2022 Lyman T. Johnson Award Recipients

The Gatton College of Business and Economics is pleased to announce the 2022 Lyman T. Johnson Award recipients. Lyman T. Johnson was a pioneer who challenged the status quo in his landmark court case which opened the University of Kentucky to Black students in 1949. He dedicated his life to fighting against segregation and racial inequalities in Kentucky. The Lyman T. Johnson African American Constituency Group established an endowed scholarship in his name to provide financial assistance to students of color in their pursuit of higher education.

Each year, academic colleges select at least one Black alum whose faith, hard work and determination have positively affected the lives of people on the UK campus, the city, state or nation. These individuals receive the Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence award. In addition, there is also a selection of at least one Black student who displays outstanding academic achievement and the ability to impact the lives of others to receive the Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer award.

Sean Edwards of Lexington, Kentucky is the recipient of the 2022 Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Award. Edwards is a serial entrepreneur who graduated from the Gatton College of Business and Economics in 2009 with a BBA in Business Management. He currently owns and runs a dry-cleaning service, a construction company and most recently, a distilling company. His distilling company, Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co., was crafted in 2017 by he and his wife, Tia (also a University of Kentucky graduate), with the goal of not only creating a fresh bourbon experience but also introducing an African American presence in the Kentucky bourbon industry. Sean and Tia recently celebrated the ribbon cutting of their Downtown Lexington Tasting Room. Edwards is a champion of charting his own path in the effort of diversity and inclusion.


M. Kajo Evanson, of Louisville, Kentucky is the recipient of the 2022 Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer Award. Evanson is a senior studying accounting with the goal of working on the financial side of the medical industry. She is an integral part of many associations and organizations; Evanson currently serves as the president of NABA (National Association of Black Accountants), treasurer for ASA (African Student Association), and is part of Collegiate Curls and Circus Club. In the first few months of 2022, she interned with Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG), one of the “Big 4” accounting firms, and in the summer of 2022, she worked as an audit intern with MCM CPAs. In 2020, she was accepted into the UK Health Learning Observer program, which allowed her to see what working in medical industry with finances would look like. Through the program, she attended revenue cycle meetings, departmental administration meetings and a strategic medical infrastructure development project; all experiences which shaped her to be able to enter the industry upon her graduation in 2022.

The 31st annual awards ceremony which will take place Friday, Oct. 14, in the Bill Gatton Student Center on UK’s campus. For more information about the luncheon or awards, please visit here.