Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Council on Postsecondary Education

Press Release Date:  Monday, September 29, 2008  
Contact Information:  Sue Patrick
502-573-1555 ext. 308
Cell: 502-330-6596

NOTE TO EDITORS: Award recipients are natives or residents of Calloway, Fayette, Jefferson, Knott, Madison and Warren counties.

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The postsecondary education community recognized outstanding alumni and faculty members at an awards luncheon this afternoon during the 2008 Governor’s Conference on Postsecondary Education Trusteeship in Lexington.

Following the keynote address by Governor Steve Beshear, the Outstanding Alumnus of Kentucky (OAK) and Acorn Awards were presented by Secretary of State Trey Grayson. The awards are sponsored by the Kentucky Advocates for Higher Education, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of postsecondary education in Kentucky.

The OAK Awards were inaugurated in 1987 to recognize outstanding alumni of Kentucky colleges and universities. Recipients of the OAK award hold an undergraduate degree from a public or independent Kentucky college or university, have achieved national stature and reputation in their chosen career and have exhibited a lifelong affection for, and attachment to, their alma mater and to Kentucky. 

This year’s OAK winners are:

  • Harry B. Gray – Western Kentucky University
  • James C. Klotter – University of Kentucky
  • Johny B. Russell – Murray State University

The Acorn Award, first presented in 1992 by the Kentucky Advocates, recognizes outstanding faculty at Kentucky’s public or independent colleges and universities with a $5,000 honorarium. Recipients are chosen based on information they provide about their reasons for selecting college teaching as a profession, their philosophy of teaching and their professional achievements.

The 2008 Acorn Award recipients are:

  • Marlisa R. Austin – Jefferson Community and Technical College
  • Jerry D. Cook – Eastern Kentucky University

“Kentucky is fortunate to have such outstanding faculty and alumni associated with our postsecondary institutions,” said Richard Crofts, interim president of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “Their valuable contributions extend well beyond their classrooms into our communities, across the state and around the nation.”

Kentucky is in the middle of the most dramatic economic and social transformation in its history. Double the Numbers: Kentucky’s Plan to Increase College Graduates explains that increasing bachelor’s degrees is the quickest, most direct way for Kentucky to increase its economic prosperity. College graduates earn more, are healthier, create a more robust economy, and enjoy a higher quality of life. The Double the Numbers plan outlines five statewide strategies for Kentucky to achieve this ambitious, but achievable goal. While this effort will not be easy, the benefits of Doubling the Numbers will be felt by all Kentuckians.


Photos of Award Presentation

OAK Award Recipients:

Harry B. Gray

James C. Klotter

Johny B. Russell

Acorn Award Recipients:

Marlisa R. Austin

Jerry D. Cook


Last Updated 9/29/2008