UPIKE Class of 2023 celebrated at commencement ceremonies

More than 400 University of Pikeville (UPIKE) students celebrated their achievements by earning their degrees during the spring commencement ceremonies for undergraduate, graduate and health professions on Saturday, May 6, at the Appalachian Wireless Arena. Graduates and families were able to attend the in-person ceremonies or watch virtually via livestream.

The twenty-third commencement of the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) and, for the fourth time, the Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) recognized a tremendous group of physicians and optometric servants.

The keynote speaker for the health professions ceremony was retired Optometrist and UPIKE Board of Trustees member Ronald Gene McCoy, O.D.

McCoy stressed the importance of communication and encouraged the graduates to communicate openly with both their patients and their colleagues. He also reflected on his career and how fulfilling it has been.

“In the 40 years I’ve practiced, I have loved serving the people of Eastern Kentucky,” said McCoy. “I’ve never considered it work. If you choose a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

During the undergraduate ceremony, UPIKE President Burton J. Webb, Ph.D., extended congratulations on behalf of the university as the students begin the next exciting chapter of their lives.

“We are proud of you, we want the best for you, and we stand ready to continue to help you as you build a life well-lived,” said Webb. “You are now at the beginning of your life of work and service to mankind. 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. We share in that joy because we are a little part of you, as you will always be a little part of us. Our calling is to prepare you.”

UPIKE alum Josh Samarco, M.A., delivered the undergraduate ceremony’s keynote address. Samarco encouraged graduates to embrace their identity and voice.

“When it comes to dreaming dreams that move mountains, remember your voice matters,” said Samarco. “The time here at UPIKE has given you a voice, and your voice is needed now. You aren’t just the leaders and change agents of the future; you’re the leaders and change agents of today.”

For more ceremony information, visit upike.edu/commencement.