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Meg Marquis, Elisia Cohen Honored With Sarah Bennett Holmes Awards

by Whitney Harder

(March 7, 2014) – Two University of Kentucky women who profoundly contribute to issues that affect women at the university and across the Commonwealth received the Sarah Bennett Holmes Award yesterday during a luncehon ceremony at the UK Student Center. Meg Marquis, staff, and Elisia Cohen, faculty, received the 2014 Holmes Award.

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 Awards have been among the most esteemed recognitions bestowed at UK and brings recognition for efforts that might otherwise go unnoticed.  

Meg Marquis, director of Student Services for the UK Honors Program, oversees a team of honors advisors who work with more than 1,000 undergraduate honors students; serves as program coordinator; and manages the Singletary Scholars program. Marquis' says commitment to building meaningful partnerships across campus is one of her highest professional priorities.

Elisia Cohen, chair of the UK Department of Communication in the College of Communication and Information, has collaborated Elisia Cohenwith researchers in the colleges of Public Health and Medicine to develop interventions to reduce the burden of cervical cancer and HPV-related disease among Kentucky women. Cohen has also worked in conjunction with the Markey Cancer Center and the Rural Cancer Prevention Center.

Guest speakers at the Sarah Bennet Holmes Award Luncheon were the 2013 Holmes Award recipients Kathleen Sheppard-Jones and Lynne Jensen.

"We do what we do because it fits with the values that we hold," Sheppard-Jones said. "The university can let us explore, learn and appreciate. We are a community; we are the University of Kentucky. Let us hold each other up and see what amazing things we can achieve."  

When speaking about the Holmes Award, Jensen said, "It awards us for the things that we do on an everyday basis."

Nominees for the 2014 Holmes Award included 12 faculty members and 14 staffmembers.

Faculty Nominees:

  • Clare Batty (Philosophy)
  • Emily Beaulieu (Political Science)
  • Sandra Beck (Surgery)
  • Elisia Cohen (Communication)
  • Alison Davis (Agricultural Economics)
  • Janice Fernheimer (Writing, Rhetoric and Media)
  • Nancy Jones (Student Financial Aid)
  • Roxanne Mountford (Writing, Rhetoric and Media)
  • Anita Superson (Philosophy)
  • Deanna Sellnow (Center for Instructional Communication)
  • Sharon Turner (College of Dentistry)
  • Mary Vore (Toxicology)

Staff Nominees:

  • Laverne Carter (Public Health)
  • Linda Combs (Surgery)
  • Jennifer Ellis (Student Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences)
  • Deborah Godfrey (Physical Plant Division)
  • Linda Grijalba (Survey Research Center)
  • Tiffany Hayden (Athletics)
  • Christina Jones (Student Financial Aid)
  • Rikki Maher (Neurology)
  • Meg Marquis (Honors Program)
  • Stella Matuszak (Arts and Sciences Administration)
  • Paula Pope (Development)
  • Brandy Reeves (Public Health)
  • Randa Remer (College of Health Sciences)
  • Evie Russell (Undergraduate Research)  

For a list of past winners, click here.

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 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.