2014 Class

Carol Hogsed Baker

Carol Hogsed Baker spent nearly 40 years teaching and mentoring future educators at the University of Pikeville. In the classroom, Baker led by example. 

Baker taught eight years in the public school system before spending an impressive 38 years as a professor at UPIKE, including developing a major in learning and behavior disorders. She also served as associate academic dean and education division chair, a teacher certification officer and a Kentucky Teacher Internship Program (KTIP) teacher educator.

Her list of accomplishments and contributions in education is extensive. During Baker’s teaching career she served as a teacher evaluator in the pilot Career Ladder Project and KTIP, participated in Goals 2000 Program, a collaboration between Pike County Schools and UPIKE, and served on the committee that developed Kentucky’s New Teacher Standards.

Baker’s previous honors include the William Wade/Helen Walker Award for Teaching Excellence, Pike County Special Olympics Award, KEA-SP Golden Apple Award and was named a Kentucky Colonel.

Baker received her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Morehead State University and her Rank I in special education from the University of Kentucky.

She is a member of the Jamestown United Methodist Church where she serves as a Sunday school teacher, an Eastern Star at Wheelwright Lodge and has helped with fundraising activities for various organizations.

Following retirement, she and her husband Fred moved to Jamestown, Ky. She has two children, Dawn Rita Allen and Donald Lee Tackett, and two stepchildren, Sarah Baker and Mary L. Baker.


Leslie Combs

State Representative Leslie Combs was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 2006. She currently chairs that chamber’s Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation, which oversees the state’s multi-billion dollar highway plan. Prior to that, Combs was chair of the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee, which covers two industries critical to her home region of Eastern Kentucky.

An advocate for education, Combs introduced and championed the KC4$ scholarship initiative which provides scholarships to juniors and seniors from coal-producing counties attending a four-year college or university. The scholarship helps to equalize the tuition for students attending private colleges or universities, making the cost comparable to that of a state institution. A longtime supporter of UPIKE, Combs is an advocate in the legislature on behalf of the university and for educational opportunities in the region.

A model for Kentucky’s citizen-legislator, Rep. Combs has risen quickly to become a highly-respected member of the General Assembly. She is a member of several committees, including  Appropriations and Revenue, which writes the state’s two-year budget; Education; State Government; Transportation; and Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Safety. In addition, she is a member of the General Assembly’s Program Review and Investigations Committee, which takes an in-depth look at various issues each year affecting state government. 

    Rep. Combs serves on two of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ committees: Budgets & Revenue and Natural Resources & Infrastructure. She also has championed greater use of Kentucky’s coal while sponsoring a constitutional amendment strengthening hunting and fishing rights. She currently is the state’s leading advocate for public-private partnerships, a growing trend nationally that makes it easier for governments to partner with businesses to carry out projects and services for the public. Rep. Combs spent 23 years serving as treasurer and vice president for administrative operations at the University of Pikeville, then Pikeville College.

    In her civic duties, she spent six years as director of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and twice served as president of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce. Other organizations on which she has served include the Appalachian Regional Hospital Board; Kentucky State Lawyers Auxiliary; two site-based decision-making councils within the Pikeville Independent School System; the Rotary Club of Pike County; the Pike County Industrial Development Economic Authority Board; the Kentucky Council on Agriculture; and the Pike County Democratic Woman’s Club.

     Rep. Combs graduated with a degree in accounting from Transylvania University. She and her husband Donald Combs have two children, Elizabeth and Don III. 


Dr. Susan Elaine Compton 

Dr. Susan Elaine Compton made an exemplary contribution to public education in the Russell Independent Schools, Woodford County Schools and the Floyd County School System. 

Compton began her career as a music instructor at Eastern Kentucky University and continued teaching in the classroom and leading music programs in several schools before becoming an administrator. She served as an elementary school principal and took on roles including SBDM coordinator, district facilitator of effective schools, director of federal programs, director of instruction and assistant superintendent of curriculum and instructor. She became superintendent of Russell Independent Schools in 2005 and currently serves as superintendent of schools at the Atlantic Highlands School District in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. While at Russell, her district was chosen as one of the top three in Kentucky as a district of distinction.

