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Inclusive Excellence

UK's Office for Institutional Diversity (OID) empowers all to be their best selves and strives to create a sustainable climate where all can benefit from the highest quality education, care and work environment. OID's mission is to enhance the diversity and inclusivity of our university community through the recruitment and retention of an increasingly diverse population of faculty, administrators, staff and students, and by implementing initiatives that provide rich diversity-related experiences for all to help ensure their success in an interconnected world.

portrait of Lyman T. Johnson by his grandson, mixed media

“I Lived Half of my Life in the Darkness, and Half in the Light.” Imar Hutchins

Honoring 75 Years of Lyman T. Johnson's Legacy

In 2024, we celebrate 75 years of desegregation at the University of Kentucky. Lyman T. Johnson was best known for breaking the racial barrier at UK. In 1949, he became the first African-American to attend classes here. Johnson was a lifelong advocate of education and its power to transform lives, and his fight for equality in education — and all facets of society — began with his own roots in education.

Though he did not finish his degree at UK, the legacy he leaves behind is reminiscent of the lessons he once imparted upon his students: the fight for equality and fairness is an ongoing one, and the path forward is through education that enables students to learn how to think for themselves.

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Buzz Burnam standing in a dimly lit hallway, posing with a folder.

UK Photo

Emmett P. "Buzz" Burnam Inclusive Excellence and Expansion Impact Award

“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.”

                       Sudanese Proverb

Emmett P. “Buzz” Burnam served the University of Kentucky in a variety of leadership roles for more than 40 years. During his years of service, he was a champion for student success. He left an indelible mark on the cornerstone of UK’s commitment to advancing Kentucky through educating diverse top talent.  

Open to all alumni and friends, and past and present faculty and staff (individual or team), the recipient of the Emmett P. "Buzz" Burnam Inclusive Excellence and Expansion Impact Award shall emulate the essence, spirit and work of Emmett P. “Buzz” Burnam.

OID in the News

Son inspired by College of Education grad dad to pursue health career, advance Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 27, 2024) — Former University of Kentucky Football player Harold Dennis is drawn to opportunities to impact the lives of others — through his career in health care and willingness to share his life’s story. His son Trey Dennis is among those impacted.   Trey grew up hearing his father speak publicly about how, at age 14, he faced extraordinary circumstances. Trey also saw how working in patient care and medical sales gave his father’s career purpose.

‘Research Made Possible’ podcast: Conner discusses HIV prevention in older Black women

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 22, 2024) — When Laneshia Conner was in graduate school, an instructor told her that she had great questions. From there, she says she began to find that she had more questions than answers. In this “Research Made Possible” podcast produced by Research Communications, Conner discusses her work that is centered on improving scientific knowledge about HIV prevention for older Black women.  

‘We are the change we seek’: UK student creates non-profit to support unhoused in Lexington

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 21, 2024) — As Jonathan Richardson loads up the back seat of his car with pizza boxes, he can see his breath leaving his body. Temperatures in the Bluegrass have officially dropped below freezing, but that does not slow Richardson down. If anything, it pushes him forward. He secures the boxes in the back seat, and heads downtown to the Fayette County Courthouse. Once he arrives, he sees there is already a small crowd forming. He knows they are waiting for him, and he springs into action. 

UK named 2023 HEED Award recipient, Diversity Champion by INSIGHT Into Diversity

For the seventh consecutive year, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, has recognized the University of Kentucky as a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award recipient.

The HEED Award recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Open to all colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada, HEED measures an institution’s level of achievement and intensity of commitment in regard to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff.

UK Named a 2022 'Best Employer for Diversity' by Forbes for the fourth year in a row

The University of Kentucky has been ranked on the Forbes list of "Best Employers for Diversity" in 2022. Partnering with market research company Statista, Forbes’ annual list recognizes businesses with at least 1,000 employees who demonstrate a strong commitment to inclusive workplace practices. 

“To me, this is the greatest indicator of progress,” said Vice President Katrice Albert. "I am thrilled to have the privilege to work with passionate faculty, staff and students dedicated to ensuring everyone knows they belong at the University of Kentucky. Although the Office for Institutional Diversity helps initiate, develop and implement transformational programming related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), members of our entire UK family are leaned into advancing ideals, values and norms that expanding cultures of engagement and belonging in their units and areas.” 

Read the UKNow article highlighting this achievement

Black square with white text reading Forbes the Best Employers for Diversity 2022

OID Remarks and Attendance Request

You may submit requests for a member of the OID team to be a guest or speak at your event. When submitting requests, please include as much specific information as possible.

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Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity Form

You may use this form to make a report of discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct but are not required to use this form. You may also make a report by contacting the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity at 859-257-8927 to speak with a staff member. 

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