Winners of the 2014 Outstanding Community Engagement Awards surround the plaque in the lower level of Ekstrom Library that bears the names of the winners. Photo by Tom Fougerousse.
Winners of the 2014 Outstanding Community Engagement Awards surround the plaque in the lower level of Ekstrom Library that bears the names of the winners. Photo by Tom Fougerousse.

To the Junior ROTC cadets at Jeffersontown High School, she was “Mama G.” Kimberly Goughler’s hundreds of hours of volunteer time combined with the thousands of dollars she raised for the program led the students to nominate her for a University of Louisville Outstanding Community Engagement award in 2014.

Goughler, who works at the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute on the Health Sciences Center Campus, cried when she won. She said she was “shocked and embarrassed and humbled.”

Every year since 2009, the UofL Outstanding Community Engagement awards have been given out to recognize extraordinary community involvement by faculty, staff, students and community partners.

The deadline for nominations for the 2016 awards is April 29. Winners receive $2,500, have their names added to a plaque in Ekstrom Library and are honored at a reception.

Another 2014 winner was Karen Robinson, PhD, School of Nursing gerontology professor emerita and executive director of the Caregivers Program of Research.

Robinson was recognized for her work on behalf of those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and their caregivers. She has partnered with the Greater Louisville and Southern Indiana Alzheimer’s Association to start a Memory Café and with Norton’s Office of Church and Health Ministry to help build more dementia-friendly congregations and faith communities. She used the monetary award to travel to Amsterdam to visit a village designed specifically for people with dementia.

“The tour of this village inspired me to think of how these concepts might be used to build a more dementia-friendly community, including faith groups prepared to provide ministry to people with dementia and their caregivers,” she said.

Diane Whitlock, assistant to the vice provost for diversity and international affairs, won in 2010 for her work with The Healing Place, an addiction recovery center.

“It was an honor to be recognized by my employer for work that I hoped would be beneficial to the community,” Diane said. “The university’s commitment to community engagement is a true example of how merging ‘town and gown’ benefits our city stakeholders and demonstrates the positive impact of putting ideas to action.”

Kim Johnson, administrative associate in Information Technology, who won in 2015 with co-worker Ann Hobdy for collecting items such as warm clothing for homeless children and stuffed bears for frightened children in police patrol cars, said it was a “great honor” to win the award.

“I love volunteering and giving back to the community,” she said. “We have such a big need so close to our university home and every time I bring a service project to our department and ask for help, they are always there to help pay it forward. It is nice to know that the university recognizes the efforts that employees put forth to help make our community a better place.”

For more on the awards, including nomination forms for 2016, visit online.

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Janet Cappiello covers the College of Business, the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Sustainability Council and military initiatives for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She has more than 30 years’ experience in journalism, including working for The Associated Press and magazines such as Vegetarian Times and Sustainability: The Journal of Record. She has been at UofL since March 2014.