She has helped many students obtain full academic scholarships to colleges and universities across the nation. She served 34 years in Kentucky and opened many doors of opportunities for students and staff.

Her extensive list of accomplishments include being named the Superintendent of the Year in 2013 by the Kentucky Educational Development Corporation, Kentucky Music Educators Administrator of the Year, Academic Association Hall of Fame and Kentucky finalist for Superintendent of the Year. Compton also received the state senate award for academic excellence and was selected to the professional programs, instructional rounds, by the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Compton received her bachelor’s degree in music education from Pikeville College, a master’s in music education from Eastern Kentucky University, Rank I from Morehead State University and a doctorate of education from the University of Kentucky.

She has one son, Dr. Justin Newsome, who is a medical resident in radiology at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, NJ.


Dr. William C. Condit 

Presbyterian ministers Dr. William C. Condit and Dr. James P. Hendrick believed in the power of education and helped found the Pikeville Collegiate Institute in 1889.

In 1880, Condit was sent by the Ebenezer Presbytery up the Big Sandy Valley to prospect for Presbyterianism. He rode through the valleys and hills on a horse borrowed from a stranger. Hendrick was making a similar journey for the Presbytery, looking for a site to build a church in the Eastern Kentucky mountains.

Although the men did not at first travel together, they both returned to Ashland, Ky., convinced of the need for education in the mountains.  Condit made his report to the Presbytery, “recommending that we attempt to establish schools and churches together in the mountain communities, going back to the old Presbyterian plan of combining church and school.”

Dr. James P. Hendrick

“I see a vision ahead,” Hendrick reported to the Presbytery. “My vision is that we establish a school for the mountain boys and girls who have been deprived of an education because of lack of schools and isolation in the mountain strongholds.”

In 1887, the Ebenzer Presbytery sent a committee to the region to look for a place to locate a school. The committee visited many towns along the Big Sandy River and ultimately chose Pikeville, a thriving village of about 300 inhabitants and the county seat of the largest county in the region. 

On Nov. 1, 1888, the Presbytery purchased three acres of land at the southern end of Pikeville. The lot sloped down to the river, and faced a roadway lined with trees. The trees, an old orchard beside the property, and a hedge of Osage oranges provided refreshing shade. In 1888, not buildings stood nearby.

Condit probably looked long at those three acres. In his heart he surely envisioned a building that would someday help educate hundreds of mountain youth and instill within them lasting principles of Christianity.  

 We’ve continued their mission by becoming one of the best private universities in Appalachia. Our graduates, more than 14,000 strong, are leaders in business, education, law, nursing and many other fields, including medicine.

*Information compiled from “Pikeville College Look to the Hills, 1889-1989” by Alice Kinder.


Jackson O. Hall

Jackson O. Hall brought the highest level of integrity to all tasks, including his time spent as president of then Pikeville College. During his tenure as president from 1975-1985, he focused on academic excellence, expanding the number of academic disciplines and establishing the Appalachian Graduate Consortium, which offered graduate-level courses on campus. Recruiting more students to campus required more resources in the way of scholarships and grants, including federal grants to provide special services for students who needed additional academic support systems.

From the beginning of his presidency, Hall focused on improving the financial stability of the institution and moved quickly to raise the college endowment and meet other monetary needs with extensive fund raising. The flood of 1977 resulted in one of Hall’s greatest fund raising efforts to replace the gymnasium and the new faculty housing on lower campus that had been completed before the flood. 

Hall’s education includes a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s and doctoral degrees from Cornell University. Before coming to Pikeville College, Hall served as executive assistant to the president at Cornell University. 

