PRESTONSBURG – This award was “For Bill.”
Tammy Ball, LCSW, professor of human services, and the late Dr. Bill Loftus were recognized with the coveted Great Teacher Award during a commencement ceremony on Friday, May 6 at the Mountain Arts Center.
Dr. Tom Vierheller, professor of biology, accepted the award on behalf of Loftus’ wife, Teresa, who was in the audience.
“I have never been more honored than to stand before you tonight in honor of my friend, Dr. Bill Loftus,” said Dr. Vierheller.
Dr. Loftus, 64, passed away on March 21. He spent 26 years as a professor of psychology at Big Sandy Community and Technical College.
Dr. Loftus spent more than 20 years as BSCTC’s Phi Theta Kappa advisor. Earlier this year, he was recognized as Advisor Emeritus by Phi Theta Kappa at its annual conference in Baltimore, Md. He was also a member of the college’s community garden project and active in many organizations, including the Fishes and Loaves food pantry at St. James Episcopal Church.
Ball, who won the award for the second consecutive year, started as an adjunct faculty member at the college under Dr. Loftus and he was instrumental in her being hired as a full-time instructor in 2000.
“Bill would often look at me and say, ‘I picked you. Don’t let me down,’” said Ball.
She encouraged students to follow Dr. Loftus’ passion for humanity and “live your life in radical amazement… get up in the morning and look at the world in a way where you take nothing for granted. Can you see that everything is phenomenal, spiritual, and amazing? We are all just walking each other home.”
Ball then asked those in the crowd, anyone who was taught by Dr. Loftus or the recipient of a kind gesture or even a meal to stand. She then spoke to his wife, Teresa, and said, “If you look around the room, you can see just a small part of Bill’s legacy that will carry on and never be forgotten.”
Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of BSCTC, said it was fitting that Dr. Loftus earned the Great Teacher Award, as well as Ball, who was mentored by Dr. Loftus.
“Dr. Loftus’ commitment to students and goodwill was unwavering,” said Dr. Stephenson. “I see that same commitment from Tammy [Ball] and all of our faculty.”