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Paul J. Sipes Award: Luke Kues

The Paul J. Sipes award is presented to an outstanding senior student who displays (through documentation provided by the nominator and nominee) the personal qualities of honesty, character, and industry and who has actively participated in community affairs. The person will also be strong academically, and, although a specific grade point average is not required, the individual’s academic record should be given equal weight along with the listed personal qualities and community involvement. This award will be presented upon completion of degree requirements. The award does not have to be given if the committee determines there are no suitable nominees during a particular year.  The Northern Kentucky University Alumni Association sponsors this award.
Luke Kues
The impact of one student’s efforts has been felt by the entire Northern Kentucky University community.

Luke T. Kues, who is graduating with degrees in both biological sciences and psychology, has been selected to receive the Paul J. Sipes Award due to his outstanding passion for helping others.

During Luke’s sophomore year, he began seeking help through NKU’s Office of Health, Counseling & Student Wellness. He noticed then that one of his fraternity brothers was having a significantly different experience with NKU’s counseling services.

“I hated seeing him in pain,” Luke says. “I also knew he wasn’t the only Black student having challenges with seeking services at NKU.”

"We are all connected. When I am well, it allows me to uplift the people around me. When you are well, it benefits me. This is the essence of a True Community."

Luke spoke with other students, professors and administrators to find a solution—leading him to co-author and pass a mental health resolution through NKU’s Student Government Association. This resolution improved counseling services for all students and resulted in the hiring of NKU’s first Black counselor.

Throughout his time at NKU, Luke has served as a strong and innovative leader in his many roles. He served as vice president of the Rho Gamma chapter and assistant district director of Kentucky for the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and as the president of the NAACP unit on campus. He was also involved with the National Society of Leadership and Success, NKU R.O.C.K.S. and NKU LAMP.

Outside of the NKU community, Luke is an American Red Cross authorized instructor and volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club, where he was presented with the 2018 Mentor of the Year Award.

One of Luke’s highest accomplishments is the founding of a nonprofit organization called True Community which promotes holistic health and wellness.

A program hosted by True Community, Wellness Wednesday “is intentionally designed for the individual’s physical, mental, emotional, social, financial and spiritual wellness,” Luke explains. “We are all connected. When I am well, it allows me to uplift the people around me. When you are well, it benefits me. This is the essence of a True Community.”

After graduation, Luke is looking forward to continuing his efforts as Executive Director of True Community and growing his two businesses. Additionally, he plans to pursue a master’s in public health.

About This Article

Danielle Heiert
Danielle Heiert
Editorial Intern, NKU Magazine
Published May 2021
Photography by Scott Beseler

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