When Hall graduated from Dartmouth in 1953 he received the Dartmouth Cup for being chosen as the senior athlete who on and off the field reflected the greatest credit to the college which demonstrates the integrity he brought to every task in life.

The University of Pikeville presented Hall with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters  degree for his dedication and service to the institution. The honor was presented during the Opening Convocation ceremony as the university celebrated its 125th anniversary.

Hall and his wife of 57 years, Kathleen, have three children, Alison Bennett Hall Mauze, Megan Kathleen Hall, and the late Jackson O. Hall II. They have eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


Bill G. McCloud

Bill G. McCloud was fortunate enough to turn his passion for music and teaching into a lifelong career. He taught in the public schools of Alabama and Kentucky. He served as a music supervisor in Birmingham, Ala., as a bandsman and organist while he was in the U.S. military, as a high school band director in Jenkins, Ky., and as a director of music at Pike County elementary and high school.

McCloud started teaching at the college level in 1959, with tenures at Pikeville College, Morehead State University and the University of Kentucky.

He retired in 2001 as professor emeritus from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. Upon retirement, his colleagues and professional peers from across the nation honored him as the “Quintessential Music Educator” for more than 45 years of teaching in public schools and universities as a band director, music supervisor and music education professor. 

A lifelong learner, McCloud graduated with numerous undergraduate degrees in music education, psychology and early childhood education from Marshall University, University of Kentucky, Morehead State University and Florida State University. McCloud served in a variety of leadership positions in local, state and national professional organizations, as well as serving as the dean of the College of Music at Appalachian State University.

He was also a program author for the textbook series “The Music Connection” from Silver Burdett Ginn Publishing Company. One of his joys was hosting the Silver Burdett & Ginn Summer Workshop in Boone, N.C., each year for music teachers.

Whether teaching, leading or writing, McCloud sought to inspire excellence at all levels of music education. He was the recipient of many awards, honors and recognition throughout the years, including being named a Kentucky Colonel for his efforts in promoting quality music education. He was also instrumental in the “Music in Our Schools” celebration each year in Kentucky.

Beyond his passion for teaching and music, he enjoyed traveling, gardening and spending time with his family.


T.W. Oliver

T.W. Oliver’s commitment to education changed Eastern Kentucky. A native of Sturgis, Ky., Tybee William (T.W.) Oliver earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Chicago and his certificate of superintendency at Columbia University. After a varied career as a teacher, superintendent and an education professor at Morehead State Teacher’s College, Oliver came to Pikeville in 1922 as director of summer school programs for the Kentucky Department of Education. In 1923 he was hired as the superintendent of the Pikeville and Pike County School, the only public high school in the county.

Oliver recruited highly qualified teachers and added to a curriculum which was already rigorous and challenging. In addition to his professional duties, he was active in community organizations. Oliver was elected by his peers to serve as president of the Eastern Kentucky Educational Association from 1938-1939.

During his 26-year tenure at Pikeville Independent Schools, Oliver oversaw the completion of five buildings. He died on August 12, 1949, during the construction of a 3,000-seat gymnasium.

He was mourned by the citizens of Pikeville and Pike County and eulogized by newspapers and educational journals. Perhaps the 1950 yearbook, The Panther, bestowed the most fitting epitaph: “T.W. Oliver, 1881-1949, ‘For him no task was too great, no child too small.’”

Through the years, many fine educators have continued to follow Oliver’s example. His spirit still inspires and drives us toward excellence.


Paul R. Setser

As the longest serving principal of Johnson Central High School, in Paintsville, Ky., Paul R. Setser contributed greatly to his students’ educational achievements. His compassion and support of disadvantaged children, high standards of behavior and demand for excellence in all school-related activities created a lasting impression among students, staff and parents.

Setser’s two rules, be the best student and the best person you can be, were focused on instilling pride in the students, their families and the school.

His 37 years of service in education began at Oil Springs High School where he was a teacher and coach. He also served as principal at Porter Elementary School before spending 17 years as principal of Johnson Central High School. Following his time at JCHS, he served as director of buildings, grounds and federal program for the Johnson County Board of Education.

