My love of Eastern Kentucky University runs long and deep.
In 1967, I graduated with an M.A. in History in the first class after the school was granted university status the previous year. Eastern redirected my life and the faculty encouraged me to continue my graduate studies. I was granted a Ph.D. in history from the University of Kentucky in 1974.
After three years of teaching at Lees Junior College I came back to teach at EKU in 1970, eventually retiring after 29 years in 1999.
The University Press of Kentucky published my history of EKU in 2005 and “A History of Education in Kentucky” in 2011.
I have developed rather strong, and I think well-grounded thoughts, about what faces Kentucky higher education in the future.
The days of boundless growth, such as in the post World War II years through the early 1970s are gone.
Eastern has settled into a 16,000 or so enrollment. Unless, the General Assembly develops the backbone to push higher education to new levels in Kentucky, there will not be much growth if any in the coming years.
Perhaps improved educational standards will help by preparing more Kentucky high school graduates for college. However, even that is problematical.
If Eastern wants to keep its high standards, maintain a fine faculty and appeal to not only Kentucky students but to those in other states and abroad, I agree with the current administration that “branding” is of utmost importance.
With all my years of experience as a teacher, historian, and participant in the Eastern community, I offer this suggestion. The time has come to drop the “Colonel” as Eastern’s mascot/logo.
Eastern’s original nickname was “the Maroons,” which was changed in the 1960s at the insistence of President Robert R. Martin. Centre College had had that same designation since the early 20th century.
The Colonel mascot was anachronistic even when it was chosen and is even more out-dated in the early 21st century. Even the modern redesign of the Colonel logo a few years ago is of no help in separating Eastern Kentucky University from a bygone era.
Is EKU now going to join the 21st century as a modern, forward-looking university? It has already in so many ways. It’s undergraduate and graduate programs are nationally ranked. Why don’t we say goodbye to the old Colonel and get a new branding what will have a wider appeal?
My love of Eastern Kentucky University runs long and deep.
Starting over at Head Start
All I ever wanted to be was a journalist. Having worked on my high school and college newspapers, I knew it was the career for me.
I love talking to people, listening to their stories, being creative every day and experiencing new things. But as you know, news happens outside the hours of 9 to 5, and my job here at the Register rarely stayed within that time frame.
They don’t make strawberries as they did back in the old days
I’m not inclined to go through my archives at the moment, but it almost feels like the column I’m about to write has almost become an annual thing over the years.
At least I know for sure that that this is not the first time that memories of picking strawberries there on Blair Branch on hot days in June has triggered this keyboard about this time of year.
I grew up on a little subsistence, hillside farm deep in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, among the coalfields near the Virginia line.
Baby boomers have let technology rob their grandchildren of the joys of youth
When I was growing up, it was not uncommon to see fathers and sons along creek banks fishing together or in the woods hunting squirrels or pitching horse shoes or even shooting marbles late in the afternoon in the cool hours before dark.
Dads were teaching kids to play the games they grew up with. Little girls, learned from mothers,how to skip rope, play with jacks or play hopscotch.
No Lincoln or Douglas in this debate
Remember the famous slap-down in the 1988 vice presidential debate when Republican Dan Quayle compared his youth and limited government experience to those of John Kennedy’s when Kennedy ran for president?
His Democratic opponent, Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, acidly replied: “I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
Senate campaign already in full bloom
Any hope for a respite in the U.S. Senate campaign following Tuesday’s primary disappeared immediately.
Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes came out swinging in victory speeches which sounded like campaign kickoffs.
McConnell commended Matt Bevin on “a tough (primary) race” and appealed to Bevin supporters to unite behind his re-election bid. That will be hard for Bevin and those who backed him.
‘Taxpayer-eaters’ meet ‘self-serving politician-eaters’
What some candidates could gain in this year’s election – beyond just winning office – is a stark reminder of how wrong political leaders were when declaring last year they had adequately addressed Kentucky’s public-pension crisis.
Instead, legislators with serious courage deficiencies failed to agree on reforms beyond what they believe are “politically feasible.”
Step Out, Step up for Diabetes Association
Six weeks ago when I wrote here announcing the 2014 Edition of Team TKO’s American Diabetes Association, Step Out Walk Team, several dozen of you readers sent generous donations to sponsor grandson Tyler Kane Ochs (TKO) and me in the walk that takes place, rain or shine, in the mud or not, at Keeneland on the morning of May 31.
Another several dozen of you either called, emailed or dropped a card in regular mail and asked that I remind you again “after the holidays” (Easter and Mother’s Day).
Hitting the campaign trail
The most watched race in the country ? the battle for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Mitch McConnell ? has so far produced a bevy of charges and not much substance.
We haven’t seen that much of McConnell or his likely Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes out on the campaign trail.
McConnell’s primary opponent Matt Bevin has been much more active and visible, but his performance hasn’t enhanced his chances.
The case of the scary black cat
If Margie didn’t believe that black cats were the harbinger of bad luck, she certainly believed it when a black cat brushed against her leg while she was leaning over a large trash can burning garbage one late afternoon.
Startled by the sudden appearance of the feline, Margie opened her mouth wide and let out a blood-curdling scream that could have awakened Count Dracula himself.
Basking in the spring sunshine
If you had asked me, as recently as two weeks ago, to make a list of things I expected to see on the first Monday in May of 2014, two of the things that I actually did see would not have been on the list, even if you’d required that it contain at least 500 items.
I’d have been a bit skeptical about Ralph’s purple asparagus and his gorgeous snowball bush, both of which came through most admirably. And I would have had my doubts about the poppies that have been in our back yard for several generations and the bearded German Iris that Jeanette Todd gave us more than two decades ago. It faithfully stuns us there at the corner of the front porch every spring, but there they were, basking in absolute glory as the sun set Monday afternoon.
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