Kentucky Public Service Hall of Fame


Congressman Hal Rogers, 2017

Hal Rogers is currently serving his 19th term in Congress where he represents Kentucky's 5th Congressional District, located in the southern and eastern region of Kentucky. He is also the longest serving Kentucky Republican ever elected to federal office. Congressman Rogers served as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee from 2011 to 2016 where he restored regular order and a culture on the Committee for serious budget oversight and transparency in process. With more than 30 years of experience on the Appropriations Committee, he has served on eight different subcommittees, including leadership roles as Chairman or Ranking Member of three. Rogers was tapped in 2003 to lead the newly established Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

Born in rural Kentucky and representing one of the poorest Congressional Districts in the nation, Rogers' vision for a stronger region spurred some of the greatest success stories in southern and eastern Kentucky. During his multiple terms, he has focused on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drug use and preserving the national treasures of Appalachia. He has been a staunch supporter of organizations such as PRIDE, Operation UNITE, Southeast Kentucky Economic Development (SKED), The Center for Rural Development and Shaping our Appalachian Region (SOAR), which have brought local communities together by revitalizing the environment, providing hope in the fight against drugs, building small businesses, and creating jobs by increasing tourism in one of the most beautiful regions of the country.



Merl Hackbart, 2016

Merl Hackbart is Provost’s Distinguished Service Professor of Finance and Public Policy. He has served as Special Assistant to the UK Chancellor, Associate Dean and Interim Dean of the Gatton College of Business and Economics and served twice as Director of the Martin School, including serving as its initial Director. He earned his B.S. degree at South Dakota State University in 1963 and his Ph.D. in Economics from Kansas State University in 1968. He received his Army commission while at SDSU and served in the Army from 1966 to 1968 and attained the rank of Captain. After positions at the University of Wyoming and in South Dakota State government, he came to UK in 1973 to lead the development of the MPA program.

In addition to his University career, Merl has served twice as Kentucky State Budget Director, served on the Kentucky Consensus Revenue Forecasting Group for over 20 years.  He also is a Senior Fellow at the Council of State Governments and has been an appointed member of the Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education. He has been honored as a Distinguished Alum at South Dakota State University, inducted into the National Academy of Public Administration and received the William Lyons award for University service and has been honored as a Kentucky Distinguished Economist. Merl and his wife, Maxine, have two grown children, Jeff and Jody, and five grandchildren.



Crit Luallen, 2016

Former Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen is known as one of Kentucky’s most experienced and respected public leaders, after serving with seven Governors and being elected twice to statewide office. 

Appointed  by Governor Steve Beshear as Kentucky’s 56th Lieutenant Governor, Luallen partnered with the Governor in his ongoing efforts to build a stronger Kentucky through job creation and expanded access to health care.  As Lt. Governor she chaired kyhealthnow, an initiative to develop strategies and track progress toward a healthier Kentucky.  

Luallen was elected the state’s Auditor of Public Accounts in 2003 and re-elected in 2007.  Prior to that, she served nearly seven years as Secretary of the Governor’s Executive Cabinet, the highest appointed position in Kentucky state government.  Previous appointments include State Budget Director, Secretary of Finance, Secretary of Tourism, and Commissioner of the Department of the Arts.   She also served as President of the Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership, a regional economic development agency.  In 2009 she was named Public Official of the Year by the Washington, D.C.-based magazine Governing for her positive impact on government in Kentucky.

Luallen is a native of Frankfort, a graduate of Centre College, where she serves on the Board of Trustees, and is married to Lynn Luallen.



Albert P. Smith, Jr., 2015

Al Smith is a dedicated journalist, columnist, author, editor, publisher, and television host. He started his career in Louisiana only to find his way back to Kentucky editing the Russellville News-Democrat weekly paper. He went on to become the owner and publisher of several rural newspapers, starting Al Smith Communications in 1968.

Al Smith has impacted public policy in the state of Kentucky through his role as an “engaged journalist”—using journalism as a tool to keep public officials accountable to the public, all the while remaining active in his own community. In 1974, Al became the founding host and producer of “Comment on Kentucky,” a public affairs program on Kentucky Educational Television, which he continued hosting until 2007. He took a leave from 1980-1982 when he was appointed to federal co-chairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission, serving under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Al has chaired a variety of Boards including the Kentucky Arts Commission (now Council), the Governor’s Committee on Education, Leadership Kentucky, the Shakertown Roundtable, and the Kentucky Press Association. Additionally, he helped found the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, the Kentucky Oral History Commission, Leadership Kentucky, and the Governor’s Scholars. In 2004, Al became the co-founder of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which is based on the campus of the University of Kentucky and remains active today.

Al lives in Lexington with the love of his life, his wife, Martha Helen Smith.



Pam Miller, 2014

Pam Miller has dedicated her life to serving the Bluegrass and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  She served as mayor of Lexington-Fayette County from 1993-2003, the first woman to do so, and prior to that, she served on the Urban County Council from 1974-77 (the first woman elected to public office) and again from 1980-1993. Her legacy is the rural preservation program which will save a significant part of Fayette County's remarkable landscape in perpetuity.

 Both before and after her tenure as Mayor, when Mrs. Miller saw a need, she wanted to address it.  She started the Lexington Farmers' Market in 1973, the Children's Museum (now the Explorium) in the 1980s, Partners for Youth for inner city teenagers in 1994,  and the Downtown Arts Center later in the 1990s.  She has served as a member and chairperson of numerous Boards ranging from the Lexington Opera Society to the Lexington Child Abuse Council.

She was a founding member and former chair of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a position that enabled her to exercise her life-long passion for helping children and families. Governor Beshear appointed her to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, a distinct honor, and she now serves as its Chairperson.

Pam and her husband, Dr. Ralph Miller, a physician and Olympic skier, moved to Lexington in 1970 with their three little children.  They found this city to be extraordinarily welcoming and a wonderful university community in which to work, raise a family, and make a difference in the quality of life.



Leonard and Lillian Press, 2013

Lillian and Len Press entered graduate school together in 1947 Boston University. They moved to Kentucky where Len became fascinated in the power of the new technology of television to improve basic education throughout the Commonwealth. This dream and years of harvesting financial and political support would grow into KET. KET has helped unite Kentuckians with shows about the state’s arts, history, culture and public affairs . In 1961 "Lil" became a volunteer for the newly formed Central Kentucky Mental Health Association and was significant in the later development of Kentucky's' statewide mental health system of community mental health centers. Lillian Press was appointed Executive Assistant to Commissioner of Kentucky Department of Mental Health. She was recruited to organize and direct Kentucky's Governor's Scholars Program. Lil organized 28 other state Governor's Schools into the National Conference of Governor's Schools and served as its chair/president until her retirement. During her retirement, Lillian Press organized The Women's Network and served as  member of the Centre College Board of Trustees for 17 years.



Senator Wendell H. Ford, 2012

Ford was the 53rd governor of Kentucky, before serving 24 years in the U.S Senate between 1974 and 1999. Prior to these roles, Mr. Ford served in the Kentucky State Senate and as Lieutenant Governor. Crit Luallen, member of the Martin School Board of Visitors and former Kentucky state auditor, introduced Ford as the Hall of Fame's inaugural inductee.

In accepting the award, Ford commented, "What you do for yourself dies with you; what you do for others lives on," Ford said. "I hope in my lifetime that I have left some marks that will be helpful." Ford concluded his remarks with some words for students.

"Washington is a wonderful place," he said. "Frankfort is a wonderful place. City government is a wonderful place. But it is a wonderful place after you go through the University of Kentucky’s Martin School, where you learn how to operate in those places."