Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 25, 2013

75 years of higher learning

Community college hosts anniversary celebration

Mike James
The Independent

COALTON — It’s been 57 years since Jim McKee got his diploma at Ashland Junior College and he still remembers his favorite professors.

There was Libby Ann Walthall, who taught biology, and Lee Wolfard, his business instructor, who to McKee was the epitome of a college professor — erect posture, silver hair, set jaw — “he looked like a professor should look,” McKee said Thursday, just before a fundraiser for the Community and Technical Foundation of Ashland.

It is that level of attachment that drew more than 170 faculty, staff and alumni to Ashland Community and Technical College’s EastPark campus to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the college and, not incidentally, swell the foundation’s coffers.

“I never regretted it. It was a small student body, a place where you knew most people by their first names, a good study environment with good instructors,” said McKee, who went on to the University of Kentucky and then to a career in the oil industry and retired as president of Allied Oil Co., a division of Ashland Oil.

Attendees viewed video testimonials from a cross-section of alumni and others, including past presidents Tony Newberry, Angeline Godwin (formerly Dvorak), Charles “Chick” Dassance and Gregory Adkins.

“It’s the 75th anniversary of both Ashland Junior College and Ashland Technical College, which both started in 1938, although separately,” said dean of resource development and external affairs Larry Ferguson. “For many students ACTC has been life-changing, both professionally and personally.”

The event brought in money for scholarships and other foundation initiatives, he said.

Besides that, it brought together multiple generations of alumni. When President Kay Adkins asked for a show of hands, about 75 percent of attendees indicated they’d attended the college.

Among them was Louise Taylor, who attended in 1944 and 1945, on a full scholarship that was worth $25 per semester.

Taylor went on to Marshall University, became a schoolteacher in the Ashland system and eventually taught math to a number of the night’s attendees at Charles Russell Elementary, Coles Junior High and Paul Blazer High School.

Staff videographer Roger Hagley and public relations director John McGlone interviewed Taylor and others on camera. Their memories and reflections will go into college archives and some may be edited into future promotional videos.

The 26-minute 75th anniversary video shown during the event will be posted to Youtube, McGlone said.

Foundation president Robert Maher revealed the next fundraising project, which will be a commemorative brick drive. The project is still in the planning stages but the bricks will be installed in a location between the Goodpaster Building and the main classroom building.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.