PIKEVILLE—The University of Pikeville celebrated the inauguration of its new president last week, who not only is an alumnus of the school, but also a native of Perry County.
Dr. James Hurley officially entered the position of president in July, following in the footsteps of former Gov. Paul Patton. Hurley, who grew up in Chavies and graduated from the county school system, told the Herald in July that his education in Perry County played a significant role in not only his career success, but on his emphasis as an educator. He began his career as a high school basketball coach before becoming a principal and working his way upward.
“My learning experiences at Chavies, Buckhorn, and M. C. Napier have really paved that way to success, and all the educators that I was taught by helped me get to where I am today,” he said.
Hurley was formally installed as UPike’s 20th president during a ceremony at the college on Friday. He is the first alumnus to take the position, a fact noted in a recent op-ed he penned prior to last week’s inauguration.
“Established in 1889 by Presbyterian ministers, their mission was to educate the youth of the mountains,” Hurley wrote of UPike’s beginnings. “I am honored to be the first alumnus to lead my alma mater. As a first generation college graduate and a native of Eastern Kentucky, I am living the promise of the founders.”
As president, Hurley noted he will spend a lot of time promoting the school across the state and nation while also cultivating relationships with the school’s 13,000 alumni. But his most important role will be to ensure UPike’s students are given the tools they need to succeed in life beyond college.
“The moment a student becomes part of the UPIKE family, our goal is to give them a good start, fostering their growth from the first-year experience to graduation day,” he wrote.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from Pikeville College, Hurley went on to earn his master’s degree in education leadership from Indiana University. He obtained his doctorate in higher education and leadership at Morehead State University. His wife, Tina, is also a Pikeville graduate.