PIKEVILLE – “Gather ‘round ye loyal school mates, lift each voice ‘til echoes ring; loudly praise our alma mater, ‘tis of UPike we sing.”
Perhaps when the Rev. George Carmichael wrote the institution’s school song so many years ago, he understood that his words would be a special gift to generations of students. The University of Pikeville’s first alumnus to serve as president, Dr. James Hurley, will officially declare the beginning of the academic year during the traditional Opening Convocation.
The community is invited to join the campus family Thursday, Aug. 29, at 11 a.m. in Booth Auditorium, Record Memorial Building. Professors will don their regalia for the traditional ceremony, welcoming students to campus and celebrating the start of the university’s 124th academic year.
Business and community leaders Jim and Linda Booth will deliver the convocation keynote address and be presented with honorary degrees. Jim Booth, president and CEO of Booth Energy Group and Retail Division, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws. Linda Booth will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Linda provides commercial and residential interior design for Interstate Lodging Inc. and is the general manager of Azalea Hall Inc.
A longtime member of the University of Pikeville’s Board of Trustees, Jim Booth has been a successful entrepreneur in the retail business and the coal industry. He has been in the mining industry for more than 40 years, cultivating a small contract mining company in 1975 into a $750 million annualized revenue coal producing and retail marketing entity. Through his coal and retail businesses, Booth has created more than 2,000 jobs for the region.
Jim Booth believes in education and serves students in the state and region through his commitment to higher education. In addition to providing leadership as a trustee at the University of Pikeville, he also serves on the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees.
Booth received his bachelor of business administration degree from Morehead State University. Active in numerous civic and charitable ventures, he has served on the Federal Reserve Board of Directors, Cincinnati Branch, Cleveland Federal Reserve District; Inez Deposit Bank Board of Directors; Big Sandy Industrial Authority Board; Coal Operators Associates Board; Martin County Economic Development Board and chairman of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Board.
In 2000, Jim Booth was named to Morehead State University’s Hall of Fame and honored as an Outstanding College of Business Alumni. He is the recipient of the 2001 Kentucky Governor’s Economic Development Leadership Award and the 2002 East Kentucky Leadership Award. Recently, the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce recognized him as Citizen of the Year.
For more than 30 years Linda Booth has developed and managed specialty retail businesses and has been successful in commercial and residential interior design, including franchised hotels through Interstate Lodging Inc. based in Lovely. Her expertise in the industry also includes renovations of high value residential homes and interior design for commercial office spaces.
In 1998 Linda established and designed Miss Ida’s Tea Room in Inez where she manages daily operations including catering and developing new menu and food programs. She is a graduate of Morehead State University.
Linda Booth has a passion to help fulfill the needs of others through community service. She is a member of the board of directors for Inez First Baptist Church, Haven of Rest, Three Rivers Medical Center and the Mountain Arts Center. She also serves on the boards of Bible Studies Fellowship International and East Kentucky Sunrise Ministries.