Monday Memo, September 25, 2023

A Message from Dean Dayna Touron

Dear A&S Colleagues,

I have been so looking forward to my listening tour of the College's academic departments, and last week it finally launched with my first visit to the Department of Criminal Justice. It was such a pleasure meeting CJ's faculty and staff and learning more about their culture, history, challenges, and opportunities.

These listening sessions will continue at a pace of about one per week for the remainder of the academic year, allowing me the time and space to absorb and reflect, investigate questions raised, and follow up thoughtfully with each of our 21 departments. While I anticipate that common themes will emerge, there are simply no shortcuts to acquiring the depth and breadth of understanding of our people and programs that I need to be the best possible leader and advocate for this college.

To those whose turns fall later in the academic year: know that I appreciate your patience. By then, I'll be building upon a base of knowledge and experience that may allow me to be even more effective in my responses to your department's concerns. But regardless of where your department falls in the schedule, know that I am deeply impressed by the caring and commitment that I'm witnessing in every corner of the College. You are doing amazing work for your students, disciplines, and community, and I am so proud to be your dean.


Dayna Touron, Dean


Alumni Spotlight


We are thrilled to announce that Marianne Butler has been named the College of Arts & Sciences’ 2023 Alumni Fellow. Butler received her B.S. in Political Science in 1989 and her Master of Public Administration in 1993, both from UofL.

The UofL Alumni Awards are the highest honor bestowed by Louisville Alumni. These awards recognize distinguished graduates who are exemplary ambassadors for the university and their college or school. Recipients reflect the high standing and character of their alma mater and are celebrated as part of Homecoming.

Since 2022 Butler has served as City Clerk for the City of Middletown. In 2021 Governor Andy Beshear appointed her to the Kentucky Public Service Commission, where she served until February 2022. From 2007 to 2018, Butler was Metro Council representative for District 15, representing neighborhoods in Louisville near Iroquois Park and the University of Louisville. She received a certificate in Corporate Citizenship Management from Boston College and is a 2004 graduate of Leadership Kentucky.

Butler currently serves on the boards of UofL Mary and Elizabeth Hospital, the Waterfront Development Board, the HB 314 Committee as Mayor’s designee, and the Dismas Charities Community Board. She was instrumental in securing a grant from Metro Louisville to help create a Birthing Center at UofL Mary and Elizabeth Hospital, the first birthing center west of I-65 in decades. She previously served as Chair of the Kentucky Performing Arts and was on the UofL Alumni Board. Read more.


Elmer Lucille Allen (M.A. Studio Arts 2002) (above) was recently honored at the Louisville Marriott Downtown as the first Black chemist at Brown-Forman distillery.

The 92-year-old says she never planned to become a scientist or make history. After working in labs, hospitals, and eventually at UofL doing medical and dental research, she landed a job as the first African-American chemist at Brown-Forman in 1966.

She says she didn't let a lack of diversity get in the way of excelling. “It's like I tell everybody now. Here I am. Take me as I am, and you learn,” said Allen.

Samara B. Davis, the founder of Black Bourbon Society, says Allen is a trailblazer in the field. “She made this major contribution to bourbon, but there's still so much to fill, and there's so much to do in order for everything to be really diverse and inclusive in our space,” said Davis.

Davis says it was important to her to see Allen honored for all she's done to break down barriers in the bourbon industry. Allen received the Bourbon Pioneer Award, the Distinguished Citizen Proclamation, and other recognitions. Read more.


Hidden Talents


An A&S staff member was cast as an extra in a Hollywood movie that premiers this week. Karen Thompson, Administrative Assistant in the Department of Criminal Justice, appears in “Muzzle,” which releases on September 29, 2023. Filmed in Louisville locations that resemble Los Angeles, where the story is set, the film stars Aaron Eckhart as an LAPD officer who is determined to uncover the truth about the murder of his K-9 partner. The Louisville Metro K-9 unit is featured, and advance press has been enthusiastic.

“Muzzle” is not Karen’s first appearance onscreen, and it won’t be her last. In June 2023, playwright and screenwriter Vin Morreale, who had cast Karen in "Muzzle," also cast her as an extra for the feature film based on his stage comedy, “The Kiss Me Curse." Karen’s scenes were shot at Louisville Male High School, from which Karen, her daughter, and her granddaughter all graduated.

“While I was waiting to walk down the hallway dressed like a teacher from the late 1990s, I began reminiscing,” she said. Karen’s daughter, Kendria Braxton (Rice-Locket), played basketball at Male and went on to play for the UofL women’s basketball team in 1994-98. Karen’s granddaughter, Madison Rice-Locket, played volleyball at Male in 2018-21. Karen herself graduated in the class of 1974, was voted in the “Most Likely to Succeed” category, and served as captain of the Cheerleading team. “I had the pleasure of cheering for the future 'Dr. Dunkenstein,' Darryl Griffith during my senior year,” she said.

On the set of "The Kiss Me Curse," these fond memories were abruptly halted when Karen was “verbally given the script of a lifetime, which was, ‘Don’t run in the hallway!’ I was elated to be told that my name will be added to the credits," she said. (The Monday Memo will follow up when the film is released.)

Karen has previously appeared in local commercials for Kroger and Galleria and as an extra in films for TBN (Spirit Contemporary, 2017), Rare Bird Productions (Smoketown, 2018), a Hallmark movie (Ultimate Legacy, 2015), and Harpo Productions (Iyanla! Fix my Life, 2015). She loved participating in the performing arts in middle school, and as a young adult, she attended a summer workshop at the Alvin Ailey Dance Repertoire in New York City in the late 70s, which she said was an “eye-opening experience.”

