July 20, 2017
 
Dear UPIKE Parent or Guardian,
 
For me, every day starts the same. It is 5:30 in the morning and I have 65 pounds of Australian Shepherd sitting on my chest, looking closely at my face to determine whether it is time to go. I am convinced that Indy can tell time because the power failed once and he slept in. The reason he is so punctual is that each day I get up early to take he and our other dog, Raven, out for their morning run. Some days we run with our university Provost and her dog, but other days we just make a few laps around campus.
 
As I run past our residence halls and academic buildings I notice the changes that are taking place on nearly every corner of our hilltop campus. Record Memorial has been painted top to bottom, there is new furniture in classrooms and some residence halls, and the nursing program is preparing to move to temporary digs in the CTC while we redo their space. The plaza is now open from the Derriana to Allara and, given the slope of the hill, I am guessing there will be races of some kind.
 
Even with everything that we have done over the last two years, nothing is gathering as much excitement as these three little words, Chick-fil-A. Yes, the food court will be finished this summer and will have an Einstein Bros. Bagels along with a P.O.D. Market for quick-purchase items. Chick-fil-A will be there, too, and we have made some changes to the meal plan to accommodate students and others who love sweet fried chicken and waffle fries. 
 
There are behind-the-scenes changes taking place as well. We will begin phasing in a new Learning Management System this fall. Canvas is more user friendly and robust than Joule was and we believe it will enable our faculty members to be even more proactive and responsive to the needs of our students. We have a new Dean of Student Success, Dr. Mathys Meyer, and a new Dean of Nursing, Dr. Karen Damron. We will start our first cohort of fully online students in the new RN-BSN program and our second class of optometry students. This fall, our first class of archers will join the athletic department.
 
This time of year, the sun rises during my run and casts a beautiful glow on the University of Pikeville. It is an amazing sight to behold, but I prefer the fall. It’s not because the mountains are covered in an array of yellow, red, and brown. No, for me it is the arrival of 2,000 students dressed in orange, black, grey, and white. The beauty held in possibility and potential are far more compelling than even the fall foliage. 
 
So, as you plan the last days of your summer, remember that fall is coming and with it the return of students to the University of Pikeville. It is a migration unparalleled in these hills as it brings young minds together with those whose calling is to form them, to fill them, and to send them back home with hearts bent toward service.
 
Thank you for choosing UPIKE.
 
Striving to serve,
 
 
Burton and Kay Webb
UPIKE President and First Lady

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