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UPIKE inaugurates 21st president

October 21, 2016 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can … forever, as long as you can,” wrote Theologian John Wesley. The quiet truth in Wesley’s words may be symbolic of the journey that led Burton J. Webb, Ph.D., to serve as the 21st president of the University of Pikeville.

On Oct. 14, the campus and community gathered forWebb’s formal installation. The ceremony was held in conjunction with Homecoming, a weeklong celebration themed “One UPIKE Family … Striving to Serve.”

The child of teachers, Webb knew from an early age that education would play a significant role in his life. Along with his wife, First Lady Kay Webb, Ph.D., the couple has taught and mentored hundreds of students throughout their careers in higher education.

President Webb invested his life in teaching both undergraduate students at Indiana Wesleyan University and medical students at IU. In 2010, Webb accepted the position of vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho. He began serving as the University of Pikeville’s president in 2016.

During his installation ceremony, Webb’s compelling narrative focused on the university’s 127-year mission, the future and the touchstones of student success that will be strengthened through service and shared purpose.

“The first steps, in my view, are internal,” he said. “We must build unified faculty and staff structures that will help to create meaningful and significant improvements in the ways we interact, teach, promote and grow.” Webb also proposed an undergraduate curriculum flexible enough to be responsive and integrated across all disciplines in the liberal arts.

“Over the past 10 years we have invested heavily in our Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine and our Kentucky College of Optometry. This was the right thing to do and will help the university weather many of the storms to come,” said Webb. “Now, it is time to invest in the colleges that have traditionally served primarily undergraduate students. Arts and sciences, business, education and nursing all need investments of both time and treasure.”

Traditional greetings to the president were shared on behalf of the university’s trustees, the community of faith, City of Pikeville, students, faculty and staff. In her Prayer of Dedication, Josephine Owoeye, O.D., clinical assistant professor at the Kentucky College of Optometry, offered the following petition: “We pray that You fill President Webb with your wisdom, grace and compassion. Let him continue to lead with integrity, excellence, passion and understanding.”

Burton J. Webb was installed as the University of Pikeville’s 21st president during a formal ceremony on Oct. 14. Several hundred from campus and community, along with alumni and friends attended the celebration themed “One UPIKE Family … Striving to Serve.”

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