PIKEVILLE, Ky. – When the Pikeville Collegiate Institute established a training school for teachers in 1901, the institution’s founders had no way of knowing the fruit of their labor. Since that time, hundreds of Pikeville College graduates have become teachers, including more than 200 in the past 10 years.
The college has established a Distinguished Educators Hall of Fame to honor those whose contributions to education and to learning have inspired generations of students. Twenty recipients, some of whom will be awarded posthumously, have been selected for this year’s inaugural class and will be recognized during an induction ceremony on Oct. 7. A special plaque will be displayed on campus, serving as both a legacy and an inspiration to those who aspire to teach.
The induction ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. in Booth Auditorium, Record Memorial Building, level five. A reception will follow and the community is cordially invited.
The legacy class includes Chester Bailey, Georgia Muncy Bailey, Kaye Baird, Glenn Brown, Jean Coleman, Alcie Combs, Alma Culton, Rediford Damron, James T. Dotson Sr., Lois Esham, Dixie Gibson, Doug Hinkle, Judith Walters Hinkle, Quentin R. Howard, William McKinley Justice, Alice J. Kinder, Billie Jean Osborne, John Waddell, Betty Weddle and Ruth Wheeler.
“We are proud to acknowledge these individuals, whose passion for learning and scholarship has been tremendous,” said President Paul Patton. “Educators are engaged in one of the most noble and important endeavors of mankind, transferring the accumulated knowledge of the ages to a new generation, and adding to that body of knowledge through research and the pursuit of truth.”
Chester Bailey served as principal of Pikeville Elementary School for 25 years. Most mornings, he could be seen in front of the school welcoming students as they arrived, a personal touch that endeared him to many. An alumnus of Pikeville College, Bailey received numerous awards for his dedication as an educator.
Renowned storyteller Georgia Muncy Bailey loved being a teacher. She could always be counted on to share a tall tale, delighting students young and old. One of 15 children, she was enthusiastic about learning and practiced her teaching skills on her siblings. Bailey was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma and a recipient of Pikeville College’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
From the traditional classroom to her Sunday school class, Kaye Baird embodies the spirit of teacher and servant leader. A member of the Union College Hall of Fame for Educators, she is active in several community organizations, including Girl Scouts, the Presbyterian Homes and Services of Kentucky and the Christian Appalachian Project. She previously served on the Pikeville Independent Board of Education and the Kentucky State Board of Education.
When former students talk about Glenn Brown they do so with a smile. A professor in the biology department at Pikeville College for 34 years, Brown left a lasting impression in the classroom, receiving numerous awards for teaching excellence, including Outstanding Educator of America. “He was a favorite professor, an inspiration to aspiring young teachers and seasoned professors, and a role model for all,” said President Emeritus Hal Smith.
Pikeville College alumna Jean Coleman has devoted much of her life to learning, both as an elementary teacher and an advocate for higher education. The Jean Coleman Endowed Professorship in Education was established at Pikeville College in 2001 to honor her commitment to the profession and recognize teaching excellence.
A leader in education for many years, Alcie Combs served at both the local and state level, including on the Pikeville Independent Board of Education and the Kentucky State Board of Education. In 2000, she received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Pikeville College for her special efforts to provide quality educational opportunities for all people and for her commitment and leadership in the church, community and region.
One of the best-remembered teachers by former students, Dr. Alma Culton touched a tremendous number of lives in her 34-year career. A well-known and respected professor of religion, she loved Pikeville College and dedicated her life to students.
Veteran educator Rediford Damron served the college in many capacities over the years, including as academic dean, vice president and acting president. He also taught in seven different fields and directed the teacher training school. A sailor in the Navy during World War II, Damron was instrumental in helping veterans returning from the war adjust to college.
James T. Dotson Sr. has devoted much of his life to educating the youth of Pike County, a career that began in 1940. He spent more than four decades in the classroom, as an elementary and high school principal and supervisor of instruction before becoming superintendent of Pike County Schools. A graduate of Pikeville College, Dotson is a World War II veteran and a recipient of the Purple Heart.
In addition to being an outstanding professor, Lois Esham served as the chairperson for the division of science and mathematics and as an associate dean at Pikeville College. She is a three-time recipient of the college’s William Wade and Helen Record Walker Teaching Excellence Award.
A longtime teacher at Johns Creek School, Dixie Howard Gibson was known throughout the state for excellence in the classroom. An alumna of the college, her teaching methods sparked the interest of The University of Kentucky, prompting them to send education students and student teachers to observe Gibson in class.
A graduate of Pikeville Junior College, Doug Hinkle served in many roles within the
Pikeville Independent School System, including as teacher, principal, director of pupil personnel and as a member and chairman of the board. A former trustee of Pikeville College, Hinkle and his wife, Judith, are active members of the Pikeville College Alumni Association Board of Directors. A leader in the insurance industry, Hinkle has been recognized for his contributions in his church and the community.
A graduate of Pikeville College Training School, Pikeville College Academy and Pikeville College, Judith Walters Hinkle is a true PC alumna. Her ties to the college date back to its beginnings with her grandmother, Elizabeth Syck Walters, who was in the first graduating class in 1894. Hinkle taught in the Pikeville Independent School System for 27 years. Her father, Walter P. Walters, believed in the mission of the college and thought Eastern Kentucky was a better place because of it.
A retired teacher and administrator, Quentin R. Howard authored two books and served as editor of the literary journal, “Wind.” A graduate of Pikeville Junior College, he also earned a degree from Morehead State University.
William McKinley Justice was a retired educator and well known regional poet. Justice taught in the Pike County School System for 40 years. His connection with Pikeville College began when he was young after a chance meeting with then President Dr. James F. Record. McKinley traveled the country for many years, speaking and fundraising on behalf of the institution.
An alumna of Pikeville College, Alice Justice Kinder was a devoted wife and mother, faithful friend, beloved author and poet. Kinder published 12 books and over 1,000 stories and poems on mountain culture and Christian love and faith, including “Pikeville College Looks to the Hills 1889-1989.”
Founder of the Mountain Arts Center, Billie Jean Osborne is a woman of great determination. She taught music and directed award-winning bands for 30 years in Floyd County. Osborne has been honored for her efforts to enrich the lives of others through music, including being named an Outstanding Alumna by Pikeville College and a distinguished alumna at Eastern Kentucky University.
John Waddell may be best known as a former superintendent of the Pikeville Independent School System, an office he held for 23 years. He was also a longtime member of the Pikeville College family, serving as an instructor of education and psychology, as registrar, academic dean and provost. A distinguished alumnus, Waddell was honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Pikeville College for his contributions in education.
Betty Hatcher Weddle taught in the Pikeville Independent School System. Generous in both spirit and in deeds, she has been involved in numerous community and church organizations, including Judi’s Place for Kids and Buckhorn Children and Family Services. A graduate of the Pikeville College Academy, Pikeville Junior College and the undergraduate college, she has been a devoted supporter and member of the campus family for many years.
Like Weddle, Ruth Repass Wheeler’s Pikeville College roots run deep. A retired teacher and coach, she graduated from the Pikeville College Academy and Pikeville Junior College. Her parents also attended Pikeville College.