2018 Hall of Fame Ceremony
Jennifer L. Garr, B.A. Topical Studies '86
Jennifer L. Garr is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. Early in her sophomore year at UK, mentored by Professor Robert A. Baker, she chose the path of topical studies with an emphasis in art therapy, and graduated with a B.A. in 1986. Garr’s activities at UK ranged from a semester as staff artist for the “Kentucky Kernel” to public relations director for the UK Student Center Board, and positions such as Little Kentucky Derby program chairman; UK delegate, National Entertainment and College Activities Association; Panhellenic representative for her sorority, Delta Delta Delta; and art teacher/art club sponsor at Blackburn Correctional Complex.
Garr’s intellectual curiosity, analytical skills and drive propelled her into the world of business at Brown & Williamson International, followed by rigorous training at the legendary advertising company Leo Burnett in Chicago. Garr has been a part of executive management teams leading the evolution and reimagining of the branding and communications industry at some of the world’s top global agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, Publicis, Ammirati Puris Lintas, Interbrand and most recently Ogilvy & Mather.
Garr has led brand strategy and communications initiatives for some of the biggest and most successful brands in the world, including Quaker, Nabisco, Seven-Up, Philip Morris, Whirlpool, Fujifilm, Thomson/RCA, Sony, Marriott International, Thomson-Reuters, and UBS. Her assignments have reached well beyond the key U.S. business centers of Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to international venues such as London, Paris, Zurich, Vienna, Munich, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro.
Garr has devoted much time and energy to advocating for women and children. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Junior League, The Northwestern Hospital Auxiliary and the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Girl Scouts. Most recently, she has added the role of adjunct professor to her resume in the Marketing Department of the School of Business at the College of Charleston. She also sits on the Advisory Board to the College of Charleston’s Entrepreneurial program.
Garr and her husband, Steve Gregg, continue to pursue their professional careers from their newly renovated home on a beach just outside Charleston, S.C.
W. Bruce Lunsford, B.A. Political Science '69
W. Bruce Lunsford was born in Northern Kentucky and arrived on the University of Kentucky campus in 1965. While at UK, he worked as an intramural advisor and was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He graduated in 1969 with a B.A. in political science and a minor in accounting. After graduation, Lunsford went to work for an accounting firm in Cincinnati and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1970. He then continued to take classes at the Salmon P. Chase College of Law, graduating in 1974 among the top 10 percent of his class.
Lunsford is known as an entrepreneur, businessman and thoroughbred owner who has founded and led numerous companies in Louisville, Ky., for nearly 40 years. These companies eventually employed more than 100,000 individuals nationwide and included Vencor, Inc., a Fortune 500 healthcare company that became Kindred; Ventas, Inc., a healthcare REIT listed on the NYSE; Atria Communities; and Lunsford Capital.
From 1983 to 1987, Lunsford was a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Kentucky, and from 1991 to 2017 he served as a board member for a variety of prestigious companies, including Churchill Downs, ResCare, Zirmed, and National City Corporation. He is a current member of the Boards of Directors of AeroCare, Arcadia Communities, Creative Strategies, Edumedics and the Breeders’ Cup Limited.
Throughout his career, Lunsford has had a strong interest in public service, beginning with his role in the administration of Governor John Y. Brown, Jr., as Kentucky’s Secretary of Commerce from 1981 to 1983. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Bellarmine College, Centre College, and Salmon P. Chase College of Law, as well as chairman of Kentucky Country Day School and the Kentucky Economic Development Corporation.
Rodney F. Page, B.A. Political Science '68
Rodney F. Page, a native of Colorado, attended Fort Knox High School, where he was a National Merit Scholar. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1968 with a B.A. in political science. During his time at UK, Page was a member of the UK debate team, twice leading the varsity team to the National Tournament. He was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, worked as a residential advisor in Donovan and Haggin Halls, and was elected chapter commander of Sigma Nu fraternity.
Page attended Harvard Law School, receiving his J.D. degree in 1971. He then joined the Washington, D.C., law firm Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn, remaining until 1997. He was elected the first managing partner of the firm in 1988. Since 1998, he has been a member of the Washington office of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. At Bryan Cave, he served in various capacities, including finance and administration partner, and later, as managing partner of the Washington office. In 2010, Page was made managing partner of the firm’s London office, serving in that role until 2014.
Page’s legal practice has been primarily in litigation and arbitration. He has handled lawsuits and appellate cases in state and federal courts in more than a dozen states. His practice has included international arbitration cases and internal corporate investigations. He is a member of the District of Columbia and Virginia Bars. Over the years, he has lectured and written on a variety of legal topics, most recently presenting on mediation practices at the Center for International Legal Studies in Salzburg, Austria.
In addition to legal practice, Page has taken an active role in a number of civic and other organizations. He was a member of the Fairfax County, Virginia, School Board from 1974 to 1980 and elected chairman of the board for four years. He has been a board member for 25 years of the Council for Court Excellence, a court reform organization in Washington with business, legal and judicial members, and served for five years as its president. He has twice been senior warden of St. John’s Episcopal Church and was a member of the Executive Board of the Diocese of Virginia for three years. He was a trustee of the George Mason University Foundation for six years.
Page lives with his wife, Deborah, in Reston, Virginia. He has three children and five grandchildren.
