Dean Farmer, Economics student receives UK’s highest honor for humanitarian efforts

Dean Farmer, an economics and political science major, is one of 3 recipients who have received UK’s highest honor for humanitarian efforts — the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

Established by the New York Southern Society in 1925 and named for its first president, Algernon Sydney Sullivan, the award recognizes those "who exhibit Sullivan's ideals of heart, mind and conduct as evince a spirit of love for and helpfulness to other men and women." After the society closed, the award has lived on through the Sullivan Foundation and is given at several universities in the South.

At UK, the Sullivan Award is bestowed each year on two graduating seniors and one citizen who has a connection to the university. Read UKNOW story

Dean Farmer

Farmer, of Goshen, Kentucky in Oldham County, will graduate this May with a degree in economics from the Gatton College of Business and Economics, and a second degree in political science from the College of Arts and Sciences.

During his time at UK, Farmer’s academic and extracurricular activities have centered around service to others. As part of his involvement in the Gatton College’s Global Scholars Program, he served as a Presidential Fellow in the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress program. Here, he conducted award-winning research on the economic impact of the H-1B nonimmigrant visa policy and how it can help increase both foreign and domestic wages.

Demonstrating a commitment to service and engagement with his peers, Farmer also serves as a peer coach for UK’s Financial Wellness Center, where he works directly with students to promote financial resources and aids students facing sensitive financial issues.

Additionally, Farmer worked for the Council of State Governments, where he conducted extensive policy research on state policies helping youth with disabilities transition into the workforce. He also served as a volunteer researcher for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Louisville, where he presented research on and advocated for mental health care among marginalized communities in Louisville. He also serves as a volunteer tutor at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, and currently serves as the director of finance and economic equity for the UK Student Government Association.

“Dean’s personal and professional records indicate that he is living the spirit and intent of the Sullivan Award,” his nominators wrote. “His humanitarian focus in his professional journey and his personal character and integrity are evident in his lived experiences during his time here at the University of Kentucky. His heart is in service to others.”

After graduation, Farmer plans to pursue a career in immigration law and continue serving those in need.

“Whether through one’s vocation, hobby, extracurricular interest, relationships, interactions or aspirations, I believe that each experience is an opportunity to serve others,” Farmer said. “After all, an immeasurable number of people in our society have some form of dire need, whether their need is due to immigration status, mental illness, financial crisis, or any other reason. For every need, there is an opportunity for service.”

The 2022 Sullivan Award winners will be recognized at a ceremony on campus next week. Learn more at