UPIKE’s fall alumni events kick off in Somerset

The University of Pikeville kicked off the fall alumni events with a trip to Somerset, Ky., to reconnect with alumni and friends over dinner at The Chalet restaurant. In attendance to dine with guests and update them on all things UPIKE were President Burton J. Webb, First Lady Kay Webb and Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations David Hutchens.  

Webb spoke to the crowd about the generous gift of $25 million to open a dental school at UPIKE, as well as the new AgTech Center of Excellence and the $4.4 million dollar grant UPIKE was awarded to help build it.

“UPIKE is a place that continues to change and continues to grow. We have been able to do quite a few things in the last few years and that is a testament to our alumni support and friends of the university who invest in the future of UPIKE,” said Webb. “We continue to move forward with big projects, but I also care greatly about the small projects.”

The president went on to discuss how restructuring the tutoring center and student success has helped increase retention rates by more than 16 percent over the last six years, with graduation rates increasing by two percent in each of the last four years. “We are investing in the lives of students so they can graduate, go out and do the things they want to do, and be successful,” added Webb. 

UPIKE’s very first football coach, Zak Willis, was in attendance with his wife, Sara (‘04) who played softball for then Pikeville College and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in history. 

“Since my graduation, the college has really grown! There have been so many advancements in recent years, from new facilities to new programs,” said Sara. “I think a lot of that is due to Dr. Webb’s vision for the future and the direction he wants to take the university.”

For the Willis’s, who reside in London, Ky., this was their first time visiting The Chalet. They both agreed the event was well organized and the food was excellent. Chef Michael created a superb culinary experience served to guests on the patio, with an apple pandowdy dessert made from locally sourced apples. Both anticipate attending future events. 

“We look forward to attending more events and I encourage other alumni to as well because it gives you a chance to stay up to date on what is happening with your alma mater,” said Sara. “Events like these give you a feeling of pride to see the advancements the university is making. I left with a good sense of where the college is and where it’s going.”

The university’s alumni network includes more than 12,000 active members who continue to show their Bear pride and commitment to supporting the UPIKE community at memorable alumni events and activities hosted throughout the United States. For a list of future UPIKE Alumni Association events, email alumni@upike.edu or call (606) 218-5276.