LaVon Van Williams, Bachelor of General Studies '80
LaVon Van Williams, Jr., was born in Lakeland, Florida, and attended the University of Kentucky, graduating with a B.A. in General Studies in 1980. He was recruited to play for the UK basketball team and was a member of the team that won the NCAA Championship in 1978. After college, he played basketball in Europe before returning home in the mid-1980s.
After his return, Williams pursued his passion in a career in art, with a particular niche in wood carving. Much of his wood carving work reflects the close-knit community of his native Florida. His father was a jazz aficionado, who passed his love of this type of music to his son. When Williams was 11 years old, his parents divorced, and he moved with his mother to Colorado.
Williams uses the traditional wood-carving techniques of western Africa to depict images of contemporary African-American life. He learned these skills from his brother, who originally learned them from their uncle.
Williams felt attracted to art, but at first struggled to find his voice. After painting for several years, he turned to wood carving on the advice of a mentor. In this medium, he went on to find his voice. Williams’ style is to first draw his subject, then transfer that image to a piece of wood. He roughs out the piece with power tools and uses hand tools to carve the fine details in low relief. Finally, he paints the piece in vibrant colors.
Williams’ dynamic carvings are filled with emotional energy as he depicts dancers, lovers, church worshipers and jazz musicians. He also makes larger wooden panels that often depict an emotional moment with a group of intertwined people. His art could be seen as a visual form of jazz—a syncopation of the human form of motion. It is grounded in the African-American experience, and universal in its appeal.
Now based in Lexington, Kentucky, Williams was the recipient of the Kentucky Governor’s Award in the Arts in 2006. A retrospective of his artwork, “Rhythm in Relief,” was mounted by the Kentucky Folk Art Center of Morehead, Kentucky in 2009 and traveled extensively in Kentucky and Ohio. He is included in the book, “When the Spirit Speaks: Self-Taught Art of the South,” by Margaret Day Allen.
Dr. David M. Allen, B.S. Agriculture '61, M.S Agriculture '64
David M. Allen grew up on a dairy farm near Sebree, Kentucky. He attended the University of Kentucky, where he earned a B.S. in 1961 and an M.S. in 1964, both in agriculture. While working on his thesis, he discovered the statistics field and decided to pursue it as a career. He received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in experimental statistics from North Carolina State University.
In 1967, UK started a Department of Statistics within the College of Arts and Sciences and hired a distinguished statistician, Dr. R. L. Anderson, as the founding chair of the new department. Upon Allen’s graduation from N.C. State, he was the first faculty hired by Anderson.
Allen’s entire career has been in the Department of Statistics at UK. He served five years as department chair and two terms as director of graduate studies. His early research centered on variable selection methods. Later, his interest shifted to pharmacokinetic modeling. In this area, Allen and Dr. Peter Purdue received a grant from the National Science Foundation entitled “Stochastic Compartmental Systems.”
Allen served terms as associate editor of three professional journals: “Biometrics,” “Communications in Statistics,” and “Transactions on Mathematical Software.” He is co-author with Foster B. Cady of the book “Analyzing Experimental Data by Regression.” Allen is a fellow of the American Statistical Association.
Allen directed or co-directed the research of 24 doctoral students. He is proud of the professional success of many of his doctoral advisees. The David M. Allen Fellowship in Statistics and the new David M. Allen-Richard L. Anderson Professorship in Statistics were established by one of his former students, Dr. Bing Zhang, and his wife, Rachel.
Allen and his wife, Mary, live in Lexington and enjoy UK sports, musical programs at the Singletary Center, bridge, and travel. Allen is active in the local Sierra Club and enjoys hiking, backpacking, and pickleball. They have three daughters, Elaine, Diane, and Leigh, and four grandchildren, David, Cody, Camille, and Skyler.
Dr. Sheldon M. Steiner, M.S. Microbiology '64, Ph.D. Microbiology '67
Sheldon “Shelly” Steiner was born in the Bronx, New York, and received his B.A. from Drew University and his Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Kentucky in 1967. His post-doctoral studies were performed in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Lester in the UK Department of Biochemistry.
Steiner joined the Department of Virology and Epidemiology, Baylor College of Medicine, in 1971 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 1976. In 1975, he was an invited visiting professor at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung. Steiner returned to the University of Kentucky as an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences (subsequently renamed the Department of Biology) in 1978 and was promoted to professor in 1983. He was chair of the Department of Biology from 2005 to 2008 and served as associate chair from 2008 to 2009.
Steiner’s more recent research focused on two major areas: development of methods to inhibit cancer growth and the role of specific bioactive lipids in inflammation and differentiation. The results of these studies included the development of a modified enzyme for the treatment of melanomas and hepatocellular carcinomas. This same reagent was also shown to be an effective therapy in a model of inflammatory bowel disease. Steiner’s research studies were supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the American Cancer Society.
In addition to his research efforts, Steiner was active in all aspects of teaching and service. One highlight of his teaching efforts was being selected to the Top Ten Teachers list in Arts and Sciences for multiple years. This award was based on the identification, by graduating A&S seniors, of the faculty who most influenced their collegiate careers. Mentoring students has always been a priority for Steiner, and he helped to launch the career of students including Dr. Geoffrey Manley, Ph.D., who is Professor in Residence and Vice Chairman of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco.
Steiner’s service to UK includes membership in diverse committees including member and chair of the A&S Council, University Committee on Academic Planning and Priorities; election to the UK Faculty Senate, UK Senate Council, and the University Presidential Search Committee; and recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Senator Award.
Steiner currently lives in Lexington with his wife, Marion, without whom very little of the above would have been possible.