Page 1

MAGAZINE Fall 2017

Defining the UPIKE Spirit H E A LT H PROFE SSI O N S E D U C ATI O N



2017 RECAP


Service lies at the heart of the freshman experience as UPIKE’s newest Bears rolled up their sleeves to help others. The cleanup at Jenny Wiley State Park was one of several projects. Together, the class completed 950 volunteer hours at 33 sites in eight counties. Photo by Allen Murphy, UPIKE ROTC

Click here for photos from this year’s Service Day.


Fall 2017 Volume 4, Number 1 MAGAZINE STAFF David Hutchens

Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations

EDITOR Lucy Holman ’89 ART DIRECTOR Kate Hensley CONTRIBUTORS Misty Asbury ’11, Lakia Bailey ’11, Lisa Blackburn, Laura Damron, Ron Damron, Michelle Goff, Shannon Howder, Sherrie Marrs, Stephanie Stiltner ’10, Brooke Thacker ’04, Dan White PHOTOGRAPHERS Larry Epling, Kate Hensley, Dusty Layne, Doug Mortimer, Stephanie Stiltner ’10 CONTACTS

Story ideas and letters to the editor: Email: Mail: Editor, UPIKE Magazine, Office of Advancement, University of Pikeville, 147 Sycamore St., Pikeville, KY 41501. Address changes: Email: alumni@upike. edu. Phone: (606) 218-5276 between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Class notes: Email: Online: Mail: Office of Advancement, University of Pikeville, 147 Sycamore St., Pikeville, KY 41501

The University of Pikeville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of Pikeville.

8 18





President’s Letter 2

Field-Based Learning 22

Campus News 4

Class of 2021 24

New Day New Way 12

Now Showing 26

Vision of Hope 14

Athletics News 30

Visual Strategy 16

Class Notes 32

Alumni Awards 20

ON THE COVER UPIKE seniors Amarie Eadie, Zach Bowens and Shannon Howder talk about their plans for the future. Eadie is a biology major, Bowens is studying criminal justice and Howder is majoring in communication.

Letter from the



he is a senior from Eastern Kentucky. As we talked, she told me that her mamaw and papaw taught her to play golf when she was a child. She loved to spend time with them, so she worked hard and got to be good at it. He is a senior from Central Kentucky. His love of social activism and video production have caused him to begin filming documentaries about life in Appalachia. He spoke with passion about his teammates on the football team, the way they support each other, and specifically about the way they supported him when he was injured early in the season.

Engaged students who are empowered to learn and then to lead, what could be more transformational for our region? The vision gains flesh with four goals; over the next five years we will: 1. Build innovative curricular and co-curricular programs, guided by educational outcomes, that attract, support, and empower students to be successful in the 21st Century. 2. Develop facilities, programming, and technology that leverage our environment to effectively attract, empower, and retain students through the completion of appropriate credentials.

She hopes to be in law school in the fall. He hopes to be employed in the media industry or in graduate school. Around these two students were others - an aspiring politician, a linguist, a university mascot and an entrepreneur. These stories represent just one night this fall in the home UPIKE provides for Kay and me. Our lives intersect theirs briefly and I catch glimpses of potential as they flit by my door. In everything that follows, we must keep these students in mind. They are the only reason we exist; they are our mission and our calling. For more than nine months your university faculty, staff and administrators have been working on the development of a strategic plan that will carry us forward for the next five years. What developed was a plan that is student focused.

Our vision is succinct: At the University of Pikeville, we will concentrate all of our attention on engaging and empowering students to be successful learners and leaders.

3. Create pathways that empower students to explore career, vocation, and leadership. 4. Strengthen the financial capacity and long-term sustainability of UPIKE. Each of these goals is drawn from and informs the spirit of the place we call the University of Pikeville, but, to me, the last goal hits home more than the others. Certainly, I can get excited about building projects, new academic programs, and empowering our students, but in this job, I am continually reminded of the fact that I am nothing more or less than a steward.

Our vision is succinct: At the University of Pikeville, we will concentrate all of our attention on engaging and empowering students to be successful learners and leaders.

Kay and I have come to love the Appalachian Mountains and the people who call this place home, but we realize that no matter how long we are here, we will not outlive the university. Our place here is



transient, no matter how long it is. To the extent possible, I would ask you to remember the same thing. In whatever we do and in whatever decisions we make, we must set up the next generation of leaders to be successful. We must lead the university with a careful mixture of bold vision and humble optimism. We must keep at the forefront of both our thinking and our actions that this great work is not about us; it is about them. • The student who grew up on Johns Creek, joined UPIKE on a golf scholarship, and is heading off to law school. • The social worker, videographer, and former football player with his sights set on graduate school. • And, the daughter of a faculty member who will pursue her master’s degree in student development and dreams of returning to UPIKE to invest her life in the next generation of students as a leader. They will be our legacy, they will be our joy. Each day, I pray that I will be able to set my ego and my ambition aside so that I might pursue the good of others above myself. It is with them in mind that I sign every letter with the same three words … Striving to serve, Burton J. Webb President University of Pikeville

More than 1,000 members of the UPIKE family were captivated by the Great American Solar Eclipse in August. Professors held a Q&A before the event, engaging young and old in the wonders of science. Click here for photos from the Great American Solar Eclipse.



Campus News MSC Basketball, Cheerleading Championships Coming to Pikeville The Mid-South Conference has entered into an agreement with the City of Pikeville, the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center and the University of Pikeville to bring the MSC Basketball and Cheerleading Championships to Pikeville over the next five years. The Mid-South Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments will be played at the Expo Center while the MSC Cheerleading Championships will be contested on the UPIKE campus beginning this February and March. “The Mid-South Conference is pleased to announce this partnership with the Pikeville community to host our basketball and cheerleading championships in 2018 and beyond,” said MSC Commissioner Eric Ward. “We were all saddened to learn recently that the Frankfort Convention Center was to be demolished, and we were suddenly without a home for what we consider to be our flagship championship event. Luckily, the University of Pikeville stepped up and rallied community support to bring the event to its city for the foreseeable future.”

The Expo Center previously served as the host venue during the 2006 and 2008 MSC basketball championships. UPIKE hosted the cheerleading championships in 2006, 2008 and 2014. The Mid-South Conference and the 15th Region Basketball Tournaments will share the Expo Center court during their respective tournaments to turn Eastern Kentucky into a round-ball mecca. “The Mid-South Conference Basketball Tournament and Cheerleading Championship will bring thousands of people into the heart of Appalachia,” said UPIKE President Burton Webb. “We believe this will be an excellent opportunity to showcase the fact that Pikeville is a thriving community with a tremendous vision for the future.” All three championships are scheduled to be contested during the first weekend in March.

Speech and Debate Team Off to a Winning Start UPIKE’s Speech and Debate Team performed well among the 17 schools competing in the John G. Fee Memorial Tournament at Berea College in Berea, Ky. Representing UPIKE were students Tori Breeding, Zak Bray, Adam Hotelling and Alia Smith. The

tournament was a first for Hotelling who placed 4th in Informative Speaking and 6th in Radio Broadcasting. Hotelling also took home the Top Novice Award in Radio Broadcasting. In her first time competing for the Bears, Smith placed 5th in Dramatic Interpretation and 6th in Informative Speaking.



“This is the first year that the team has functioned as a fully competitive team,” said Rachel Little ʼ05, speech and debate coach and instructor of communication. “I am so proud of the work that they have done this semester! We are looking forward to the remaining three tournaments this year.”

Fall was a celebration of music, art and film at UPIKE, beginning with a recital of American music, including art songs and spirituals by African American composers and music from the Golden Age of American Musical Theatre. Soprano Luvada A. Harrison, DMA, associate professor of music at Stillman College, joined UPIKE’s Phillip Todd Westgate, DMA, professor of music, in presenting the recital. Harrison has appeared in regional opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout the United States and parts of Europe. She also presented a lecture during an African literature survey class taught by Hannah Freeman, Ph.D., associate professor of English. Mystery and intrigue set the stage for October’s featured art exhibit in the Weber Gallery. “The Pfeilstorch Incident and Other Conspiracies: An Exhibition of Collaborative Works by Steve Ward, James Riley, Ph.D., Mark Hackworth, Saul Gray-Hildenbrand, Anna King and Delos Schueler,” exhibited the shared expression between language and other media, such as oil, photography or sculpture. The show featured 15,000 words, including poems, short stories and narrative fragments. “We wanted an incomplete narrative that led to some revelation and what we decided on was how ornithologists learned (in the 19th century) the principles of bird migration,” said Riley, professor of English and coordinator of the English program at UPIKE. “Pfeilstorch or ‘spear stork,’ were storks killed in Germany with Gambian spears lodged in their necks.”