In November 2013, Setser was honored for his dedication when the newly renovated Johnson Central gymnasium was renamed the Paul R. Setser Eagle Fieldhouse.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Pikeville College and his master’s degree and Rank I from Morehead State University.

A standout in basketball and baseball, Setser was among the first group inducted into the University of Pikeville’s Athletics Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Johnson Central High School Hall of Fame and a Kentucky Colonel.

Setser is a member of Tom’s Creek Freewill Baptist Church in Nippa, Ky., where he serves with the Master’s Men ministry. He and his wife, Patricia, have two daughters, Paula Setser Kissick and Sheri Setser-Legg, and two granddaughters, Zoe and Addie Legg.


Kathy Spears

Kathy Spears’ heart is the classroom and with her students. Although she retired from the Pike County School System at the end of the 2013-2014 school year she did not stay away for long. Spears returned to the classroom as an adjunct professor at UPIKE and teaches dual credit English courses to the students of East Ridge High School.

Spears started her career at Millard High School where she taught language arts and math and served as drama coach. She remained there for 15 years before the school consolidated with Feds Creek and Elkhorn City high schools to form East Ridge High School. At East Ridge she taught English and served as a leader providing in-services on reading strategies and Lexiles, was department chairperson and was a member of the leadership team.

Spears received her bachelor’s degree in education and English from Pikeville College before pursuing her master’s degree and Rank I from Morehead State University. 

Her work in the classroom has been previously recognized as she is the recipient of the Rediford Damron Award in Teaching Excellence for secondary education (1987), Walmart Teacher of the Year (2006), and received the University of Kentucky Teacher Who Made a Difference award (2009).

She served as drama coach for 12 years at Millard and East Ridge High School, was a presenter at Kentucky Teaching and Learning Conference (2006), served on the committee to establish cut score for On Demand Writing and continued her education with the Morehead State Writing Project (1996).

She is a member of Mayflower Unity Baptist Church, the Pike County Educators Association and the National Teachers Association.

Spears and her husband Gary are the parents to Krista Bell and the late Gary Brian Spears. They have three grandchildren, Jordyn, Alexis and Anthony Garin Bell. Krista and Jordyn join Spears as alumnae of UPIKE and Alexis is currently a student at her grandmother’s alma mater. The Spears family has established the Gary B. Spears Memorial Endowed Scholarship, presented annually to an East Ridge High School student.


Roger Wagner

Roger Wagner is a 43-year veteran educator of the Pike County School System. Shortly after earning his bachelor’s degree in secondary math education from Pikeville College in 1970, he began teaching at Johns Creek High School. While teaching he furthered his education by earning his master’s degree and several educational administrative certifications from Morehead State University. In 1982 he accepted the assistant principal’s position at Johns Creek High School and served in that role for 11 years before assuming the role of principal where he led the school for 13 years before its consolidation with Pike County Central High School. His unprecedented accomplishments as a principal set him in an esteemed position to pursue the role of superintendent of Pike County Schools in 2006. 

Wagner has dedicated his life’s work to improving the lives of children. He believes that teaching and learning are the cornerstones of the school system, with the major emphasis being the success stories of students. He has received multiple professional honors and recognitions through his career, including Principal Advisory Council Member to the Kentucky Commissioner of Education. During his tenure as school administrator, Johns Creek School excelled academically as never before, even receiving awards form the Prichard Committee, the Governor of Kentucky, PRIDE and the Partnership for Kentucky School Reform.

With great leadership and integrity, Wagner served Pike County Schools until he chose to retire in 2013. Wagner was married to the late Connie Keene of Pikeville. Together they have two daughters, Rachel (Todd) Kennedy of Pikeville and Katherine (Matt) Thomas of Frankfort. He is the grandfather to Jackson Kennedy and Henry Thomas.

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