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Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Ford, Crosby to speak at Pikeville College

PIKEVILLE – Two distinguished individuals, recognized for their significant contributions in government and medicine, will be the keynote speakers at Pikeville College’s commencement exercises Saturday, May 10. The College will honor the academic achievements of its 143 undergraduate degree candidates at 2 p.m. at the College Gymnasium in Pikeville. On Saturday evening, commencement exercises will be held at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg for the 53 new physicians who will be the third class to graduate from Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine.



Retired United States Senator Wendell H. Ford will deliver the undergraduate commencement address and also receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Ford spent more than a quarter of a century in the United States Senate before retiring in 1999. He was elected to that office in 1974 and made history by becoming the state’s longest serving U.S. Senator. Before his retirement, he was the Democratic whip for nearly a decade.

He began his political career as a Kentucky State Senator in 1965 and was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1967. Four years later, he became Kentucky’s 49th Governor. As a Senator, Ford was known for his support of Kentucky farmers and the agricultural industry. He was also a national leader on energy, aviation, and federal election reform, shaping major legislation in these areas, including the National Voter Registration Act, The Family and Medical Leave Act and a number of national energy and aviation bills.

The College will also be presenting honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees to Alex E. Booth Jr. and Walter E. May.

Booth has distinguished himself in business through a long and successful career in the coal industry. His family is well known in Wayne County, W.Va., the community where Booth grew up. His father, Alex Booth Sr., was a successful businessman. His mother, Roxanna Booth, was a teacher. As a family, the Booths were among the most philanthropic people in the region.

Alex Booth’s vision and generosity have enabled Pikeville College to develop the Booth Scholars Program and the Booth Teacher Training Initiative, endeavors that enhance learning and meet the challenges of an increasingly technological society. The Booth Scholars Program assists students from Wayne County, W.Va., Pike County, Ky., and Buchanan County, Va., by providing academically promising eighth graders with opportunities and activities to advance their higher education goals throughout their high school years. The Booth Teacher Training Initiative was developed to prepare the College’s teacher education graduates for the effective use of technology, delivering state-of-the-art teaching and learning opportunities and professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers.

Walter E. May, who is also being honored, is president of East Kentucky Broadcasting, a company which owns several radio stations in Pike County. May has been active in many community and civic endeavors. Most notably, he was elected mayor of Pikeville in 1989. A longtime member of the Pikeville College family, May attended the Training School, the Academy, and later the College. Beyond the classroom, he previously served on the College’s Board of Trustees for 20 years and was chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1989-90.

Since 1990, May has been chairman of Pikeville Methodist Hospital’s Board of Directors. His membership on the board has spanned nearly four decades, several years of which he was the hospital’s chief executive officer. Under his leadership, Pikeville Methodist Hospital has experienced tremendous growth, including the opening of the Leonard Lawson Cancer Center, a pediatric intensive care unit, and the multi-million dollar expansion that has enabled the hospital, among other things, to provide cardiac care services for the region.

School of Osteopathic


The medical school’s commencement address will be delivered by John Crosby, J.D., executive director of the American Osteopathic Association. During his tenure, Crosby has been an ambassador for the organization, advancing the AOA’s commitment to improving patient care, medical education, and the principals and practices of osteopathic medicine.

Prior to joining the AOA, he spent six years at the American Medical Association as senior vice president for health policy. He practiced law at a St. Louis law firm and later spent several years working as the administrative assistant to U.S. Representative Richard A. Gephardt (D-MO) in Washington, D.C. In 1982, Crosby joined Project HOPE in Millwood, Va., as senior vice president of its domestic division where he directed the Center for Health Information, a “think tank” on health care and insurance issues affecting both public and private sectors. Crosby has been on the board of directors of the Chicago Health Policy Research Council and the Health Care Quality Alliance in Washington, D.C. since 1993.

Crosby joins J.W. Hammons, D.O., in receiving honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from the college.

Dr. Hammons has practiced medicine in Lexington, Ky., for nearly half a century. Following his graduation from the Chicago School of Osteopathy in 1958, he was one of only four black physicians practicing in Lexington.

Dr. Hammons became a member of the Kentucky Medical Association and the Fayette County Medical Society in Lexington in 1968. He was also the first doctor of osteopathic medicine to become a member of any medical society affiliated with the American Medical Association. He is a past president of the Blue Grass Medical Society and has served as a medical advisor to Planned Parenthood and the Central Kentucky Chapter of the American Association of Medical Assistants. He has been an advocate for medical assistants, inviting students to train in his practice since 1968.

At age 76, Dr. Hammons continues to see patients in his busy medical office and spends three afternoons each week working for the student health service at his alma mater, Kentucky State University. Throughout the years, his dedication and determination have earned him the gratitude and admiration of his patients and he is a role model for the medical community.

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