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UK Law Student, Assistant Dean Receive Torch Bearer, Torch of Excellence Awards

October 9, 2017

Christopher Lewis, third-year law student at the University of Kentucky College of Law, and Daniel P. Murphy, Jr., Assistant Dean of Community Engagement & Diversity, were honored with the Torch Bearer and Torch of Excellence Awards on Friday, Oct. 6, during the 27th Annual Homecoming Awards Ceremony at the King Alumni House.

The event, hosted annually by the Lyman T. Johnson African American Alumni Constituent Group, recognizes deserving African American alumni, faculty, staff and students who exemplify the passion and courage exhibited by Lyman T. Johnson as he led the racial desegregation efforts at UK more than 60 years ago.

Past UK Law honorees include Judge Gary Payne (1999), Jesse Crenshaw (2004), Ollen B. Hinnant (2010), Angela Edwards (2013), John McNeill (2014), Ismaila Ceesay (2016) and Melynda Price (2016).

Lewis received the Torch Bearer Award for 2017. He serves as Vice President of the UK Law Black Law Students Association (BLSA). He was also selected to the Trial Advocacy Board, is a member of the UK Law Latino Law Society and is an Executive Board Member of the UK Law Wellness Initiative. In addition, he is involved with the StreetLaw program, one of UK Law's key pro bono initiatives. Through StreetLaw, UK Law students utilize their legal education to teach real-life lessons in law and government to high school students, empowering them to go forward and make positive changes in the community, while also inspiring them to consider a future legal career. Bryan Station High School and Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy of Excellence serve as host schools for the program.

Lewis has served as a law clerk at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, assisting those who qualify for legal services for free or reduced rates based on income, and a legal intern at the Maxwell Street Legal Clinic. He also received a CALI Award (The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) in his first-year Torts class. The award is given to the student with the highest grade in the class. Lewis will complete his Juris Doctor in May 2018.

Assistant Dean Murphy received the Torch of Excellence Award for 2017. He is a 1998 graduate of UK Law and he obtained his bachelor's degree in political science from UK in 1993, making him the first college graduate in his family. Prior to joining the staff at UK Law, he was Counsel at the law firm of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP in its Lexington, Ky. office, and was formerly a member in the law firm of McMurry & Livingston, PLLC, in Paducah, Ky., where he focused primarily in the area of real estate law. 

Assistant Dean Murphy oversees day-to-day nonacademic operations at UK Law, including the supervision of the following departments: Marketing & Communications, Information Technology, and Continuing Legal Education. He also serves as the college's diversity officer, oversees the voluntary student pro bono program and works to engage the college with the university, the community-at-large, the Commonwealth and the nation. He has orchestrated visits by five United States Supreme Court Justices and countless judicial speakers. He has also managed many law journal symposia. In addition, Assistant Dean Murphy oversees the college’s $56 million building renovation and expansion project.

Assistant Dean Murphy also plays an active role in the community. He is a past chair of the Commerce Lexington Board of Directors and currently serves on the KY YMCA Youth Association Board of Directors and Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass Board of Directors. Furthermore, Dean Murphy volunteers with several local high schools.