Timothy and Jeanette George, parents of DeMarcus George
Timothy and Jeanette George, parents of DeMarcus George

The Parent of the Year Award, now in its 11th year, lets students recognize their parents for the help and support they’ve given throughout the students’ lives. UofL students were encouraged to nominate a family member and a selection committee judged their essays and came to a consensus on the 2018 award recipient: Timothy and Jeanette George, parents of DeMarcus George. 

“We had over 70 nominations this year, which is a new record,” said Glenn Gittings, director of the UofL Parents Association

Students nominate their parents by writing a letter and then submitting it to a committee of UofL staff for consideration. Each nominee received a small plaque and a rolled scroll that included his or her child’s nomination letter. Dean of Students Michael Mardis read excerpts from some of the letters that highlighted parents’ accomplishments.

In his letter, DeMarcus George writes that his parents defy stereotypes, work hard and provide unconditional love. 

The couple took home a large plaque and a framed copy of DeMarcus’ nomination letter.

Kelly Stohr, father of Anna Stohr, winner of the UPS Metropolitan College Parent of the Year Award
Kelly Stohr, father of Anna Stohr, winner of the UPS Metropolitan College Parent of the Year Award

Thanks to a new partnership with UPS, the Parents Association added a new award to this year’s event: the UofL UPS Metropolitan College Parent of the Year Award. Kelly Stohr, father of Anna Stohr, won this new award.  

Click here to see more photos from the evening. 

Read DeMarcus George’s winning essay:

Parents are amazing to have. Without parents, a lot of us would not be heading in the right directions. At a young age, parents lay down rules and instill life lessons amongst us, so when we grow into adulthood, we can take these same things we have learned and use them as a gateway to stay on the right path. This a lot easier said than done. I would be lying if I said I truly believed in my minor years, that anything my parents taught me would pay off once I got older. Now that I am an adult, I appreciate everything they have taught me, and I do not think I would have experienced any of my previous successful moments without them.

My father has been a huge influence in my life. He has shown on a day to day basis, how a man can go to work and support his family, show unconditional love for his family, and stay in the life of his children even when times may seem hard. As an African-American man, it is a commonly assumed stereotype that if our fathers are present in our lives, they will eventually leave at some point or they may never have been a part of our lives to begin with. I can say my father does not fall anywhere close to those categories. As a young man growing up in the projects, very poor and forced to pretty much be the man of the household for his brothers and sisters, my father had a rough time growing up. Not knowing where meals would come from and how he could afford to support his family at young age, he learned how to survive and make the best of what he had. Though the circumstances at a young age were not in his control, he did not let that stop him from being a better man or let that force him to return to the environment he once grew up in when he got older. As a young man, he was able to earn his associate degree, which would later lead him into moving forward into a job position a DHL (then Airborne Express). While making his mark at DHL, he eventually rose to district manager and was responsible for managing an entire region of employees. After working there for many years, he later got into the medical field and still holds his position as a Neurophysiological Tech, where he works with giving patients brain scans and helping figure out what may be the cause of their injuries and diseases. My father has also been in my life continuously for the 22 years I have been born, and he has served as a role model that I can say (for a long time) I did not know I had. When I was struggling with life, trials, and growth as an African-American man, I constantly thought to myself and prayed to God asking who I could go and talk to about my life and how I truly felt. His answer was my father. I had to get over the fact that my father was older and his knowledge of the things happening in today’s world be way out of style. His answers and knowledge changed my life for the better. Now I stand as a young man that believes in himself, destined to grow, and feeling as if I can be whatever I want to be in life. Not because I saw it on a reality show on T.V., but I saw it in front of my own eyes by the man that raised me.

My mother has ultimately been a huge influence in my life as well. My older twin, because I mean we do not look alike or anything right? The strong person I seen come into a house after working a 12-hour shift, still making dinner, and taking time to enjoy her family because she loved us so much. The person that would come straight from work and go to all my games and still take the time to critique how I played because she saw more potential in me than I seen in myself. The person that rejected and did not belong to the stereotype of being an “angry black woman” because she constantly had a heart filled with love and care for everyone around her. My mother has shown me my whole life that there is no love like a mother’s love and that women can have a very positive effect on a man’s life. While growing up, I was always able to spend a lot of time with my mom just like I did with my dad. Moms tend to nurture you more, though, because they are a lot better at recognizing things then men, such as those pre-symptoms that show a sickness and those gestures we make when something is wrong or not going our way. So, no matter what, anything that did not seem right, my mother always knew, or she had an answer as to why something did not seem right. The same exact love and concern she had for me, she would give to my father as well. This helped me to learn at a young age that men should respect women and we should appreciate all the things that women in our lives truly do for us. My mother also grew up poor and at a young age, being thrown in positions to make ends meet. One thing she always had that she never let get away from her was the dedication and strong work ethic she had. When my mother was a little bit younger, she started working for Toyota. She started off as a regular employee and then worked her way up to a team leader. Since I was young, as I stated earlier, she would work long shifts and do whatever she had to do to make sure her family was taking care of. Not a lot of women can say they stayed in manufacturing for a long time nor can they say they’ve been able to stay in a male dominated field for multiple years. But she should be extremely proud because she’s been doing it ongoing now for 26 years. If there’s three things she’s taught me while being a role model in my life time, it is working hard, showing love for your family , and never counting a woman out because she can be tougher than anyone that is in front of her. My mother has been one of the best blessings I’ve received and seeing her being strong day in and day out is why I have such a profound respect for all women, especially our African-American women.

My parents are a huge blessing and I think they deserved the “Parent of the Year” award, not only for all their contributions, but for their greatness as people. From my Dad teaching me how to be strong and how a man should treat his wife. To my mother teaching me how to work hard and provide my family with unconditional love. There’s so much more that I could say, but there wouldn’t be enough time in the day to even put everything down on paper. My parents deserve the world and I hope one day everyone will get to hear their stories.

Niki King
Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.