In this unique exhibit, the pieces displayed the relationship between language and three-dimensional imagery through shared metaphors, in literary and visual form. Creation of the artwork and the creative process varied for each piece. In some instances, a narrative inspired an image and other times an image informed the narrative or poem. Often, the artists began with a shared metaphor which controlled the development of both the visual art and the written words. UPIKE’s division of humanities and experiential learning office hosted a screening of the documentary “Linefork.” An immersive meditation on the passage of time and the persistent resonance of place, “Linefork” follows the daily rituals of an elderly couple living in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains. Now well into his 80s, Lee Sexton is the last living link to the distant past of regional American music. A retired coal miner with black lung, Lee and his wife, Opal, continue to farm the land where he was born. Together they face encroaching health concerns and stark economic realities. Recorded over three years, “Linefork” is an observational film documenting their marriage, their community and their resilience. Prior to the screening, program organizer Wesley Simon led the talk, “Documentary Filmmaking in Appalachia,” followed by an introduction to “Linefork” from the filmmakers. A post-screening presentation on the Appalachian dialect was led by linguist Greg Johnson followed by a questionand-answer session with co-directors Jeff Silva and Vic Rawlings hosted by Andrew Reed, program director and assistant professor of film and media arts at UPIKE. Silva is a film programmer, documentary filmmaker and longtime affiliate of the Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL) at Harvard University. Rawlings is a multi-instrumentalist musician and teacher fluent in many styles on guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, ukulele and tenor banjo. To view a trailer of “Linefork,” visit



‘White Coat of Compassion’ Paige Lewis of Henderson, Ky., receives her white coat as the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) formally welcomed the Class of 2021 during a traditional White Coat Ceremony. A rite of passage for beginning medical students, the ritual encourages a psychological contract that emphasizes professionalism and empathy in the practice of medicine and focuses on the importance of both scientific excellence and compassionate care for the patient. The keynote address was delivered by William G. Anderson, I, D.O., FACOS, past president of the American Osteopathic Association, senior advisor to the dean at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and vice president of academic affairs for osteopathic medical education at Detroit Medical Center. Anderson’s message focused on exemplifying humility in the osteopathic profession. “People in the community where you’re going to practice will trust you because you’re wearing that white coat that symbolizes you’re a doctor,” said Anderson. “Don’t forget where you came from, how you got here. Be respectful of others for who they are and what they are, and learn how to love them as your brothers and your sisters.”

Click here for photos, videos and more from KYCOM’s White Coat Ceremony.

Keeping the Promise

Betz honored for longtime service to KYCOM As the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) celebrates its 20th anniversary, the community bid farewell to a distinguished osteopathic physician and educator who committed to KYCOM’s mission from the beginning. William T. Betz, D.O., former senior associate dean for osteopathic medical education, was named this year’s John A. Strosnider, D.O., Memorial Lecturer during the annual Founders Dinner. The award was established in honor of Strosnider, the medical school’s founding dean. “Bill Betz is a colleague and a friend, and he’s been one of the most influential people on the delivery of the promise,” said

From left, Dr. Buser presents the Strosnider Award to Dr. Betz.



KYCOM’s Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean, Boyd R. Buser, D.O. Coming to Pikeville was one of the best things he and his wife, Cheryl, did, said Betz who retired in July. “Pikeville became our home and we will miss it.” Known for his witty sense of humor, this special occasion was no different for Betz who delighted the crowd with stories of KYCOM’s early days … and his old friend, “Stro.” “I miss my friend John Strosnider,” said Betz. “It took people like him and many others to make this school a reality. Giving these kids the opportunity to be successful osteopathic physicians was what Stro was all about.”

UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS College of Arts and Sciences Art Biology Chemistry Communication Computer Science Criminal Justice English Film & Media Arts History History/Political Science Mathematics Music* Psychology Religion Social Work Sociology Spanish Theatre* Coleman College of Business Business • • • •

Accounting Healthcare Management Management Sport Management

Entrepreneurship* Patton College of Education Educational Studies Elementary Education Middle Grades Education Secondary Education Elliott School of Nursing Nursing RN-BSN (100% online)

GRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMS Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) Business Administration (MBA) • Professional MBA • Healthcare Management MBA



Nathan has set his sights on becoming an orthopedic surgeon. But first, the University of Pikeville junior is working on his biology degree. As a high school senior Nathan was accepted to the Osteopathic Medical Scholars Program (OMSP), an eight-year program leading to both bachelor’s and professional degrees (B.S. and D.O.). Admission to medical school is competitive. At the University of Pikeville, the OMSP program makes obtaining a professional degree seamless – and attainable.

Open to qualified high school seniors, the Osteopathic Medical Scholars Program and Optometry Scholars Program lead to both bachelor’s and professional degrees at UPIKE’s nationally-ranked college of osteopathic medicine or the college of optometry.

To learn more about the criteria, visit

Teacher Leader Program (M.A.) *Minor only



Marguerite’s Journey By Michelle Goff Grant Writer

When she was in grade school, Marcia Cassady, ’80, a University of Pikeville trustee, started taking art lessons from Marguerite Weber, a professor of art at Pikeville College. Although Cassady discontinued the lessons after middle school and later forged a friendship with Marguerite, she still refers to her one-time teacher as Mrs. Weber. She also continues to receive inspiration from Marguerite’s extraordinary and often tragic life. 8



arguerite Fedotoff was born on May 30, 1900, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Educated in France, her Swiss mother was a governess to the children of Grand Duke Constantine, a cousin of Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia. Marguerite’s father oversaw St. Petersburg’s post and telegraph services. His father, Paul Fedotoff, is considered one of Russia’s most prominent 19th century artists. Her mother’s role in Constantine’s household brought Marguerite into contact with the aristocracy. Many years later, she recorded in her journal that the family had spent a summer on the grand duke’s estate. Marguerite, age eight at the time of the visit, wrote, “It was a happy summer and we started to consider the family of the grand duke as ordinary people.” At age nine, Marguerite enrolled in the Smolny Institute. Her mother taught French at the school, which Catherine the Great established in 1764 as an educational facility for daughters of the nobility. (Vladimir Lenin would later choose Smolny as the Bolshevik headquarters.) Marguerite remained at the school for seven years, earning the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. In 1916, with Russia’s World War I casualties growing, she took nursing classes so she could work in a military hospital.

Marguerite’s husband, whose heart had been weakened during his military service, died shortly after the revolution began. She also lost family valuables, including works of art, which were seized by soldiers or sold for food. Fearing that the Bolsheviks would soon target her and Suzanne, Marguerite sewed the family’s remaining valuables into her clothing and she and her daughter made their way to Siberia, a trip of more than 2,000 miles. According to Marguerite’s obituary, they walked “in snow drifts that at times rose over their heads.” Exposure and starvation eventually claimed three-year-old Suzanne. Marguerite continued on to China. Tying a scarf around her head to avoid detection, she had a photo taken for a fake passport. In China, she met a fellow Russian emigrant, Arkady Weber. The son of a German father and a Tatar countess, Arkady spent two years as a prisoner of war in Germany during World War I. By the time he escaped prison and returned to Russia, the revolution was underway. Although he joined up with the White Russians to fight the Bolsheviks, he fled the country when it became apparent that the communist forces would win.

Around this time, Marguerite met and married a young military officer. Together, they had a daughter named Suzanne. In 1917, their lives changed forever with the outbreak of the Russian revolution. According to a story published in the Williamson Daily News following Marguerite’s death in 1980, she described the time as “full of anxiety and fear. The nights were sleepless because that’s when groups of soldiers, armed with rifles, were searching the private homes and arresting people just for the reason of being from another social class than the proletariat.”

Marcia Cassady was fascinated by her professor, Marguerite Weber. “She was a window on a pivotal moment in world history, and her life offered me lessons that go far beyond art,” she said.



