PIKEVILLE – “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop and look fear in the face … we must do that which we think we cannot.”
Humanitarian, civic leader and perhaps one of the most influential women of the 20th Century, Eleanor Roosevelt was a role model for generations, leaving behind this and other pearls of wisdom that still inspire today.
Celebrate Women’s History Month and the achievements of women with the University of Pikeville. The campus and community are invited to a roundtable discussion, “Women’s Inspiration, Meaningful Innovation,” on Tuesday, March 26. Distinguished panelists include Former Kentucky First Lady Judi Patton, Rep. Leslie Combs, Judge Sara Combs and Josephine Richardson. The discussion will be moderated by Brigitte LaPresto, Ph.D., professor of English and chair of the Division of Humanities. The community will have an opportunity to talk with participants during a pre-ception at 6 p.m. The roundtable will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a question-and-answer session following.
Judi Patton spent her eight-year tenure as first lady fighting issues important to women and children, their safety, health and welfare. She established the Office of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence and worked tirelessly with state agencies, judges, law enforcement officers, health officials and legislators to ensure proper treatment of sexual assault victims as well as physically and mentally abused women and children. Patton serves on the board of Judi’s Place for Kids in Pikeville, one of the 15 children’s advocacy centers enacted into law during her tenure. “I am the daughter of a social worker,” she often says as she attributes her work with women and children as a continuance of her mother’s legacy.
State Rep. Leslie Combs serves the 94th District of Harlan, Letcher and Pike counties and embodies the strong ethical and family values of her constituency. She serves as chair of the budget review subcommittee on transportation, vice chair on the transportation committee, and is a member of the education, state government, tourism development and energy and veterans, military affairs and public safety committees. Before her public service, Combs spent 23 years as an administrator at UPIKE. In 2012, along with House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Combs was instrumental in establishing the Kentucky Coal County College Completion Scholarship (K4C$) which provides more than $4 million in coal severance funds for eligible students in nine major coal-producing counties of Southeastern Kentucky.
Judge Sara W. Combs was the first woman and the first judge from the Eastern Kentucky counties of the 7th Appellate District to serve as chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Combs also made history by being the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court of Kentucky when then Gov. Brereton Jones appointed her to service on the state’s highest court. She currently serves on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, representing District 7, Division 1.
When President Johnson declared the War on Poverty, Josephine Richardson, along with her husband, Bill, heeded the call and moved to Eastern Kentucky where they founded Appalshop, a multi-media collective designed as a training program in film/video for young people from the mountains to teach them crucial media skills. Appalashop has grown into a nationally recognized media center working film, video, recordings, literature, theater, presentation of live performance and radio.
Brigitte LaPresto shares her panelist friends’ passion for gender equality and their pride in the region. Beyond the classroom, she spends much of her time and energy on globalizing the campus community and on offering cultural opportunities.
During the event, a poster presentation will be on display featuring pioneering women throughout history. These student works from various classes, including art and communication, will also be on exhibit from March 27-29 on the first floor of the Administration Building.
The Women’s History Month celebration at the University of Pikeville is sponsored by the Division of Humanities and the special events committee. All events are free and the community is cordially invited. For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at 218-5270.