PIKEVILLE – The University of Pikeville will honor the academic achievements of students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Coleman College of Business and the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine on Saturday, May 17.
The medical school commencement begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center in Pikeville. The commencement for the College of Arts and Sciences and the Coleman College of Business will be held at 2 p.m., also at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center. Graduates of the Elizabeth Akers Elliott Nursing Program will be honored during a pinning ceremony on Thursday, May 15, at 7 p.m. in Booth Auditorium, located in Record Memorial Building. A commissioning ceremony for students in the university’s ROTC program will be held on Friday, May 16, at 6 p.m. in Booth Auditorium.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear will be the keynote speaker for both commencements and will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.
“We are honored and excited to have Governor Beshear as our 2014 commencement speaker,” said Dr. James Hurley, University of Pikeville president. “Governor Beshear has taken an active role in creating economic and educational opportunities for Eastern Kentucky. Furthermore, he understands and supports the value and importance of the University of Pikeville to our region.”
Elected to serve as Kentucky’s governor in 2007 and re-elected in 2011, Beshear’s vision for Kentucky’s success has been guided by three critical goals: to restore ethics and efficiency to government operations; to attract and maintain jobs in the commonwealth; and to increase the quality of life of families – through better education, job training and health care access.
A leader in job creation, Kentucky ranked second in the nation for export growth in the first half of 2013. In 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked Kentucky second in the nation for job growth rate over the prior year. Additionally, 47,000 jobs were created in the commonwealth from 2011 to 2012.
Kentucky also ranks third in the nation in mid-year auto production numbers, trailing only Ohio and Michigan as a top vehicle-producing state, an automotive industry that today comprises more than 450 motor vehicle-related facilities across the state, including four major assembly plants.
Kentucky is also a national leader in education reform, becoming the first state in the nation to adopt the Common Core Standards. The governor and First Lady Jane Beshear spearheaded a successful push to raise Kentucky’s dropout age from 16 to 18. With initiatives spanning from early childhood and kindergarten to college and career readiness, Beshear has demonstrated a commitment to improving education for all Kentuckians.
Health care has also been at the forefront of Beshear’s administration. In 2013, he announced the inclusion of 308,000 more Kentuckians in the federal Medicaid health insurance program and launched the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange. The Medicaid expansion, together with the creation of the exchange, will ensure that, for the first time in history, every Kentuckian will have access to affordable health insurance. So far, more than 300,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in affordable health care through kynect, the state’s nationally recognized health care exchange.
An attorney by profession, Beshear has a distinguished background in public service, having served as a state representative in the Kentucky General Assembly, attorney general and lieutenant governor prior to being elected governor. A native of Dawson Springs in Hopkins County, in western Kentucky, he holds a bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Kentucky and served in the U.S. Army Reserve. He and his wife, Jane, have been married since 1969. They have two sons and three grandchildren.
For more information about commencement week events at the University of Pikeville, call (606) 218-5270.