Arkady found work as a movie pianist and bandleader in China. He and Marguerite married in 1937. For more than a decade, they enjoyed their life in China. They eventually settled in Shanghai where Marguerite taught school and Arkady directed an orchestra. In the late 1940s, however, communist forces overthrew the Chinese government. According to her obituary, Marguerite and Arkady were on the last ship out of Shanghai before the city fell to the communists. The couple found their way to Brazil where they spent two years teaching before meeting Presbyterian missionaries who told them about Pikeville College. The Webers started teaching at Pikeville in 1952. Arkady retired in the early 1970s. Marguerite retired in 1975, the same year her husband died. In the early 1980s, the college named the Weber Art Gallery in Marguerite’s honor. Before their retirement, the couple also taught private lessons in their home. One of their students was Marcia Cassady.

a portrait of me, perhaps four-years-old at the time. It meant the world to him that she was impressed, that she revised her opinion of his abilities. She had that effect on students. She could be warm and good-humored, but she had high standards and pulled no punches. By the time I studied art with her in that tiny bedroom/studio a decade later, she may have mellowed a bit. But drawing and painting were still central to her understanding of a good life, and she was exacting about technique and best efforts.” Cassady believes the Webers initially viewed the Eastern Kentucky mountains as a “place of refuge from war and communism. She continued to travel to San Francisco, where there was an active Russian community, and she travelled frequently to Europe. She always came home, though. She had not forgotten the way they had been welcomed by the community. It wasn’t just a sanctuary for her. It was her home.” According to Marguerite’s obituary, the community’s affection for the Webers was so great that when the couple became U.S. citizens in 1954, the streets of Pikeville were blocked and a party was thrown in their honor.

“Both my parents (Roma Clark McClanahan and With the outbreak of the Russian revolution, Marguerite made Thelmer McClanahan) her way to Siberia, then on to China. In this picture, she tied a The story also noted that were teachers and the Webers adopted the scarf around her head to avoid detection, taking a photo for a fake passport. they valued art and college students as their music,” Cassady said. own. Following Arkady’s “They gave me weekly piano lessons with Mr. Weber death, Marguerite asked Cassady to live with her. and art lessons with Mrs. Weber in her bedroom “She had never learned to drive and lacked that doubled as her studio. I still have every one of transportation,” Cassady recalled. “She approached the paintings we did together.” my parents with the offer to let me live with her in “My dad was Mrs. Weber’s student at Pikeville lieu of dorm living. She said to me, ‘You can teach College in the early ’60s. One day in class, she me to drive and I can teach you to cook.’” challenged him with the assertion that only Marguerite never became a licensed driver. (“I was someone with talent could paint a portrait that the worst driving instructor in the world,” Cassady captured a true likeness. He thought she was of the opinion he didn’t have enough talent. So, he created joked.) But Cassady was introduced to international



cuisine and treasures, Marguerite’s gift to her of handwritten recipes for borscht and stroganoff.

brother,” Marguerite told the reporter, “was not to write.”

“She had lived in Russia and Shanghai and Rio de Janeiro and was practicing fusion before it was popular. I would walk in at the end of the day and be greeted by wonderfully exotic smells. I think she still wanted somebody to cook dinner for.”

Cassady said she felt the impact of Marguerite’s forced separation from her family at her death.

Describing the Webers as “Cold War poster children,” Cassady said reporters and others “traveled great distances to interview them. This was in the 1960s when travel to Pikeville was more difficult.” Due, in part, to this publicity, Cassady was aware of Marguerite’s history. But she credits Marguerite’s friend, Thede May, and another student, Tinker Page, ’74, with the foresight to record as much of that history as possible in her final years. May and Page transcribed Marguerite’s journals and, following her death, contacted her relatives. They learned that some believed Marguerite to be the biological daughter of Grand Duke Constantine. During one of Marguerite’s trips to Italy, Constantine’s granddaughter learned of her visit and asked to meet with her father’s childhood acquaintance. Marguerite refused, which her family found strange. After finding photos of Constantine, however, Cassady saw a striking resemblance between Marguerite and the grand duke, perhaps strong enough to have made a meeting with his family awkward. “We had always thought she was able to attend the Smolny Institute because her mother taught there,” Cassady said. “After the news about the Grand Duke Constantine, we wondered if she was placed there based on her parentage.” Regardless of her true parentage, Cassady said Marguerite didn’t dwell on the past and never spoke to her about the loss of her daughter. “She had made peace with the worst of times and didn’t want to relive them further,” she said. “She also didn’t place great value on things. She told me she had much in her life and had lost everything multiple times. She recognized the transitory nature of things that can be owned. She valued people and experiences and beautiful music and art. There was no hunger left in her for valuables.” According to a profile of the couple published in the Herald-Advertiser in August 1965, the Webers had not corresponded with relatives still living in Russia since 1925. “The last request I had from my

“In my world, families gathered at times like that. Having been cut off from her family through forced emigration, she had only us,” said Cassady who, along with May and Page, was at Marguerite’s bedside when she died. “She was a fascinating person, unlike anyone I’d ever met or hope to meet. She was a window on a pivotal moment in world history, and her life offered me lessons that go far beyond art,” Cassady said. “I have never stopped searching for information that can deepen my understanding of who she was.” In the 1980s, with the hope of writing about Marguerite, Cassady shared materials from Marguerite’s life with the Hillwood Museum. Located in Washington, D.C., the museum specializes in Russian decorative art. “It was affirming to be received so warmly and taken to a part of the museum that is not open to visitors. Hillwood had stacks of books – all in Russian – on the work of Paul Fedotoff, Mrs. Weber’s grandfather. But they also made me realize I could not do the necessary research without significant travel and French and Russian translators. I had three small children. I had to give it up.” “As the Internet began to develop, I started preserving the materials we had in hopes of one day putting them online so that, if someone is researching related lives and stories, hers is there to be found.” Cassady, who has never forgotten the woman who twice escaped communism, summered at a grand duke’s palace, and taught her art lessons in a tiny studio, added, “Her life is that important.” UPIKE brings together special collections and archives from Central Appalachia. The Frank M. Allara Library Special Collections focuses on Appalachian history and culture and includes photographs, manuscripts, newspapers and ephemera. To share stories about your time on campus or memorabilia, contact Edna Fugate, archivist, at (606) 218-5625 or ednafugate@ Donations are accepted. Documents and photos can be copied and originals returned.



Alumni Spotlight

NEW DAY NEW WAY Bit Source Goes From Coal to Code By Lucy Holman ’89 editor

Justin Hall was working as a software developer in Lexington, Ky., when he received a call from Bit Source, a tech-startup back home in Pikeville. He wasn’t expecting the question: “Can you teach a coal miner to code?” He’d never worked a day underground, but Hall had grown up in Pike County and knew the loss of thousands of coal jobs was devastating to the mountain economy and the lives of mining families. For Hall, the invitation from Bit Source was a call to serve, and an opportunity to help those hit by hard times.

“It’s been hard to grasp and rationalize, getting calls from CNN, Forbes, Popular Mechanics, Google … crazy,” Hall said. “There is a lot of interest, more than I imagined, in teaching a coal miner to code. It’s the American dream all over again. You can bootstrap a business in the middle of nowhere.” 12


“I could teach others about the gift that I had found developing software,” he thought. “I could go back home … be close to my family … visit old friends.” Besides, he reasoned, “I was the only one I knew who spoke hillbilly and JavaScript. Sign me up!” Founded by businessmen Lynn Parrish and Rusty Justice, Bit Source aims to re-purpose the qualities of the local workforce by helping displaced coal industry workers become skilled developers, providing technology solutions to public, private and nonprofit entities. The company’s slogan, “A New Day, New Way,” resonates throughout the organization. For those who’ve set their sights on joining this new tech community Hall tells them, “As of today, you’re no longer coal miners. You’re problem solvers.” And they believe him. “Everybody who comes through our door seems to have a sign that says, ‘validate me.’ We know where they come from and who they are. We want to help them find their voice and path,” said Hall.

Fortune Magazine listed Bit Source as one of the seven companies in the world to watch. Fast Company recently named Hall, who serves as president, 56th among the 100 most creative people in business. Add to that NBC, HBO, Wired, The New York Times, and more.


