Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Recipients of the 2013 Acorn and OAK Awards

The postsecondary education community honored five distinguished alumni and faculty during the 2013 Annual Governor’s Conference on Postsecondary Education Trusteeship.

The OAK Awards, or "Outstanding Kentucky Alumnus," go to alumni who have achieved both state and national status. 

The Acorn awards, bestowed to distinguised faculty, are based on recommendations by peers and students, as well as self-written essays about their philosophy of teaching. Recipients receive a $5,000 honorarium.

The Oak and Acorn awards are sponsored by the Council on Postsecondary Education and Kentucky’s colleges and universities.

Oak Award Recipients

High-res photo link

Dreama Gentry

A first-generation Berea College graduate from rural Appalachia, Gentry is executive director of Partners for Education at Berea College. She is also a volunteer coordinator for Project Meet Me Halfway, a mentoring and support service for former foster care children, and an advocate for several women’s organizations.

For almost 20 years, she has supported college access efforts in central Kentucky through her grant-writing efforts, including the recent $75 million GEARUP grant that support efforts to increase college attainment in low-income and rural communities. In 2011, Gentry was awarded the GEAR Up College Advocate of the Year award.

High-res photo link

Tom Hammond

Hammond is one of the most recognized sportscasters in the South and the nation. Known for his excellent play-by-play coverage, Hammond’s achievements include college and NBA basketball games, college and NFL games, thoroughbred horse racing and coverage of the Olympic Games.

Hammond was the recipient of the annual Outstanding Kentuckian Award, as well as several Emmy Awards. He is a member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame, and has an award named after him: the Tom Hammond Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting, given by the Bluegrass Sports Commission. He is the grandson of Thomas Poe Cooper, a former dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky, who also served a short stint as acting president.

High-res photo link

Virginia Fox

Fox is the former secretary of the Education Cabinet and former executive director and chief executive officer of KET. She has served on the Board of Regents for Morehead State University and on the Council on Postsecondary Education.

Morehead State University President Wayne Andrews, who nominated Fox, described her as a “catalyst for positive change” throughout her career as an educator, visionary and public servant. She has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the GED Testing Service of the American Council on Education, as well as the Vic Hellard Jr. Award.

Acorn Award Recipients

High-res photo link

Dr. Jeffrey Okeson

Okeson is chair of the Department of Oral Health Science at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and director for the college’s post-graduate program in orofacial pain. A member of the faculty at UK for 39 years, Okeson has written more than 220 peer-reviewed articles, and is the author of two textbooks, which are in their seventh edition and are considered standard in most dental schools.

Okeson was awarded UK’s “Great Teacher Award,” the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the UK College of Dentistry, and the “International Dentist of the Year,” the highest award recognized by the International Academy.

High-res photo link

Dr. William Loftus

Loftus, a psychology professor for more than 20 years at Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), is a well-known campus mentor and the Phi Theta Kappa advisor. He has been the recipient of multiple BSCTC Great Teacher awards, the Phi Theta Kappa Mosal Award and was named the 2013 Phi Theta Kappa Kentucky Region Advisor of the Year. Loftus is an active member of the Faculty Council and was named one of the first Master Teacher award recipients. He also participated in the Collaborative for Teaching and Learning Implementation of the Content Literacy Model and conducts professional development workshops at the college for faculty and staff.


Last Updated 9/14/2013