May 11, 2011 4:00 PM
Pikeville College will honor the academic achievements of 160 undergraduate degree candidates and 65 new physicians from the Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine (PCSOM) on Saturday, May 21. The medical school commencement begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center in Pikeville. The undergraduate commencement will be held at 2 p.m., also at the Expo Center. Four distinguished individuals will be recognized for their significant contributions in education, medicine and public service. On Thursday, May 19, graduating students in the college’s Elizabeth Akers Elliott Nursing Program will be honored during a pinning ceremony at 7 p.m. in Booth Auditorium.
Pikeville College Undergraduate Commencement
Retired U.S. Senator Wendell H. Ford will deliver the undergraduate commencement address and also receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from the college.
Ford spent more than a quarter of a century in public service before retiring from the United States Senate in 1999. He was elected to that office in 1974 and made history by becoming the state’s longest serving U.S. Senator. Before his retirement, he was the Democratic whip for nearly a decade.
Ford began his political career as a Kentucky State Senator in 1965 and was elected lieutenant governor in 1967. Four years later, he became Kentucky’s 49th governor. As a senator, Ford was known for his support of Kentucky farmers and the agricultural industry.
A national leader on energy, aviation and federal election reform, Ford’s contributions in the Senate helped shape major legislation in these areas, including the National Voter Registration Act, The Family and Medical Leave Act and a number of national energy and aviation bills.
Pikeville College will also be presenting an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Wallace Campbell.
A lifelong educator, Campbell served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of Pikeville College from 1998 to 2009. During his tenure, the college graduated more than 2,000 undergraduates, including 250 nurses and more than 200 teachers, most of whom are serving in this region. Campbell was recently named dean emeritus at Pikeville College for his distinguished service.
In 2006, he received the Council of Independent College’s (CIC) Chief Academic Officers Award, an honor conferred by the chief academic officers of CIC’s 570 member colleges and universities. A distinguishing feature of his career has been service to Appalachian College Association institutions and students throughout the Appalachian region.
Campbell lives in Berea with his wife, Jane, a retired teacher and district administrator. They have one son, Brian, a public school teacher.
Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine
The commencement address for the Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine will be delivered by Karen J. Nichols, D.O., president of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Nichols will receive an honorary Doctor of Osteopathic Education degree during the ceremony.
The AOA installed Nichols, an AOA board-certified internal medicine physician, as its 114th president as well as its first female president.
A resident of Oak Brook, Ill., Nichols began her career as a medical technologist at Phoenix General Hospital. After serving as chief technologist and president of the Arizona Medical Technology Society, she sought her next career challenge by beginning medical school at age 28. Nichols earned her osteopathic medical degree at what is now the Kansas City (Mo.) University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Nichols served as chief of staff at Mesa General Hospital in Arizona. During her tenure, she established end-of-life care guidelines after an elderly patient requested his physician turn off the ventilator keeping him alive. After 17 years of treating patients, Nichols became dean of the Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (MWU/CCOM) in Downers Grove, Ill.
A member of the AOA since 1981 and a member of the AOA Board of Trustees since 1999, she is also a former chair of the AOA Department of Government Affairs and the AOA Council on Palliative Care Issues.
Aside from her AOA responsibilities, Nichols has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Institute for National Health Policy Review; as president of the American College of Osteopathic Internists (ACOI); president of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association (AOMA); and as a member of the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society (IOMS).
As dean and as AOA president, Nichols encourages students to take an active role in their new profession.
“I tell my students what my grandfather told me: ‘You can make a difference,’” Nichols said. “Osteopathic medicine is a growing profession where students and D.O.s can have an impact.”
The college will also be presenting an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Benny Ray Bailey.
Bailey, a Pikeville College alumnus, has always had a special place in his heart for the people of Eastern Kentucky. As a teacher, administrator and former Kentucky state senator, education and health care have been central to his efforts to advance quality of life issues in the Commonwealth.
The executive director of East Kentucky Health Services Center Inc., Bailey, of Hindman, Ky., was managing partner of Southern Medical Partners, LLC for more than a decade and served in the Kentucky State Senate from 1980 to 2000.
As a senator, Bailey wrote and sponsored the Osteopathic Scholarship Bill, a law that allows students from Kentucky to attend PCSOM without the burden of additional debt. The bill passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate without a dissenting vote. It was signed into law by then Gov. Paul E. Patton, who now serves as president of Pikeville College.
The osteopathic scholarship law received special accolades from the AOA and the other osteopathic medical schools across the country. Available to all Kentucky residents, the scholarship equalizes tuition between PCSOM and state medical schools. Bailey’s leadership, and the Kentucky General Assembly’s commitment to education, continues to provide opportunities for many PCSOM students and has become a great asset in encouraging physicians to practice in the state.
The community is cordially invited to the nursing pinning ceremony and the commencements for Pikeville College and the School of Osteopathic Medicine. For more information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at (606) 218-5270.