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New era dawns for University of Pikeville

July 01, 2011 12:00 AM
With a bold leap of faith, the small college on the hill ushered in a new era on July 1.

“Today, Pikeville College becomes the University of Pikeville,” said President Paul E. Patton during a celebration with students, faculty, alumni and friends. “We are the leading university in Central Appalachia. We will be even more so in the future.”

Recalling the school’s progression from the Academy to the Pikeville Junior College and a four-year college, Patton described the move as a natural evolution of what the institution has meant to the community.

“This is more than a name change,” said Patton. “Because of the work of the Long Range Planning Committee, we have a road map to provide for the next 10 years and on into the future.”

The University recently announced plans to create a Master of Business Administration, as well as an RN-BSN program in nursing. Patton said the University must provide a high quality education that will allow “our best and brightest” to stay and grow the economy here.

“It is our responsibility to determine the needs of the region and provide for that need, just as we’ve done for the past 122 years,” said Patton. “Our economy and our society is much more sophisticated and we need a level of education beyond the bachelor’s degree program. We demonstrated that with the establishment of a medical school 15 years ago – a resounding success – that will be the example we will use.”

As part of the plan for growth, Patton, on behalf of the board of trustees, announced that the University of Pikeville would be reorganized into two schools – the College of Arts and Sciences and the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“We are excited to be part of the bright future of the University of Pikeville,” said Boyd R. Buser, D.O., dean of the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine and vice president of Health Affairs at the University of Pikeville. “The University’s vision includes the development of additional programs in the health professions, which will be an area of ongoing need in our region.”

With construction progressing on the “Coal Building,” the medical school’s new home, Buser said the facility will allow for a significant increase in the number of osteopathic physicians who will practice primary care in a region of great need.

“Our new name reflects the expanded outreach of our mission and the areas we serve, and will enhance our ability to continue to keep the promise we made when our school was founded,” Buser said.

The University of Pikeville’s College of Arts and Sciences will be an “umbrella organization that will house our vibrant and forward-looking undergraduate program, our growing programs in the graduate fields, as well as what we are hoping will become a future of continuing education, providing opportunities beyond degree programs,” said Thomas Hess, Ph.D., dean and vice president of Academic Affairs. “The College of Arts and Sciences is very appropriate. It reminds us of the fundamental foundation of what will be a UPIKE education, that will be the liberal arts.”

A capstone of the celebration included a dedication by the University of Pikeville’s Alumni Association. An arch bearing the name Pikeville College has been a fixture on the campus’ historic 99 steps for decades. The landmark now has a place of honor in the Allara Courtyard.

“On behalf of the Alumni Association, I offer our support and loyalty to this University and to its leadership. President Patton’s visionary leadership and the dedicated work he performs has propelled this institution to new heights and to a new beginning,” said Howard Roberts, Alumni Association board member and chair of the University’s Division of Business and Economics.

“An arch serves as a gateway and it offers an opportunity to enter a new place which provides an initiation to a new experience. Throughout the years, many students, faculty, staff and supportive individuals who believed in the mission of this institution walked under that arch to trek to the campus and the opportunities offered here to embark on a new experience,” said Roberts. “This institution has transformed lives for 122 years and it will continue to transform lives and to reshape this community. On behalf of the University of Pikeville Alumni Association, we dedicate this arch today as a symbol of our history. With its new location, higher than before, it represents the higher levels of achievement this University will achieve.”

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