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University of Pikeville honors Class of 2017

May 20, 2017 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
The University of Pikeville honored the academic achievements of 262 graduates at the associate, baccalaureate and master’s degree levels and 120 Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree recipients from the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) during commencement exercises on May 20.

Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine 
David O. Barbe, M.D., MHA, president-elect of the American Medical Association, delivered KYCOM’s keynote address and was presented with an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

“As physicians, you will be leaders,” said Barbe in his message to graduates. “You don’t have to be brilliant or commanding or powerful; this takes only your willingness and commitment to be a positive influence in every situation.”

College of Arts and Sciences, Coleman College of Business, Elliott School of Nursing and Patton College of Education
Delivering a heartwarming rendition of the alma mater, “The Orange and Black,” the voices of the university’s concert choir heralded the end of a successful journey and a new beginning for graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences, Coleman College of Business, Elliott School of Nursing and Patton College of Education.

Valedictorians for the Class of 2017 were Whitney Morgan Back of Vicco, JoBeth Danielle Bingham of Barbourville, Haley Makae Damron of Pikeville, Valerie Shaelyn Eversole of Hazard, Molly Marie Frank of Greensburg, and Austin Tyler Thacker of Shelbiana. Karlee Denise Evans of Akron, Ohio, and Hannah Noel Thacker of Pikeville earned the distinction of class salutatorian.

During the ceremony University of Pikeville President, Burton J. Webb, Ph.D., reflected on the importance of service. “You are now at the beginning of your life of work and service to mankind,” said Webb. “It’s my hope for you, that you will have the opportunity to experience that joy which comes from making someone else’s life better.”

Webb awarded Chancellor Paul E. Patton the Presidential Medallion for his significant contributions to higher education. As the 59th governor of Kentucky, Patton reformed the commonwealth’s higher education system.

“I think it’s fair to say that no other person in the history of this region has had a more lasting and positive impact on the history of education than our own chancellor, Governor Paul Patton,” said Webb.

Also honored were Eric Primm, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology, and Deborah Atkinson, M.A., assistant professor of education, who were first- and second-place recipients respectively of the William Wade and Helen Record Walker Teaching Excellence Award.

Commencement keynote speaker Irene Trowell-Harris, RN, Ed.D., received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Trowell-Harris was the first female nurse to command a medical clinic and the first African-American female to be promoted to general officer in the history of the National Guard. She encouraged graduates to “Remember your future is a bright light ahead of you. Walk toward that light and enjoy your journey.”

Commencement week activities for the College of Arts and Sciences also included the pinning ceremony for eight new professional social workers. The Elliott School of Nursing honored 25 new nurses during traditional pinning ceremony.

Click HERE to view the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine Commencement ceremony.

Click HERE to view the University of Pikeville Commencement ceremony.

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