“It’s been hard to grasp and rationalize, getting calls from CNN, Forbes, Popular Mechanics, Google … crazy,” Hall said. “There is a lot of interest, more than I imagined, in teaching a coal miner to code. It’s the American dream all over again. You can bootstrap a business in the middle of nowhere.” Hall was the featured speaker at the University of Pikeville’s Opening Convocation in August. If there’s truth in the wisdom that self-discovery goes a long way, his introspective, honest and often humorous message for students was to learn from their mistakes and make the most of their college experience. “My time on the hill was not easy,” said Hall. “I was not the best student. Actually, I wasn’t a big fan of classes and tests,” he added jokingly, “but it was at UPIKE where I learned not to fear failing.” He admitted he went to college mostly because of baseball, where he played for the Bears from 1993-97. “My freshman year was great, but my sophomore year and the rest of my collegiate career were below expectations. My batting average was .187. That is a lot of failing,” said Hall. “Not being a successful baseball player destroyed me. I had put all of my eggs in one basket. Not smart.” His first job after graduation was in the college’s physical plant where he received a different sort of education – collecting the trash around campus and doing general maintenance work. “The job helped me learn a lot about the value of education, something I had taken for granted in my days on the hill,” he said. “It was the best job I could have had at the time for what it taught me.” What does Hall think of his alma mater today? “It’s totally changed, but still familiar. It’s like PC 2.0.” Hall talks to students about the possibility of a hack-athon around Hillbilly Days. “We are thinking of calling it ‘hackalachia’ and invite the techies who have reached out to us, tweeted us and shared their code with us,” Hall said.



“Once again, the University of Pikeville is defying the odds and taking a chance on the power and ingenuity of our own people to change the course of our future.” U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers


OUR VISION By Laura damron Director of Public Affairs

“The HPEB is the finest, largest, most modern facility for the education of optometrists in the country.” Terry L. Dotson, chairman of the UPIKE Board of Trustees

More than 650 gathered at the University of Pikeville on Oct. 27 for the ribbon cutting and dedication of the Health Professions Education Building (HPEB). The ceremony commemorated a significant milestone for the university, Central Appalachia and all of Kentucky, as the HPEB is home to the only college of optometry in the Commonwealth and the 22nd in the nation – the Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO). The HPEB is 107,000 square feet of state-of-the-art classrooms, clinical education and basic science laboratories, primary care operatories and space that will house both KYCO and UPIKE’s growing nursing program. Beyond individual and private donations, funding for the $72 million educational facility included grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and Appalachian Regional Commission, as well as a low-interest stimulus loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Administration.



KYCO is projected to provide an estimated regional economic impact of $26.8 million over four years. KYCO is preparing its students for a broad scope of practice. Kentucky is one of only three states in the nation in which optometrists have the ability to perform laser and minor surgical procedures.

More than 30 percent of graduates are expected to practice in medically underserved areas of Appalachia. KYCO is now operating rural clinics that will serve an estimated 18,000 unique patients annually. Andrew Buzzelli, O.D., KYCO founding dean, said, “What I am most proud of is that our faculty have already performed hundreds of eye exams, there is a pediatric eye clinic in Pikeville Medical Center that wasn’t there and we are in three Federally Qualified Health Centers that are in numerous clinics.” In his address, U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) highlighted how UPIKE is helping close the gap on health disparities in Central Appalachia. “Today Central Appalachia has the highest rates of preventable blindness in the nation,” said Rogers. “So what does UPIKE do? They build a state-of-the-art facility with the very best equipment, cutting-edge technology and a first-class team. You’re not only teaching future leaders, you’re writing the book on medical eye care in the nation.” “What I am most proud of is that our faculty have already performed hundreds of eye exams, there is a pediatric eye clinic in the hospital that wasn’t there and we are in three Federally Qualified Health Centers that are in numerous clinics.” Dr. Andrew Buzzelli, Founding Dean, KYCO

Click here for photos, videos and more from the ribbon cutting ceremony. FALL 2017 | UPIKE MAGAZINE


Visual Strategy In one fluid move, UPIKE archer Devin Gayheart draws his bow. He steadies, focuses on the target and takes aim. Bulls-eye! Like his teammates, Gayheart uses his dominant eye to line up a shot. But what happens if an archer learns to shoot with both eyes? Will it enhance performance? Provide a competitive edge? The Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) and UPIKE’s new archery program are collaborating to study the effects of vision conditions on aiming. For first- and second-year KYCO students, the goal is to present their research at an international conference and publish findings in a paper before they graduate. The study is part of an internship directed by faculty Eilene Kinzer, O.D., M.Ed., VFL, FAAO, and Adam Hickenbotham, O.D., MPH, Ph.D., in conjunction with health and eye care industry sponsors. “The Summer Research Internship fosters future clinicians in their search to improve patient care,” 16


said Kinzer. “The program also assists the students in publishing research papers and presenting posters at national conferences, allowing them to interact with other professionals and specialists in the field.” The students are also striving to become Fellows of the American Academy of Optometry, according to Kinzer, a designation given to those who are enhancing the profession. Created by KYCO students, the research protocol will compare UPIKE’s archers to volunteers who are not members of the team. Eye exams and screenings will establish baselines for eye-hand and eye-body coordination, visual time response, distance judging and monocular and binocular aiming. Specialized software and eye tracking technology will also be incorporated in archery practices to help athletes improve performance. “Working with the college of optometry will benefit the archery program immensely. This is a tremendous asset to be able to have such a partnership,” said Head Coach Shane Hurt. “Potential recruits will definitely see this as a benefit of attending the University of Pikeville.”

Second-year KYCO student Jacob Webster agrees. “The university’s archery team was not only welcoming and a pleasure to work with, but provided incredible knowledge of the sport, which was essential in our data analysis,” said Webster. KYCO’s Sports Vision Club developed a similar research project last year to create a vision-training program for UPIKE’s Esports team. Visual perception training can help enhance hand-eye coordination, peripheral awareness and eye tracking abilities, skills that benefit Esports athletes. Minimizing eye fatigue for athletes and developing a vision training protocol to optimize performance are also part of the Esports research. KYCO faculty and students are involved in other research projects, including pediatrics, diabetic care and the effects of glare on vision. Second-year KYCO student Kristen Lantz sees the research internship as a great opportunity. “There is a lot that goes into starting and finishing a project that I was able to learn, such as writing a research proposal and how to process data,” said Lantz. “Long-term benefits include knowing how to start another project or continuing to study different effects of the archery project for the final paper. In being a published author, we are able to be one step closer to becoming a Fellow of Optometry, which will help our professional careers.”

First- and second-year KYCO students are studying the effects of vision conditions on aiming in archers as part of a summer research internship. Similar studies are being conducted with UPIKE’s Esports team.

“Working with the college of optometry will benefit the archery program immensely. This is a tremendous asset to be able to have such a partnership,” said Head Coach Gary Hurt. “Potential recruits will definitely see this as a benefit of attending the University of Pikeville.”

KYCO NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED The National Optometric Association (NOA) recently presented the “NOA School of the Year Award” to the Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO). Founded in 1969 and composed primarily of minority optometrists, NOA is committed to insuring comprehensive eye and vision health care and decreasing the health disparity in minority communities as it promotes diversity in vision care providers. Pictured, from left, are Dr. Phillip Aitsebaomo, NOA immediate past president, UPIKE President Dr. Burton Webb, Dr. Andrew Buzzelli, KYCO’s founding dean, and NOA President Dr. Ollie Powe.





The Homecoming Week celebration offered something for everyone, including Founders’ Day picnic and games, lighting of the campus, Distinguished Educators Hall of Fame, a concert, literary reading, and special chapel, led by Scottie Adkins ’11. Oct. 25 was a “Day of Service” with students and faculty taking on cleanup projects, reading to children, writing thank-you notes to the military, collecting items for the homeless, making cards for children in the hospital and holding a candlelight vigil for domestic violence awareness.





2017 ALUMNI AWARDS DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI Doug Branham ’71 As CEO and president of Colonial Claims, 1971 Pikeville College graduate Doug Branham oversees one of the nation’s largest catastrophe adjusting companies. Branham lives in Dunedin, Fla. and Lexington, Ky., with his wife Felicia Rivas Branham. Together, they have an extended family of six children and 11 grandchildren. Branham is also involved in the breeding, racing, and selling of Thoroughbred horses, Angus cattle, and farming hundreds of acres in Bourbon County, Ky.



