UPIKE President Burton J. Webb, Ph.D. with Braxton M. Whitmore of Hazard, Ky.

UPIKE honors the class of 2019

The University of Pikeville honored the academic achievements of more than 270 graduates at the associate, baccalaureate and master’s degree levels and 120 Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine degree recipients from the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) during commencement exercises on May 4.

Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine
Ronald R. Blanck, D.O., 39th Surgeon General of the U.S. Army (Ret.), delivered the keynote address for KYCOM and in his address, Blanck, who was presented an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, encouraged graduates to stay true to their osteopathic training.

“Remember that medicine rests on values which are not changing,” said Blanck. “They are fundamental: Respect for the patient and your colleagues, honesty and integrity in all your dealings, and as I’ve already mentioned, selfless service.”

College of Arts and Sciences, Coleman College of Business, Elliott School of Nursing and Patton College of Education
Commencement marked 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 2019 were Sydney Lea Boyd of Grundy, Va., and Chandra Neal Hunley of Salyersville, Ky., and Brianna LeRae Blackburn of Pikeville, Ky., earned the distinction of salutatorian.

During the ceremony, Webb reflected the value of the education graduates received at UPIKE and challenged them to make someone else’s life better and live a life of service.

“UPIKE prepares you for far more than your first job,” said Webb. “We’ve prepared you for a lifetime of learning and service.”

David Slone, associate professor of education and Bethany Sullivan, assistant professor of nursing were honored as the first- and second-place recipients, respectively, of the William Wade and Helen Record Walker Teaching Excellence Award.

Commencement keynote speaker Jean Hale received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Hale serves as President and CEO as well as Chairman of the Board of Community Trust Bancorp, Inc. She is also the Chairman of the Board of the Corporation’s two subsidiaries. As an industry ground-breaker, Hale became an officer of the Corporation at age 28 and began her journey of being the first woman within the Corporation to hold the titles of Vice President, Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President and, at the age of 45, President and CEO.

Hale spoke to graduates about leadership, the importance of lifelong learning and always being prepared.

“Being prepared gives you unlimited opportunities to have experiences better than your dreams,” said Hale.

Hale also encouraged graduates to pay it forward with not only their treasurers but with their time and talents.

Commencement week activities for the College of Arts and Sciences also included the pinning ceremony for nine new professional social workers. The Elliott School of Nursing honored 32 new nurses during a traditional pinning ceremony.