes, the future of Kentucky agriculture demands that tomorrow’s

Farming in Kentucky has seen dramatic changes over the past century. New

technologies. New practices. New ways of bringing products to market. In the midst

Proudly supporting the the nextProudly crop ofsupporting Kentucky farmers. next crop of Kentucky farmers.

Farming in Kentucky has seen dramatic changes over the past century. New

Proudly supporting the next crop of Kentucky farmers.

for success. Why Farm Bureau? Because education ensures a brighter future for

proudly supports giving young farmers the tools, skills and knowledge they need

farmers be educated in the field and in the classroom. Kentucky Farm Bureau

of these changes, the future of Kentucky agriculture demands that tomorrow’s

technologies. New practices. New ways of bringing products to market. In the midst

Farming in Kentucky has seen dramatic changes over the past century. New

all Kentuckians.

Proudly supporting the next crop of Kentucky farmers.

ASSROOTS

INSURANCE

EDUCATION

ADVOCACY

LEADERSHIP

SERVICE

for success. Why Farm Bureau? Because education ensures a brighter future for


Philanthropy

BY THE NUMBERS

On April 21, the University of Kentucky rallied its alumni, friends, and fans to support One Day for UK, a 24-hour day of giving where donors supported the college, unit or cause of their choice. In it’s third year, the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment far surpassed thier goal in the annual giving day.

Thank you to our donors!

UNIVERSITY

$3,251,169 RAISED UNIVERSITY-WIDE

3,639 GIFTS

COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD & ENVIRONMENT

$99,278

2nd

RAISED

ON THE LARGE UNIT PARTICIPATION LEADERBOARD

UNLOCKED MATCHING GIFT FROM EDWIN CARTER

THE ARBORETUM

$85,536

1st

RAISED

ON THE PROGRAM AND UNIT LEADERBOARD

278 GIFTS

3rd

ON THE LARGE UNIT DOLLARS PARTICIPATION LEADERBOARD

PENNYRILE AREA ALUMNI SCHOLARSHIP AWARDED CHALLENGE GIFT FROM THE CAFE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

190 GIFTS WON THE “RACE TO THE TOP” CHALLENGE FOR PROGRAMS AND CENTERS

UNLOCKED ALL THREE MATCHES FROM MR. LOUIS HILLENMEYER, DR. ELIZABETH NEALE, AND MOLLY DAVIS 18 | JULY 2021


RECOMMEND LEX Do you love Lexington? Are you a member of an organization that hosts annual meetings or conventions? Recommend Lexington, KY for your next event and let us help you bring it home!

MCCAULEY NAMED SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPY Brent McCauley is the new senior director of philanthropy in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. McCauley has a background and understanding of agriculture and the land-grant mission. He has advanced throughout his career in philanthropy and most recently served as the interim executive director of advancement for the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The great thing about VisitLEX is it’s a one-stop shop. You can just go to them and say, ‘This is what I have going on for my meeting,’ and they will help you find solutions so you don’t have to worry about it. Terry Keys | UK Markey Cancer Center

Learn more or get in touch with a VisitLEX representative today Meetings@VisitLEX.com | VisitLEX.com/recommendlex

“We are excited to have Brent join our excellent team in the college’s Office of Philanthropy and Alumni,” said Nancy Cox, vice president for land grant engagement and dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. McCauley has a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management with a minor in international agriculture from the University of Missouri. He also holds a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs (development track) from the University of South Carolina. “As a donor-centered professional, I am a firm believer in the land-grant mission and the ethos it produces,” McCauley said. “I have always wanted to remain at a land-grant university as I progress through my career. This position aligns perfectly with my desire to do just that at an innovative institution that values student success, basic and applied research, and statewide engagement.” Brent began his duties on June 1.

THE AMBASSADOR Paid in part by the KY Department of Tourism

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Presorted Standard US Postage Paid Permit 51 Lexington KY College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Philanthropy & Alumni 1451 University Drive Lexington, KY 40546-0097

RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is an Equal Opportunity Organization.

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