The University of Pikeville’s 2017 Alumni Award recipients are entrepreneurs, educators, athletes and servant leaders. The honors for distinguished, rising and honorary alumni, volunteer of the year and the Gary Thrash Outstanding Ambassador Award were presented during the Homecoming celebration on Oct. 28. In conjunction with the Office of Advancement, the Alumni Association works to enhance the student experience, foster alumni connections and engagement, and honor the traditions of the past.



As president and CEO of Paxeon Reconstruction, Kyle Sineath, a 2007 graduate of Pikeville College, oversees a company that builds best-in-class orthopaedic products, including derivative and emerging products. Prior to joining Paxeon, Sineath sold his first start-up company to Redken Cosmetics and helped guide NuTech Medical to an $86 million acquisition. He and his wife Lauren live in Tennessee with their son Kamp. The Sineaths have an extended heart for Christian missionary work. They also enjoy visiting the mountains.

In 2011, UPIKE men’s basketball coach Kelly Wells led the Bears to the NAIA Men’s Basketball Division I National Championship, earning Rawlings Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year honors in the process. Last year, Wells became UPIKE’s all-time basketball wins leader. Off the court, he has helped raise awareness of organ and tissue donation as the spokesperson for the Kentucky Organ and Donation Association and through his Wells Tough organization. He and his wife Shawne live in Pikeville with their children, Kaylee and Mason.

Alumni award recipients were recognized during pre-game festivities at the Homecoming football game. From left, are Alumni Association President Tommy Chamberlin, Kelly Wells, Paula Thompson, who accepted the award on behalf of Sue Huffman Stanley, Kathi Belcher Fletcher, Doug Branham, Kyle Sineath and Dr. Burton Webb.

GARY THRASH OUTSTANDING AMBASSADOR AWARD Kathi Belcher Fletcher ’81 A 1981 graduate of Pikeville College, Kathi Belcher Fletcher spent 22 years as a teacher and guidance counselor in the Pike County School District. She assumed her current positon as guidance counselor for the Pike County Schools Early College Academy in 2014. She lives in Regina, Ky., with her husband of 36 years, Kenneth David Fletcher, also a Pikeville College alum. The couple have one daughter, Keri Fletcher Childers, a 2006 graduate of the college, one son, Christopher Kyle David Fletcher, a captain in the United States Marine Corps, and one grandson.

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR Sue Huffman Stanley ’70 The daughter of longtime Pikeville College athletic director and coach, Paul Butcher, Sue Butcher Huffman Stanley graduated from the college in 1970. Following the death of her first husband, Kenny Huffman, also a Pikeville graduate, she started the Kenny Huffman Memorial Tennis Tournament and an endowment fund at the college. The tournament, which has lasted 45 years, provides a college scholarship to qualifying high school graduates and scholarship money to UPIKE’s tennis team. Stanley, a former coach, athletic director, and teacher, is now retired. She lives in Georgia with her husband Brad.

To learn more about the alumni awards program, click here.




in Nature’s Classroom

The ink had barely dried on their final exams last May before three student groups and their professors went in search of new adventures and new learning opportunities in the U.S. and Costa Rica. Cultural experiences and cuisine, breathtaking views and diverse ecosystems awaited travelers. The Experiential Learning program at UPIKE and other study abroad organizations provide support to encourage student engagement and learning outside the classroom and in communities beyond.

The majestic view of the Grand Canyon and other sites in Arizona were unforgettable for Christopher Howell. A biology class about the natural history of the Sonoran Desert inspired the week-long field trip. 22



You never know where a class lecture might lead. For Professor Tim Whittier’s biology students, an impromptu discussion on the Grand Canyon inspired a week-long adventure. Whittier, who taught in Arizona for 10 years, included other locations rich in history and biology. A visit to the Sonoran Desert Museum offered hands-on exhibits and viewing opportunities of plants and animals. Just 15 miles from the Mexican border, students spent three days hiking, exploring Brown Canyon in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. The area is so remote, native jaguars, Coati, ringtails, Gila monsters, and other animals rarely heard of in the U.S., still roam freely. Home to more than 14 hummingbird species (Kentucky has one), students hung feeders during the day to observe. At night, they watched nearby as nectar feeding bats came to the feeders.

a n o z i r A

Gulf Coast

UPIKE students worked their way through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, the panhandle of Florida and Georgia on an intensive 14-day journey to study ornithology and observe wildlife and ecosystems along the Gulf Coast. Taught by Professors Darla French and Mathys Meyer, the fieldbased class focused on bird biology, behavior and identification. With the coastline as their classroom, students put the observation techniques they had learned in class into practice. Several days of camping were built into the trip, along with an introduction to Louisiana’s Cajun culture while birding for two days at Lake Ponchetrain. The last night of camping, students hosted an evening of skits around the campfire that incorporated experiences throughout the semester.

Gulf Coa


Costa Rica What better way to spend part of summer break than in Costa Rica, living “La Pura Vida?” The once-in-a-lifetime adventure had students hiking through the rain forest, zip lining near an active volcano, relaxing in thermal pools and touring coffee and pineapple plantations.

a c i R a t s o C

Led by Professors John Howie and Chandra Massner, the study abroad trip featured classes in intercultural communication and a special topic in psychology, “Ecotherapy with Nature in Mind.” Students volunteered at a women’s recycling cooperative and studied plant nutrition and water conservation with local university professors. While visiting paradise they saw monkeys, snakes, iguanas, crocodiles … and a sloth. FALL 2017 | UPIKE MAGAZINE


Do you remember your first day

on the hill?

Were you homesick? Nervous about classes? Excited to meet your roommate and make new friends? UPIKE’s undergraduate Class of 2021 began their college experience in August. Like generations before, they walked up the infamous 99 steps – together – navigating a well-traveled path that has led many to success. In a ritual known as “The Climb,” students gathered at the base of the stairs for a pep talk and selfies before President Burton Webb and Provost Lori Werth led the class forward. At the top, they were welcomed by the cheers of faculty, staff, family and friends. This new/old rite of passage began last year with the Class of 2020. Once they’ve climbed the 99 steps, freshmen are presented with a commemorative pin in the hope that they’ll wear it on graduation day as a reminder of their journey. From move-in day, to a street fair and ice cream social, welcoming UPIKE’s newest Bears is a campus and community effort. Freshmen settle into their new home with a crash course in “UPIKE 101.” Networking activities, campus tours, and a community service project are also on the agenda. This year, orientation included a few dorm-friendly cooking lessons. Fresh from his appearance on the Food Network’s “Cooks vs. Cons,” UPIKE alumnus Steven Taylor ʼ05, a high school principal and aspiring chef, showed students how to make tasty microwave mac and cheese and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with a clothes iron. UPIKE’s newest Bears also rolled up their sleeves to help others, working on service projects at 33 sites in eight counties. Together, the class completed 950 volunteer hours. Welcoming the new class is only part of the journey. A comprehensive freshman studies program helps students learn about campus resources, good study habits, time management and academic and career planning. A focus on the university’s liberal arts emphasis, cultural and global awareness, personal well-being and life skills development are part of the curriculum.





Like generations before, UPIKE’s undergraduate Class of 2021 began their college experience walking the 99 steps, a well-traveled path that has led many to success. Known as “The Climb,” freshmen are presented with a commemorative pin in the hope that they’ll wear it on graduation day as a reminder of their journey. FALL 2017

Click here for photos from this year’s First Year Experience.




By Stephanie Stiltner ’10 Coordinator of Public Relations

In the moments before the stage lights go up, Kim Willard gathers her theatre students in a circle. It’s opening night, and the moment they’ve been awaiting draws near. “Breathe,” she tells them. “Tell your truth. Fight for what you want. We did something no one believed we could, and we’re going to keep on doing this. I love you guys.” Willard, UPIKE’s assistant professor of theatre, collaborated with Toronto-based playwright Michael Ross Albert on the production, “The Farmers Lit the Fields on Fire,” written especially for students in the theatre minor. “There is no one I trusted more to write something for my kids,” Willard said. “We talked about what would be an ideal piece, simple, clean and including four characters.” “The Farmers Lit the Fields on Fire,” is the story of a young bride who returns to her family’s rural estate for a weekend-long wedding celebration. But when bitter divisions between the bride and her estranged sister threaten to expose dangerous secrets, she learns that sometimes building a new life means setting the past on fire. The students made their international debut at the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland.



