March 30, 2018 | By: Kristie Law
Lexington, Ky.

Two University of Kentucky women who profoundly contribute to issues that affect women at the university and across the Commonwealth received the 2018 Sarah Bennett Holmes Award Wednesday, March 28, during a luncheon ceremony at the Woodford Reserve Club at Kroger Field. The UK staff recipient was Lisa Collins, and the faculty recipient was Debra Moser.

The award recognizes one female faculty member and one female staff member who promote growth and well-being of women at the university and across Kentucky. Created by the UK Women’s Forum, the Sarah Bennett Holmes Award has been among the most esteemed recognitions bestowed at the University of Kentucky, and brings recognition for efforts that might otherwise go unnoticed. This year marks its 25th anniversary. In honor of the anniversary, Holmes' family members were in attendance — her great granddaughter Anne Hargis, her husband Michael, and their daughter Lucy, who is a student at UK.

Lisa Collins is an assistant dean for academic administration in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE). In her career at UK she has strived to elevate the status of women by working on projects that provide support to women throughout their entire lifecycle. She has supported women through her work with the UK Woman’ Club Scholarship/Fellowship Committee, her activities with the Kentucky Girls STEM Collaborative, the CAFE Turner Leadership Academy, and her involvement with staff councils and focus on faculty advancement.         

Debra Moser is a professor and assistant dean in the College of Nursing and holder of the first endowed chair in nursing at the University of Kentucky. Her research concentrates on preventing cardiovascular disease in populations with marked health disparities, and improving morbidity, mortality and quality of life outcomes in patients with heart failure and acute myocardial infarction. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the American Heart Association. In addition to her academic position, she is the editor of the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, the co-director of the RICH Heart Program, and the director of the Center for Biobehavioral Research in Self-Management of Cardiopulmonary Disease.

Guest speakers at the Sarah Bennett Holmes Award Luncheon were the 2017 award recipients Christia Spears Brown, a professor in the Department of Psychology and Kimberly Sayre, manager of the Lean Systems Program in the College of Engineering, and UK President Eli Capilouto.

Nominees for the 2018 Holmes Award included nine faculty members and five staff members.


  • Mary Davis, College of Law
  • Frances Feltner, Center for Excellence in Rural Health
  • Nancy Harrington, College of Communication and Information
  • Janice Kuperstein, College of Health Sciences
  • Debra Moser, College of Nursing
  • Susan Smyth, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Hollie Swanson, Department of Nutritional Sciences and Pharmacology
  • Donna Wilcock, Sanders-Brown Center on Aging/Department of Physiology
  • Olivia Yinger, Music Therapy


  • Lisa Collins, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
  • Michelle Del Toro, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies
  • Sarah Geegan, University Relations
  • Sara Price, Office of Undergraduate Admissions
  • Lori Tyndall, College of Arts & Sciences

For a list of past winners, visit

Sarah Bennett Holmes, a distinguished former dean of women at UK, tirelessly championed the rights of women throughout her career. Widowed at a young age, Holmes raised four children while completing her own education. She then began a successful career at the university where she inspired young women to persevere in the face of hardship and pursue their career goals. Among her accomplishments, Holmes developed work programs for women during the Depression.

In her honor, the UK Women's Forum created the Sarah Bennett Holmes Award and since 1994 has been honoring women at UK who demonstrate the same principles as held by Holmes through their work and service.

The UK Women's Forum is an organization for all employees of the university faculty and staff. Its mission is to exert a leadership role in empowering, validating, informing, including and celebrating all women employed at UK by addressing challenges, communicating issues and recognizing successes within the context of the workplace.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


Kathy Johnson,, 859-257-3155

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