UPIKE’s Opening Convocation sets an inspiring tone for the upcoming academic year

For more than a century, the University of Pikeville has created many opportunities through the promise of education. On Thursday, September 1, UPIKE officially proclaimed the beginning of its 133rd academic year with the 2022 Opening Convocation Ceremony. Faculty, staff and students gathered in the Health Professions Education Building to formally welcome all incoming UPIKE students. 

The keynote address was delivered by Jonathan Webb, founder and CEO of AppHarvest. He encouraged students to challenge themselves and centered his message on working together in ways that epitomize the spirit of the university. 

“I encourage you to use this place and time as an incubator to where you would like to be in the world. Don’t limit yourself. You can forever change the landscape of this region if you stay optimistic,” said Jonathan Webb. “What you dream and think of while on campus and what you unlock inside of yourself is the value that this place will create. Keep educating yourself, challenge yourself and the people around you, and dream big.” 

Following the keynote address, UPIKE President Burton J. Webb, Ph.D., reflected on the significance of the organization that will feed thousands of people and experienced its beginnings on UPIKE’s campus. 

“That little seed of an idea grew into ultimately a 60-acre greenhouse in Morehead, and now four other facilities spread throughout Kentucky,” said President Webb. “AppHarvest will impact people’s lives because of the food they produce, but also the jobs it will produce.” 

UPIKE Professor of Business Howard Roberts, Ed.D., shared a heartfelt story honoring UPIKE alumna and Mayor of Whitesburg, Tiffany Craft ’10, with the Baird Family Service Award.

“Recently, torrential rains fell upon this region, soaking the ground, running down the hills and collecting in every angle of the town of Whitesburg, Ky. Before long, the streams were filled and the water kept coming. Bridges were washed away, houses toppled and vehicles bobbled in the muddy swells as she stood watching her beautiful town disappear before her eyes,” said Roberts. “This year’s Baird Family Service Award recipient is made of grit, wrapped in persistence and filled with a well of energy born of the determination often found in Appalachian women. Her ability to coordinate relief efforts with long-term planning is nothing short of amazing. Tiffany is a fine example of service-oriented leadership and the reason we honor her today.”