“Travel changes students,” said Willard. “Seeing what different places look like, feel like, experiencing a new culture and its food and meeting people from all around the world … that’s what I wanted to show them.” Since UPIKE introduced the theatre minor two years ago, students have performed musicals and dramas to sold-out audiences, worked with professionals from the arts industry, and mastered the technical and creative aspects of stagecraft. But Willard wanted her students to experience more. Months of planning went into the production and students were involved in the creative process from day one. Albert began working with students last winter, conducting interviews by email so he could include their personalities and experiences in the character development process. Later, the students would “Breathe. Tell your truth. video chat with the author for readings. Fight for what you want. Students also enrolled in a summer course structured in rehearsal format. “Rehearsal was minute-tominute as aspects of the show changed quickly. Quick changes, tech, and loading and setting up had to be practiced since the

We did something no one believed we could, and we’re going to keep on doing this.” Kim Willard, Assistant Professor of Theatre

festival scheduled only 15 minutes between shows,” said Willard. “I ran the class like a professional rehearsal.”

anxiously walked the two blocks from the hostel where they were staying to the venue.

UPIKE Theatre performed six shows during their 10 days in Scotland. More than 50,000 performances of 3,000 shows were held on hundreds of stages throughout the capital city. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival accommodates everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, puppets, spoken word, exhibitions and events.

“I was really nervous. The tension amps up the feeling backstage,” said Mackenzie Fraley, of Inez, Ky. “Here we were, from a small-town college, taking the stage in Edinburgh, Scotland. I will always cherish that intensity.”

Surrounded by thousands of performers, the UPIKE theatre students had to make their show stand out.

Performing in the international festival made an impact on all the students and their theatre professor.

UPIKE theatre students made their international debut this summer at the world’s largest arts festival - the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland.

“We spent a lot of time on the streets handing out flyers,” said Sarah Hackworth, of Printer, Ky. “It was hard but it was really fun. Just by trying to recruit audience members for our show we were able to interact with people from around the world.” On opening night, the cast, dressed in their stage costumes, and the crew, with equipment and props in tow,

“The experience made me realize how small we are and how big we can represent ourselves,” said Dylan Martin, of Atlanta, Ga. “It made me become a better person and actor and helped me find my craft.”

The international performance was a collaboration between UPIKE theatre and Jenny Wiley Theatre and was sponsored in part by UPIKE Experiential Learning. “I came to UPIKE as a biology major and took an Appreciation of Theatre class as an elective and it changed my life,” said Hackworth. “Now, this has given me more confidence and has opened so many doors.”

UPIKE’s theatre minor fosters interest in the dramatic arts, both onstage and backstage. Introduced in 2015, the growing program has become popular with students of all majors.



From Professor to Philanthropist Bertee Adkins shares his love of learning

By Lucy Holman ’89 editor


rom the moment you meet him, it doesn’t take long to realize there’s something special about Bertee Adkins. Now in his 80s, his easy manner and warm smile only begin to tell his story of generosity and a life well-lived. Born and raised in Harold, Ky., Adkins enrolled in Pikeville College in 1949 after graduating from Betsy Layne High School. Musically inclined, he wanted to study piano. To help pay tuition, he worked on campus, firing up the boilers early every morning and again in the evening. He earned a little money playing baseball for a local team, but still struggled to get by.

Floyd County, Ky., native Bertee Adkins established an endowed scholarship at the University of Pikeville for undergraduate students. Adkins’ generosity honors his late wife, Retta Faye (Jett) Adkins, and his belief in the power of education to change lives.



Adkins’ desire to go to college didn’t go unnoticed. He struck up a friendship with the owners of a barbershop in town who would help him out from time to time. There was also the bus driver whose route went from Harold to Pikeville. The daily fare was 10 cents round trip, money Adkins didn’t have. Long before dawn he would hitchhike from home so he could tend the college’s boilers by 6 a.m. Adkins still remembers the day the bus driver said, “I’ll stop and open the back door. You get in and sit down.”

It’s been more than 60 years since Bertee Adkins climbed the 99 steps, torn between a hunger to survive and a thirst for knowledge. Now, his generosity is making a difference for others. “I was determined to get an education and they all knew I was in a place where I needed some help,” said Adkins. “They were all trying their best, unbeknownst to anyone else, and I never will forget them.” Despite his resourcefulness and the kindness of strangers, Adkins’ financial situation forced him to put his dream of college on hold. “I would walk up those steps to the college in the morning and be so hungry I’d be dizzy,” he remembers. “I didn’t have a thing, and I didn’t know enough to get anything.” Joining the U.S. Air Force in 1951, Adkins reported for basic training in the midst of the Korean War, beginning a military career that spanned 21 years of distinguished service. “I knew I’d have a better chance in the Air Force,” he said. “All the time I was there I would go to school, even in Korea. In the service, I saw what education would do for you. When I got out I went home proud. From then on, I just concentrated on education.” Adkins earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) and his doctorate from the University of Kentucky. On his right hand he wears an eye-catching class ring, an affirmation of his doctoral journey. In a moment of reflection he adds, “Pikeville College was the basis of that.” After the Air Force, he became a professor at EKU where he taught business for 25 years. His late

wife, Retta Faye, understood her husband’s love of education. During his tenure at EKU she was a mentor to female students, even providing free childcare. Adkins says it was love at first sight, then marriage in a little country church in Floyd County, a mere two months and eight days after the couple first met. Theirs was a love affair that lasted more than 50 years. World travelers, they visited 283 countries together. To honor his wife, Adkins established the Dr. Bertee and Mrs. Retta Faye (Jett) Adkins Endowment Scholarship at the University of Pikeville for undergraduate students, along with scholarships at other schools. It’s been more than 60 years since Adkins climbed the 99 steps, torn between a hunger to survive and a thirst for knowledge. Now, his generosity is making a difference for others. “It does me so much good to help students get their education,” Adkins said. “If you have the right attitude, nobody can keep you from achieving your dreams.” “Help someone else along the way,” he adds. “You will never be sorry about that.” Friends of the Adkins family or the university may contribute to the endowed scholarship. For more information, call (606) 218-5276 or visit



TEAM PITT All-In When it Comes to UPIKE Athletics

By Shannon Howder UPIKE Senior, Class of 2017

Yankee catcher Yogi Berra once said, “Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.” Berra didn’t have Jim and Erica Pitt in mind when he suggested this, but the couple can relate. Jim is head baseball coach at UPIKE and Erica is the head athletic trainer for all university sports. Together, the couple has immersed themselves in service, motivating on the baseball field, taking care of sports injuries on the sidelines and helping students grow as young adults. “Every day is different and exciting in athletic training,” said Erica. “We have a goal to get our students back on the field, but that is not all we care about. We think about how our department can be reflected in the community and how we can truly help our student-athletes make sure they are physically, mentally and spiritually healthy while they’re here.” Building trust and relationships is also important, according to Jim. “If I can connect with a student on a personal level, it is possible to motivate him on the field,” he said.

Instrumental in bringing the first drug testing program to UPIKE, she’s also added a fifth athletic trainer which enables her team to travel with high contact sports, such as men’s and women’s soccer and football. Coming from a larger city in Minnesota, the Pitts enjoy the atmosphere, warmth and support they’ve received in Pikeville. “We are able to have great relationships with our student-athletes at a smaller college,” said Jim. “It is not all about winning, it is about having an impact on the students, which is an advantage that I am able to have coaching here at UPIKE.” For the Pitts, the sense of community and support between the athletic teams embodies the UPIKE spirit. “I think it is so cool that our guys go to the basketball games or the coaches and athletes from the other teams come to support us. Cheering and pulling for each one is what pulls the university together,” said Jim. Being a part of a team goes beyond winning games, Erica adds. “The heart of service that UPIKE invests in its students is not just athletics, but truly caring about what they do with their degrees.”

