Prather to receive honorary degree


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville will bestow an honorary degree on longtime public servant and UofL supporter Joseph W. Prather, Sr. during its Dec. 19 commencement. He will receive the honorary degree of doctor of public service.

    “Joe is everything a public servant should be,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “He’s honest, cares deeply about the people of this state and was always willing to do what’s right, not necessarily what was best for his political career.”

    Prather, who lives in Hardin County, enjoyed nearly five decades as a leader in Kentucky government. He served 19 years in the state legislature including 11 as the head of the senate—Senate President Pro-Tempore. Prather also completed stints in the executive branch of state government as secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet and secretary of the Transportation Cabinet, but it was his love and advocacy for UofL that prompted the university to award him the honorary degree.

    In 1997 Prather encouraged former UofL President John Shumaker to join former Gov. Paul Patton’s successful push for higher education reform, setting UofL on its path to become a premier metropolitan research university.

    Prather is a longtime member of the university’s Board of Overseers and has played a critical role in UofL’s emerging partnership with Fort Knox. He helped secure student aid funding for veterans and research money for the Wounded Warriors program. Prather currently serves as chair of UofL’s Fort Knox advisory board.

    “We could think of no better recipient for this honorary degree,” Ramsey said. “Joe has been and will continue to be a tremendous friend to the University of Louisville.”

    Prather says he’s excited about receiving the honorary degree. “I’m honored and humbled that the university I love would honor me in a way that is far beyond my wildest dreams.”

    Mark Hebert
    Following a 28-year career as a radio and television reporter, Mark Hebert joined the University of Louisville as the Director of Media Relations in 2009, serving as the main spokesperson. In 2015, Mark was named Director of Programming and Production. He’s now producing and hosting a radio show about “all things UofL”, overseeing the university’s video and TV productions and promoting UofL’s research operation. Mark is best known for his 22 years as the political and investigative reporter for WHAS-TV in Louisville where he won numerous awards for breaking stories, exposing corruption and objectively covering Kentucky politics. In 2014, Mark was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.