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University of Pikeville commencements set for May 18

May 07, 2013 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
The University of Pikeville will honor the academic achievements of 163 students in the College of Arts and Sciences and 76 new physicians in the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) on Saturday, May 18. The College of Arts and Sciences will mark a significant milestone in the university’s history, as the first graduates of the MBA program will receive their degrees.

The medical school commencement ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center in Pikeville. The commencement for the College of Arts and Sciences will be held at 2 p.m., also at the Expo Center. Three distinguished individuals will be recognized for their significant contributions in science and industry, health care and public service. On Thursday, May 16, graduates of the Elizabeth Akers Elliott Nursing Program will be honored during a pinning ceremony at 7 p.m. in Booth Auditorium. A commissioning ceremony for students in the university’s Army ROTC program will be held Friday, May 17, at 6 p.m. in Booth Auditorium.

Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine Commencement
Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., MBA, the 18th Surgeon General of the United States, will be the keynote speaker for the KYCOM commencement. As “America’s Doctor,” she provides the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and the health of the nation.

Dr. Benjamin also oversees the operational command of 6,500 uniformed public health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote and protect the health of the American people. From her early days as the founder of a rural health clinic in Alabama – which she kept in operation despite damage and destruction inflicted by hurricanes Georges (1998) and Katrina (2005) and a devastating fire (2006) – to her leadership role in the worldwide advancement of preventive health care, she has forged a career that has been recognized by a broad spectrum of organizations and publications.

Dr. Benjamin has a B.S. in chemistry from Xavier University, New Orleans, an M.D. degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an MBA from Tulane University. She attended Morehouse School of Medicine and completed her family medicine residency in Macon, Ga. Dr. Benjamin is the recipient of 18 honorary degrees.

A former associate dean for Rural Health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile, Dr. Benjamin also served as past chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. In 1995, she was the first physician under age 40 and the first African-American woman to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees. She served as president of the American Medical Association Education and Research Foundation and chair of the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. In 2002, she became the first African-American female president of a state medical society in the United States when she assumed leadership of the Medical Association State of Alabama.

Dr. Benjamin will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Science degree during the KYCOM commencement ceremony.

College of Arts and Sciences Commencement
Dr. T. Pearse Lyons will deliver the commencement address for the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Lyons is the founder and president of Alltech, a top 10 animal health company that employs more than 3,000 people and conducts business in 128 countries throughout the world. Founded in 1980 with $10,000 capital, the company has grown to annual sales in excess of $750 million.

Recognized as an innovative industry leader, Dr. Lyons’ scientific expertise, combined with an acute business sense, helped revolutionize the animal feed industry through the introduction of natural ingredients to feed. Through the ACE principle, Alltech continues to ensure that its work has a positive impact on the Animal, the Consumer and the Environment. Now, as the company enters its fourth decade of business, its solid base will enable it to extend products, core values and nutritional solutions to an ever-expanding market. At the same time, its commitment to the primacy of science remains steadfast.

Dr. Lyons holds several natural science degrees. He received his bachelor’s degree from University College Dublin, Ireland, and obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Birmingham, England. He later worked as a biochemist for Irish Distillers before founding Alltech in 1980. Since then, he has authored more than 20 books and numerous research papers in scientific journals. Dr. Lyons was acknowledged as leading one of the top 100 fastest-growing high-tech companies by World Trade Magazine and was named one of the top 15 Irish-American life scientists of the year by Biolink USA-Ireland. He has been recognized for his contribution to science and industry and has been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Plymouth, England; Heriot-Watt University, Scotland; University of Kentucky, Centre College, and Eastern Kentucky University. University College Dublin awarded Lyons an honorary doctorate on the occasion of its 150th anniversary. In 2012, he was named Business Person of the Year by Business and Finance, was honored as one of Irish America’s Business 100 and received the prestigious Ireland-U.S. Council Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Dr. Lyons has spearheaded Alltech’s commitment to international equestrian sport, beginning with the Alltech® FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2010 in Lexington, Ky., which was attended by more than half a million spectators from all 50 U.S. states and 63 countries and joined by another 500 million television viewers.

During the commencement ceremony, Dr. Lyons will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree. Deirdre Lyons, co-founder of Alltech and director of corporate image and design, will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Deirdre Lyons is as instrumental to the company’s success as the science of the products that the company produces. Together, with her husband, they authored an American dream story centered in Nicholasville, Ky.

Deirdre Lyons has achieved national and international accolades on behalf of Kentucky through her work on the historic 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™; various art initiatives, including the annual Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition and Celebration of Song; humanitarian endeavors as far away as Haiti and as close as local primary schools’ laboratories; and numerous leadership boards, including the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation and the Kentucky Equine Humane Center.

The community is cordially invited to the nursing pinning and ROTC commissioning ceremonies and the University of Pikeville commencements. For more information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at (606) 218-5270 or visit

Dr. T. Pearse and Deirdre Lyons Dr. Regina M. Benjamin
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