Now in his third season as head coach, and after four seasons as assistant coach, Jim tallied 27 wins in 2017, the most by UPIKE since the 2001 season and is tied for the fifth most by the program overall. “I take that with great honor; I chuckle because it is so much more than what I have done. There are so many coaches, student coaches and players; I am just the face of it,” he said. “I have been blessed with players and coaches who are disciplined, hard workers on the field and focused on their academics and character off the field. Having the most wins is a testament to everyone else and it is very humbling.” Erica never played a sport in high school or college, but she’s moving the athletic training department in a positive direction. “I was not big into sports before which is rare, but since becoming an athletic trainer my love for sports has grown,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field but I did not know what that looked like. Someone gave me the advice to go into athletic training.” 30


For Jim and Erica Pitt, the sense of community and support they’ve received embodies the UPIKE spirit.

Long journey ahead for Coach’s family in

Puerto Rico

By Dan White Assistant Athletic Director Sports Information Director

Obed Quiles, a 2011 graduate of then-Pikeville College, is in his third season as the head coach of the UPIKE volleyball team. But this year has been different as the native of Naranjito, Puerto Rico, has coached with the disastrous ramifications of Hurricane Maria on his mind. While Quiles has made his home in Kentucky since transferring onto Pikeville’s baseball team in 2007, the majority of his family – including his father Pedro and mother Aida Rodriguez – still live in Puerto Rico. His hometown of Naranjito was one of the heaviest hit areas, losing roadways, bridges and power while also dealing with dangerous mudslides. The hurricane began to form on Sept. 16, reaching its peak four days later, the same day that Quiles was with his team on the way to a match at Rio Grande (Ohio). “Just before the match I had found out part of my sister’s house was damaged and a tree had fallen on her car due to the mudslides,” said Quiles. “I still couldn’t reach my parents and I didn’t know what to expect when I saw the news on my phone. There was talk of the lives lost, so it was a tense time.” In what felt like forever due to major power outages, it took nearly 24 hours for Quiles to finally hear from his mom and dad. “9:08 p.m., I still remember that was the time on Thursday when I finally got to hear that they were okay,” said Quiles. With the threat looming of losing the connection, that call lasted just three minutes. But it was enough time for Quiles to learn that his parents were safe and to relay a message to them from Kentucky.

“I wasn’t able to reach them again for five days, but I was able to tell them I didn’t care about the material things, I just wanted to know that they were safe and that everything was fine with me here,” said Quiles. “I may have been more concerned than I let on, but I didn’t want to add to what they were going through.” In the weeks since the storm dissipated, roads are beginning to clear and his family can now reach the city for food and other necessities, but there is still no power or phone service. Only on those trips into town can Quiles’ parents reach out to him. Local government says those utilities could be restored in six months, but locals think it could be longer. Restoration of buildings will take even more time than that. For now, the people of Puerto Rico are relying on generators and solar panels for just enough power to get by. It’s going to be a long journey for Quiles as he continues to check in on family, but he knows he has a job to do as well. “Volleyball is a good distraction when it comes to teaching and games, but at the same time it’s hard to prepare between watching the news and seeing how it isn’t the same Puerto Rico I remember,” said Quiles. The people of Puerto Rico are always aware of hurricane season, but no one could have dreamed up a storm of this magnitude. Still, Quiles wants his team to know everything will be all right. “Part of my job is showing the team that I’m all right and I want them to know they don’t need to worry,” said Quiles. “We will continue to compete at the highest level possible, just like the resilience of the people in my hometown. We will pick each other back up.” FALL 2017 | UPIKE MAGAZINE


Class Notes Roger Ratliff ʼ61 retired from Thomson Publishing in San Antonio, Texas. He began his career in college textbook publishing in 1962. Ratliff volunteers at Pikeville Medical Center where he has completed more than 2,000 hours of service. He also visits local nursing homes and is an active member of the Sons of American Revolution.

Linda Smith ʼ68 graduated from Pikeville College with a degree in elementary education. After college, she taught on a Navajo Indian reservation in New Mexico. Smith and her husband, David, have three children and five grandchildren. She lives in New Middletown, Ohio, loves to garden during the spring and summer and is an avid knitter of purses and baby items. Smith is the author of the children’s book, “Andy Finds a Friend.” The book was illustrated by Avery Elise who is the granddaughter of the late Sun Chia-Chin, an accomplished traditional Chinese ink painting artist. The book brings to life a story Smith made up for her oldest daughter at nap-time. The story is something of a family treasure for Smith’s other children and grandchildren.


Gene D. Davis ʼ63 of Banner, Ky., was elected to serve as president of the Big Sandy District of retired teachers, including Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin and Lawrence counties. Davis retired from Floyd County Schools.



Patricia Hall ʼ72 was honored as a Distinguished Alumna by her alma mater, Pikeville High School, in Pikeville, Ky. Hall has enjoyed a 30-year career in radio broadcasting, including on-air, sales and management. Hall was the first female to serve as president of the Pikeville Kiwanis Club in 1991-92, and was the first female Lt. Governor for Division Eight of the Kentucky-Tennessee District Kiwanis Club in 1993-94. She has also served in several leadership positions, locally and nationally, with the Boy Scouts of America, attaining the 2010 District Award of Merit, Blue Grass Council 2012 Citizen of the Year and Pike County Friends of Scouting.


Q&A with

Christopher Epling ’02 He’s an award-winning artist, illustrator, teacher, writer, publisher and podcast host. Endlessly creative, Christopher Epling ’02, is just as passionate about the work he has yet to do. A U.S. Army veteran who spent time in Iraq, Epling thought about teaching after coming home. Sadly, he lost his mother to pancreatic cancer and his brother suddenly passed away from an aneurysm. The loss of his loved ones, about a year apart, made him realize how fragile and short life can be. Epling began working professionally as an illustrator of children’s books in 2010. His comic strips and editorial cartoons have been syndicated in newspapers in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. He currently serves as art director at the St. Francis of Assisi School in Pikeville and the Challenger Learning Center in Hazard, Ky. Epling also leads the Kentucky Valley Educational Co-op’s (KVEC) “Virtual Art Gallery Workshop.”

How would you describe your work? I spoke to faculty and students at a college in Virginia about this very question. The analogy I used was a table. To sustain a living in the arts and not live within a large city means that one has to provide services within many different markets. Providing services to the publishing industry such as illustrations, print-ready pages, layout and design, is just one of the legs to the table. Working as a teacher within KVEC and other school districts is another. Providing services for businesses looking to upgrade their branding/logo is part of my work, as well as serving as the editorial cartoonist for several regional newspapers. Combining education, art, publishing, writing and design all help to keep the table steady. Maybe “artist” is the best way to go.

What are some of your favorite projects?

I’ve been very lucky to work with some amazing publishers and authors since 2010-14 books and many magazine and newspaper publications. I’ve never really had a bad experience. My love is the illustration/comics part of my work. Some of my favorite projects have

been for Hidden Wolf Books in St. Augustine, Fla. I illustrated a book titled “The Rocket Ship Bed Trip” by N. Jane Quakenbush. Another project that stands out is Bruce Parsons’ book titled “Mockingbirds,” the first full graphic novel that I’ve worked on. If I could, I would work in this medium all the time.

You can’t be anonymous when you draw cartoons for newspapers where you live. Is that challenging? Editorial cartooning can be very influential. I’m not sure if any of mine are, or have been, but I can think of a couple of instances where I’ve wondered. When I worked for the Kentucky Kernel and North of Center (Lexington, Ky.), I held nothing back. No one really knew me. I could say whatever I wanted. Now, it’s a little different. One has to be sensitive. My biggest lesson learned with editorial cartooning is that we don’t always have to be making an impactful cartoon focusing on a social issue, or a problem in the community. It’s okay to recognize the positive, too.

How do you define the UPIKE spirit? For me, the spirit of UPIKE was implanted during those early years. I define it as humbleness, courage,

honesty, compassion and the drive to make the world, starting with our region, a better place.

How do you generate new ideas?

The best part about working in the publishing industry is that you never know what is going to come your way next. I’ve worked on everything from books about birds, to a book about a salamander, pirates, pigs, polliwogs and parrots. I take a manuscript and turn those words into a drawing or graphic. There’s always a blank page waiting. Ideas come from everywhere. They could come from a trip to the grocery or while doing laundry. This is why I always, and really mean always, carry a sketchbook wherever I go.

Why did you start a podcast?

