■ Leo R. de Castro, a student at Henry Clay High School, has been named a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship recipient for 2014. His probable career field is computer science.
■ Harrodsburg native Savanna Barnett, a rising senior at Transylvania University, has won the Excellence in Digital Media Award during the annual Transylvania Juried Student Art Exhibition for her digital print on paper piece As A Tree.
One student was selected for each of five categories: digital media, painting, sculpture, ceramics and drawing/printmaking. The award comes with a $100 prize. The art major is the daughter of David Barnett and Diane Beauchamp.
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■ Lexington natives Hannah Johnson, Danielle Kane, Zoë Snider and Raisa Tikhtman have been inducted into Transylvania University's Holleian Society, an honor reserved for the top 10 percent of graduates.
Johnson is the daughter of Brian and Elizabeth Johnson. Kane is the daughter of E. Patrick and Donna Kane. Snider is the daughter of Dr. Gregory and Kelly Snider. Tikhtman is the daughter of Dr. Alexander Tikhtman and Dr. Nancy Braun.
■ The LG&E and KU Foundation has awarded the following college-bound students $1,200 in financial assistance for up to four years. The program is available to the children of employees of LG&E and KU Energy, and is intended to be used toward tuition, books, fees, supplies and classroom equipment. Scholarship recipients are Taylor M. Faulkner, Stanford; Lauren E. Mehanna, Lexington; Hunter S. Sims, Harrodsburg; and Clark I. Strunk, Lexington.
■ Crystal Wilkinson, author of Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries, has been named the Appalachian Writer-in-Residence at Berea College. Housed in both the English and Appalachian studies departments, the grant-funded, three-year position will start this fall.
Wilkinson joins world-renowned scholar bell hooks, best-selling author Silas House and award-winning author Jason Howard as the latest notable hire at the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, the first in the country to focus on the study and celebration of Appalachia.
Wilkinson, a native of Casey County, has won awards in fiction and poetry and is known for inspiring and teaching writers throughout the Appalachian region. She is a founding member of Affrilachian Poets, a writing collective formed to promote the creative work of African Americans in Appalachia. A former assistant director for the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, she has also taught creative writing at the Governor's School for the Arts.
■ Forcht Bank has made a $1 million commitment to the University of Kentucky as part of UK's Gatton College of Business & Economics' $65 million capital campaign for the renovation and expansion of the Gatton College building.
The Forcht Bank gift will fund the grand staircase at the main entrance of the newly renovated Gatton College facility.
The expansion and renovation of the Gatton College facility will allow for enrollment growth of more than 40 percent and faculty/staff growth to support the additional students, as well as incorporating state-of-the-art technology throughout the building. Construction of the facility is underway, with completion of the project slated for spring 2016.