When Karen isn’t working or acting, she has a passion for providing various movement practices to the under-served and special populations. “I’m a group fitness instructor at the Republic Bank Foundation YMCA in West Louisville,” she said. “I currently, teach Nia® Moving to Heal and Ageless Grace-Brain Health Fitness® at Gilda’s Club of Kentuckiana®. I’m certified as a LiveStrong® at the YMCA instructor trained in customized exercise regimens, cancer survivorship, post-rehabilitation exercise, and supportive cancer care.” Finally, she also volunteers as an online moderator for the Hope for Widows Foundation.

Many thanks to Karen for sharing these facets of her life. If you would like to reveal some of your extracurricular side in this newsletter, please get in touch with




When a historian and an archivist decamped from their New York City roost to Louisville during the pandemic with their new baby in tow, settling in a historic home was the goal. Their search for a suitable abode led to a gracious 1924 Tudor revival with great bones, and an introduction by a contractor led them to designer Bethany Adams, part-time lecturer in Art and Design in UofL's Hite Institute of Art and owner of Bethany Adams Interiors.

“We were trying to make it a family home, and not have it be a museum,” Adams explains. With the original blueprints included in the purchase of the home, Adams went about creating congruence between the house’s distinguishing characteristics and the comfortable, contemporary aesthetic the couple was going for.

Kudos to Prof. Adams for having her work appear in Architectural Digest, where you can read more about this project. Below: the home’s Shaker Deco kitchen. Cabinets and island custom designed by Bethany Adams Interiors; stove is from the La CornuFé Series by La Cornue.


Congratulations to Dr. Amanuel Beyin, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, on the recent publication of his co-edited volume (with three colleagues) of African archaeology published by Springer. Titled Handbook of Pleistocene Archaeology of Africa: Hominin behavior, geography and chronology, the book has 279 contributors over 2 volumes and is expected to serve as a valuable reference work for researchers and students of African prehistory. The editors acknowledge receiving subvention grants for editorial cost from UofL's Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society and from the University of Oslo’s Institute of Archaeology, Conservation and History. Beyin appreciates the semester-long sabbatical leave he was granted to work on the book project in Fall 2021. (See book cover below.)


On September 7, Brandon McCormack (below, right), Chair of Pan African Studies, participated in a panel with David Anderson (center), Associate Professor of English, moderated by Jabani Bennett (left), in conjunction with the Speed Art Museum's exhibition, "Louisville’s Black Avant-Garde: Robert L. Douglas." The exhibit runs through Oct. 1, 2023 in the Speed's Chellgren Gallery. Read more on the Speed Museum's website and in this review by Forbes magazine.


Congratulations to Andrew Rabin, professor and vice chair in the Department of English, for being selected as the Metropolitan College (MC) UofL Faculty Supporter of the Year. This award recognizes faculty who have contributed in a significant way to the academic success and overall experience of an MC student. MC students share, "He is flexible, an open communicator and always willing to help out an MC student. He makes class engaging and provides leniency and grace while holding students to high expectations and standards."

Metropolitan College is a Kentucky partnership between the University of Louisville, UPS, and Jefferson Community and Technical College. Participating students get their full-time undergraduate tuition paid to the University of Louisville or Jefferson Community & Technical College as well as fee payment money, bonuses, and other benefits. Learn more on the UofL/Metropolitan College webpage.


Human Resources


New Benefits representative: Beth Masters is the new Benefits Specialist assigned to A&S. Beth can be reached at 852-8682 or

New A&S Staff members:

  • Gina Curry, ASL Coordinator, Dept. of Classical and Modern Languages
  • Courtney Griffith, Executive Assistant, Dean’s Office

2024 Open Enrollment dates are Oct. 23- Nov. 8, with benefit elections taking effect on Jan. 1, 2024. More information will be available in a mailer and in information sessions, and updates will appear regularly in UofL Today.

Wellness: Enroll in Get Healthy Now and earn points for 2024. Employees must earn 480 wellness points between now and November 30, 2023, to qualify for the $40 Get Healthy Now monthly incentive in 2024. Employees are required to complete the Personal Health Profile (PHP), which is worth 200 wellness points, regardless of results. The remaining 280 wellness points may be earned through a variety of activities/programs from now through November 30, 2023. Full list of point opportunities is in the Get Healthy Now Incentive Guide

University of Louisville Holidays for 2024 were recently announced. Note that winter break starts later in 2024, but there are two additional holidays on July 5 and November 5 (election day).

  • New Year’s Day: January 1, 2024 (Mon.)
  • Martin Luther King Day: January 15, 2024 (Mon.)
  • Memorial Day: May 27, 2024 (Mon.)
  • Juneteenth: June 19, 2024 (Wed.)
  • Independence Day: July 4-5, 2024 (Thurs.-Fri.)
  • Labor Day:September 2, 2024 (Mon.)
  • Presidential Election Day: November 5, 2024 (Tues.)
  • Early Release Day (½ day of supervisor approved leave): November 27, 2024 (Wed.)
  • Thanksgiving Holiday: November 28-29, 2024 (Thurs.-Fri.)
  • Winter Break: December 21-31, 2024 (Sat.-Tues.)