I love podcasts. My podcast is called Monk Media. It focuses on artists in our region who are dedicated to making a living through their work. I’ve interviewed individuals from different professions – a tattoo artist, website designers, comic book creators, journalists/ authors, table-top game designers, etc. I love to learn how others have “made it” using their work. My hope is that students will listen to the podcast and realize there are many opportunities to have a career doing what they like, even right here in Eastern Kentucky. FALL 2017 | UPIKE MAGAZINE


Steven Taylor ’05

Steven Taylor ʼ05 recently appeared on the Food Network’s “Cooks Vs. Cons,” after his wife, Brooke ʼ05, encouraged him to audition for the show. In an interview with WYMT-TV, Taylor said he learned to cook from his mother and grandmother. He was eliminated after the first round, an episode in which he was asked to make biscuits and gravy and incorporate the secret ingredient – berries. A principal in Pike County Schools, he hopes his Food Network experience will inspire others. In August, he hosted cooking classes for UPIKE freshmen.

Michael Cantor, D.O., FSCAI, KYCOM ʼ02 has joined Core Cardiology in Exeter, N.H., as an interventional cardiologist. He will provide care for patients in the office and Exeter Hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab, including performing angioplasty and implanting pacemakers. Cantor completed his residency at St. Luke’s Hospital, Bethlehem, Pa., and his fellowships in cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology at Plaza Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Cantor is board certified in cardiovascular disease, interventional cardiology and nuclear cardiology.

2000s Bryan Wills ʼ76 and his wife, Ginger, reside in Virginia Beach, Va., where he recently retired as the director of bands at Virginia Beach City Public schools. Wills was named teacher of the year in 2017 for First Colonial High school. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1998 as a chief warrant officer in the Army Band program. During his 22-year career, Wills served at numerous posts in the U.S. and overseas, including participating in the first Gulf War. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal. Scott Collins ʼ94 was named head coach of the Rowan County Senior High School Vikings in Morehead, Ky. A Rowan County native and former Viking, Collins previously served as the team’s assistant coach for six years. In the spring, the team won their region championship for the first time since 1983. He and his wife, Diana, have two children.




Autumn Fleming Newsome ʼ06 is a special education teacher at Cowan Elementary School in Whitesburg, Ky. Newsome graduated from Pikeville College with a degree in communication. She and her husband, Devin, reside in Jenkins, Ky. Kristi Tackett, D.O., is a family medicine physician at Pikeville Medical Center in Pikeville, Ky. She is a 2008 graduate of Pikeville College and a 2014 graduate of the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. Board certified in family medicine by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians, the Pikeville native completed her residency at PMC’s family practice clinic. She and her husband, Ryan, have a son and a daughter.

Theresa Case, D.O., KYCOM ʼ11 has joined the Baptist Medical Group Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in Lexington, Ky. She is a member of the American College of Chest Physicians, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, and the American Thoracic Society.


Stephen Wiseman, D.O., KYCOM ʼ11 is completing a one-year clinical fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, in shoulder/ elbow reconstruction. After the fellowship, he will return home to Columbus, Ohio, to start a practice as a shoulder, elbow and sports medicine specialist with Ohio Health Orthopedic Surgeons. Matthew Bauer, D.O., KYCOM ʼ12 has joined Middletown Infectious Disease Associates in Middletown, Ohio. Bauer completed his residency in internal medicine through Wright State University and a fellowship in infectious diseases from The Ohio State University.

Brenda J. Baker, M.D., ʼ86 has joined Bellefonte Primary Care Cannonsburg in Ashland, Ky., which is operated by Bellefonte Physician Services. Baker is a graduate of the Marshall University School of Medicine and earned her undergraduate degree from Pikeville College. Baker is certified by the American Board of Family Physicians and is a member of the American Board of Family Medicine. Garred Ross Cline, D.O., KYCOM ʼ14 has joined Pikeville Medical Center as a hospitalist. Cline, a native of Eastern Kentucky, is married to Jessica Cline. The couple have two children, Aria and Jackson. Blayne E. Battisto, D.O., KYCOM ʼ14 is part of the pediatric care team at Northwest Arkansas pediatrics in Fayetteville and Lowell. She completed her pediatric residency at University of Arkansas for Medical Science (UAMS), Little Rock. Battisto is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, board eligible for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a Chairman’s Scholar from UAMS.

Your news is important to us.

We want to hear the latest on your business ventures, career moves, honors, awards and family news. Click here to add your news to the next issue’s class notes. Submit by February 28, 2018, for the spring 2018 issue of UPIKE Magazine.

From Pikeville College to CEO Many Great Things Have Unexpected Beginnings

Kyle Sineath graduated in 2007, but each time he sees UPIKE’s 99 steps it still triggers deep emotions. “They’re the definition of adversity … uneven, long, small, wide, narrow, short and dangerous, but when I look up at ‘The 99,’ they’re the most beautiful steps I’ve ever seen,” said Sineath. “For me, each visit I make to Pikeville I walk these stairs, not for my emotional gain, not for physical gain, but because those 99 steps are the symbolic journey of life, and my time here at UPIKE has taught me to overcome adversity.” His take on the iconic landmark struck a familiar chord with those who’d gathered for the Coleman College of Business Speakers and Leadership Series Oct. 11. As guest speaker, Sineath reminisced about the friends, faculty and coaches who helped shape his college experience. He encouraged students to seek out trusted advisors and mentors and have the patience and passion to become entrepreneurs. Sineath is CEO and president of Paxeon Reconstruction in Collierville, Tenn. The company builds best-in-class orthopaedic products, including derivative and emerging products. In 2011, he sold his first start-up company focused on stem cell technologies to Redken Cosmetics. From 2012 to 2015, his leadership guided NuTech Medical from $12 million to $40 million annually, which was acquired for $86 million. Sineath earned degrees in criminal justice and sociology from Pikeville College and an MBA from Jacksonville University. As an undergraduate student-athlete, he played football, soccer and tennis. “In a sense, those 99 steps represent all of us today,” said Sineath. “We’re all different, all from different backgrounds, different talents, different strengths, and different weaknesses. But together in UPIKE Black and Orange – in all our shapes and heights – we form the 99 steps that lead to our university. We form the symbol of opportunity.”



Amanda Jo Slone ’07

Amanda Jo Slone ’07 once described a literary community as a family of sorts, one that fosters a love of reading, supports literacy and offers people a place to share their love of books or even develop a new love of books. Whether she’s teaching, organizing literary events like World Book Night, or writing her own short stories and essays, Slone is determined to keep the conversation going about the power of story. An assistant professor of English at UPIKE, Slone is co-teaching a course on Appalachian Murder Ballads. She also serves as an editor of The Pikeville Review, a journal of contemporary Appalachian literature written by established and emerging writers and published by the university’s Division of Humanities. Slone’s short story, “Marrowbone,” was published in the summer issue of Still: The Journal. Her essay “A Village of Books” was published on the Shadeland Modern Press website. The Press also commissioned her to write the reader’s guide for Richard Underwood’s “CrimeSong.”


Pikeville Review A Journal of Contemporary Appalachian Literature

Spring 2017

Follow The Pikeville Review on Twitter @PikevilleReview and

Distinguished Educators Hall of Fame The University of Pikeville welcomed nine individuals into the Distinguished Educators Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony on campus. The Distinguished Educators Hall of Fame was established in 2010 to honor those whose contributions to learning have inspired generations of students and made a significant impact in the field of education. This year’s inductees include, from left, Cheryl Fain ’97 of Virgie, Lisa Tackett of Hi Hat, Ricky Thacker ’07 of Pikeville, Leah Turner of Floyd County, Derena Coleman ’99 of Pikeville, Brenda Maynard ’73 of Richmond, Janice Hall of Hi Hat, and Shella Damron ’72 of Pikeville. Not pictured Tammie Combs ’88 of Whitesburg. 36


Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage PAID Birmingham, AL Permit No. 585

147 Sycamore Street Pikeville, KY 41501


Mark your calendars to join us at the next alumni event in your area. Enjoy reminiscing with local alumni and learn more about the exciting changes on the university’s campus.

December 19

February 27

March 20


UPIKE Night at Jenny Wiley Theatre Pikeville, Ky.

Alumni Reception Hazard, Ky.

Alumni Dinner Huntington, W.Va. and Ashland, Ky.

Alumni Dinner Knoxville, Tenn.

Stay up-to-date on the latest alumni news and events. Subscribe to our monthly enewsletter at and follow UPIKE Alumni on Facebook.

UPIKE Magazine Fall 2017