Lexington's Debra Hensley awarded Sullivan Medal by UK

April 16, 2014 

Insurance agent and activist Debra Hensley.


The University of Kentucky awarded its annual Sullivan Medals for outstanding humanitarian service.

The citizen award was given to Debra Hensley, owner of the Hensley Agency of State Farm Insurance Companies in Lexington. A council member for Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government from 1986 to 1992, she focused on social justice issues and homelessness. She also is the founder of Debra Hensley's Social Stimulus, which hosts events featuring local "do-good" businesses and non-profits, and a co-founder of JustFundKY, an endowment to finance efforts to eradicate discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The award for a graduating female UK student went to Katharine Skarvan, the founder of Wildcat Service Dogs, a student-run organization of students who train service dogs for the disabled. The graduating male award winner was Andrew Ritzel, who as a freshman became involved in the Alternative Service Break program at UK. Under his leadership, the program's opportunities grew, starting service programs in Nicaragua and Ghana for UK students to aid communities during spring and summer breaks.

UK has been recognizing Sullivan Award winners since 1927 and is one of several Southern universities that present Sullivan Awards, sponsored by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation. Sullivan was a lawyer, businessman and philanthropist in New York in the late 19th century.

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