Opening Convocation kicks off UPIKE’s academic year

On Tuesday, September 10, the University of Pikeville officially proclaimed the start of its 130th academic year with the 2019 Opening Convocation Ceremony. University faculty, staff and students gathered with community members for the event. 

The keynote address was delivered by Jared Arnett, founding executive director for Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR).  Arnett focused his comments on opportunity and the importance of a positive attitude when making decisions for the future. 

“Do not make decisions out of fear of failure,” Arnett advised students. “If you are comfortable, you are not growing.”

Following the keynote address, President Burton J. Webb, Ph.D., honored Pike County native Eula Hall with the Baird Family Service Award. The award was instituted last year to honor those who have devoted their lives to the service of others. Hall has devoted 70 years of her life to meeting health and social needs, removing barriers to health care and giving people of Eastern Kentucky a voice.

In the early 1970s, Hall opened the Mud Creek Clinic in Grethel, Ky., and later joined forces with Big Sandy Health Care, Inc., a move that made Mud Creek Clinic eligible to receive federal funding and expand patient care. Hall continues to be an advocate for patients today.

“Eula Hall understands more about the importance of eliminating poverty than many experts,” said Webb. “Eula has been called an angel, dynamite, a force to be reckoned with and a living legend.”

To Hall, helping the people of Appalachia is inherent. She remains humble, focused and attentive to everchanging health care needs.

“I still transport patients in and out of the clinic daily,” Hall said upon accepting the award. “I didn’t do any of this to be recognized, I do it for the people.”