Contact Information

Danielle Jostes
Senior Director of Philanthropy & Alumni

1312 Nicholasville Road Cooper House Lexington, KY 40546-0094

+1 (859) 257-1207

danielle.jostes@uky.edu

Night of Excellence

Night of Excellence

Night of Excellence

2024 Martin-Gatton CAFE Night of Excellence

The University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment recognized and celebrated alumni and friends who have made a lasting impact during the Night of Excellence on February 23, 2024, at The Campbell House in Lexington. We hope to see you at the next event in 2026!

2024 Night of Excellence Award Recipients

Meredith McQuerry

The Horizon Award

Meredith Cinnamon McQuerry

‘12 B.S. Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles
‘12 B.S. Career and Technical Education
‘14 M.S. Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles 

Dr. Meredith McQuerry is an associate professor of textile science in the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship at Florida State University. In addition to her UK degrees, she has a Ph.D. in textile technology management from North Carolina State University. Dr. McQuerry’s research focuses primarily on the physiological comfort and performance of protective clothing for first responders, athletes and industrial employees. She recently received a $1.5 million FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant to investigate the design, comfort and mobility issues of female firefighters. Dr. McQuerry oversees the operations of two labs at FSU: the Textile Testing Laboratory and the ThermaNOLE Comfort Lab. She’s the author of more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and has presented her research at more than 80 conferences.

James Mahan

The Paul Appel Alumni Service Award

James "Jim" Mahan

‘67 B.S. Animal Sciences

Jim Mahan has been an active and important part of the fabric of Kentucky’s agricultural landscape since his youth, when his father was operations manager for the college and his grandfather was the first county agent in Kentucky. Since receiving his degree in animal science in 1967, Mahan has devoted his life to his farm, family, youth and agriculture. As a result of his commitment, he has received many honors over the years, including being inducted into the UK Martin-Gatton CAFE Hall of Distinguished Alumni and the UK Animal Science Hall of Fame, as well as receiving the Honorary Commissioner of Agriculture distinction. He was also previously appointed to the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, where he worked with local legislators on behalf of the college. 

Kentucky Farm Bureau logo

The Oran & Myrtle Little Friend of Martin-Gatton CAFE Award

Kentucky Farm Bureau

Serving as the “Voice of Kentucky Agriculture” since 1919

Kentucky Farm Bureau stands as a beacon of dedication and commitment in advancing agricultural education, research and extension through its support of the University of Kentucky. Its generous contributions have helped fund vital programs, such as the UK Martin-Gatton CAFE Alumni Association, the Kentucky Agriculture Leadership Program and the Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers organization. Kentucky Farm Bureau has also supported student scholarships, paving the way for future agricultural leaders. Its advocacy aligns seamlessly with the college’s mission, reflecting a history of commitment since the establishment of the Cooperative Extension Service. 

Past Award Recipients

The Horizon Award

Anthony H. KochAnthony H. Koch

Anthony H. Koch of Paris received a bachelor’s of agricultural economics from UK in 2002. He currently serves as director of sales and marketing for Hallway Feeds. 

As a celebration of Hallway Feeds' 50th anniversary, Koch spearheaded all the arrangements for the departure and return of Lexington’s first Honor Flight. This special event was an opportunity to transport Central Kentucky’s WWII heroes to Washington, D.C., for a day of celebration.

Koch also serves on the board of trustees of the Kentucky FFA Foundation, judges FFA events and serves as a mentor to members. He volunteers with the Boy Scouts, YMCA, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture & Equine Council and Equine Committee for the American Feed Industry Association and at his church.


The Paul Appel Alumni Service Award

Bobby L. GaffneyBobby L. Gaffney

Bobby Gaffney of Versailles holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education and his Rank I from UK. He was on the CAFE alumni board for 23 years, serving in many roles including president. He continues to provide support as a volunteer. He represented Kentucky on the National Agriculture Alumni and Development Association for 10 years, serving as NAADA president and chairman of the long-range planning committee. He was committed to sharing UK’s alumni relations successes with peer institutions.

Gaffney is a farmer, retired vocational agriculture teacher and school administrator. As a teacher, he built strong community-based programs that involved local civic and business leaders and engaged students’ families in their learning process. He recruited many students to the college and was a supervising teacher for student teachers.


The Oran & Myrtle Little Friend of Martin-Gatton CAFE Award

C. Oran & Myrtle LittleC. Oran & Myrtle Little

Oran Little began his CAFE career in 1960 and rose through the ranks to serve the college for 12 years as dean. His effective leadership as dean led to the purchase of a new research farm in Woodford County, which was renamed in his honor in 2010. Myrtle Little is a UK Fellow, a member of the UK Women’s Club and a member of UK Women and Philanthropy. 

Oran and Myrtle Little have traversed many miles to support the college, even in retirement. Oran Little continued to serve in leadership and support roles through organizational board appointments and event participation to advance education and agriculture development at the local, state and national levels.

The two are synonymous with Roundup – the college’s annual homecoming event – participating in many activities and lending support. The Littles championed the town-gown connection bringing the Lexington Rotary Club to campus during Roundup to highlight students and the college’s accomplishments.

The Littles seek to instill engagement in future generations. They created the C. Oran and Myrtle Little Scholarship in CAFE for juniors and seniors who display strong leadership skills and are highly engaged in the college. They reside in Lexington.

Hall of Distinguished Alumni

The highest honor the college bestows is to induct someone into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni. Every two years, alumni will be inducted to the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

View Hall of Distinguished Alumni Inductees

The Horizon Award

The Horizon Award, presented on a biennial basis, honors and recognizes a person or persons for their early professional accomplishments. This award is based on a significant record of career achievement and a promise for future professional success.

Nomination Criteria

  • Have a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, including the former College of Home Economics and the former College of Human Environmental Sciences
  • Age 40 years or younger at the time of nomination OR within 10 years of graduation for non-traditional students
  • Have made a significant contribution to one’s profession, society and/or community
  • Not hold a political office at the time of nomination
  • Cannot be a current employee of the University of Kentucky
  • Cannot be currently serving on the UK Martin-Gatton CAFE Alumni Association Board

The Paul Appel Alumni Service Award

The Paul Appel Alumni Service Award, presented on a biennial basis, honors and recognizes a person(s) or entity who has provided extraordinary service to the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Alumni Association. The honoree(s) can be an alum or non-alum of the college.

Paul Appel was instrumental in starting alumni activities for the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Appel was tasked by Dean Charles Barnhart in 1973 to update the alumni database and get alums back to campus one day a year. Appel implemented the annual Roundup event held on campus each fall and started 15 geographical alumni chapters across the state. He is praised for his foresight of the need for alumni relations work on the college level. Much of Appel’s alumni efforts are still in effect today.

Nomination Criteria

  • Have a sustained record of outstanding service to the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Alumni Association
  • Cannot be a current employee of the college
  • Cannot be currently serving on the UK Martin-Gatton CAFE Alumni Association Board

The Oran & Myrtle Little Friend of Martin-Gatton CAFE Award

The Oran & Myrtle Little Friend of Martin-Gatton CAFE Award, presented on a biennial basis, honors and recognizes a person(s) or entity who has demonstrated a strong commitment and provided extraordinary service to the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Nomination Criteria

  • Have sustained significant contribution to the UK Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
  • Cannot be a current employee of the college
  • Cannot be currently serving on the UK Martin-Gatton CAFE Alumni Association Board

Contact Information

Danielle Jostes
Senior Director of Philanthropy & Alumni

1312 Nicholasville Road Cooper House Lexington, KY 40546-0094

+1 (859) 257-1207

danielle.jostes@uky.edu