KYCO Class of 2021 students stand on the Historic 99 steps after receiving their white coats in April 2018

KYCO class of 2022 gives back

Students in the third class of the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) have already embraced the university’s philanthropic culture. An impressive 65 percent of students committed to making financial gifts to UPIKE when presented with the opportunity. The UPIKE Office of Advancement anticipates the percentage of students donating will increase as the semester progresses.


The class of 2022 consists of more than 60 students from 25 states spanning from California to Florida. Thirty-nine students are from rural areas and 10 are from Kentucky, representing KYCO’s mission to provide vision care in rural Central Appalachia – the blindest region in the United States – and other underserved areas of the country. Forty-one females and 22 males comprise the class, which represents students from diverse ethnicities and backgrounds.

“My donation pledge signifies not only my commitment to KYCO’s vision of hope to serve Central Appalachia but also to my fellow 2022 classmates and the exciting journey ahead,” said first-year student Douglas Thompson, of Kansas City, Mo.

Rachael White, a second-year student from Hindman, Ky., also donated, as did most of her classmates upon entering KYCO.

“I chose to come to UPIKE because I see the importance of giving back to the community and serving the people of Central Appalachia,” she said. “UPIKE goes above and beyond for its students, faculty, staff and members of the community. To show our appreciation and support, 62 percent of the class of 2021 made donations to the school. On behalf of the students at the Kentucky College of Optometry, we truly want to make a difference in the lives of others and it starts by giving back to the school that gave us the opportunity to be here.”

The university is grateful to the students for their exemplary support.

Michael Bacigalupi, O.D., dean of KYCO said, “I’m very proud of the class of 2022’s willingness to give back. They are demonstrating this in very tangible ways with these pledges of support to the university and their commitment to care for the underserved people of Eastern Kentucky.”