George L. Scott Jr., college services coordinator for the Robinson Scholars Program, was honored on February 24th as the professional advisor recipient of the 19th annual Ken Freedman Outstanding Advisor Award. The award recognizes outstanding service in the field of academic advising.
The Ken Freedman Outstanding Advisor Awards are sponsored by the UK Advising Network and the Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and are named in honor of a professional adviser who worked at UK for 15 years prior to his death in 2001. Freedman had always gone out of his way to help students find success, and his reputation for professionalism and caring service serves as a role model for us all. Together with Jane Johnson and a few other student services staff, Freedman helped create the UK Advising Network for professional and faculty advisors to work together. Past winners of the Freedman Award have included great professional staff academic advisors still working here at UK, such as Jane Johnson, Cathy Hunt, Joanne Davis, Abby Hollander and Suanne Early. The presentation of annual awards began in 1995, and only one other male professional academic advisor (Eric Brown) has won this prestigious award.
Scott hails from Morgan County Kentucky and was a Robinson Scholar himself, graduating from UK in 2008. He earned a Master of Arts in Higher Education from the University of Louisville and came back to UK as a student services officer in Enrollment Management, the College of Business & Economics and now works in the Division of Undergraduate Education. He supports many cross-college efforts such as the First Generation Advisory Board and the LGBT Task Force, and also is a member of the Young Professionals of East Kentucky.
Robinson Scholars Program Director Jeff Spradling told a UK reporter: “George is part adviser, part big brother and part good Samaritan to our Robinson Scholars. He understands that helping students succeed means teaching them about dedication to academic excellence. Sometimes, though, our students need a person who can help them with things beyond the classroom, such as finding a doctor when they are sick or an apartment in Lexington, and George fills those roles, too. He gives his time unselfishly, both professionally and personally.”
Check out George’s radio interview with UKPR’s Carl Nathe during the UK vs. Lafayette game in November 2012. (Also available via Word doc transcript here.)
In 1991, the UK Board of Trustees approved a plan that set aside coal and timber royalties from a 5,000-acre section of the Robinson Forest to support economic and community development efforts in Appalachian Kentucky. The Board allocated a significant portion of those funds to provide scholarships to students in 29 eastern Kentucky counties with historically low rates of college attendance. In 1996, the University approved a working plan for the Robinson Scholars Program, and the first class of Scholars was selected in the spring of 1997. Since then, the Program has named over 500 students as Robinson Scholars. In 2008, the Program created the Robinson Leaders Program, based in Jackson, for eastern Kentucky high school students who would be first generation college students. The Robinson Scholars Program serves those first generation college-bound and college students who have demonstrated the potential to succeed but who might encounter economic, cultural, or institutional impediments to their completion of four-year college degrees.
In close collaboration with several other student support services programs here at UK, the Robinson Scholars college program has had a big impact on the increased retention and graduation rates of one of UK’s most at-risk populations. The Program has garnered national attention and in 2006 won the NACADA Outstanding Program Award. In 2012, the EQT Foundation provided a gift to help fund the high school programming. For more information, visit their website at http://www.uky.edu/RobinsonScholars.