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UCM 10 Year Anniversary April 2014
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University Center of the Mountains Celebrates a Decade of Educational Service and Success

Posted on Friday, April 18, 2014 [6:15 PM]

HAZARD, Ky. -- For Lindsey Wilson College student Jennifer Erwin, the University Center of the Mountains has been a life-changing experience.


After receiving an associate's degree from Hazard Community and Technical College, Erwin earned a bachelor of arts degree in human services and counseling from Lindsey Wilson, then she enrolled in LWC's graduate program in counseling and human development. And she did it all without leaving Perry County, Ky.


Erwin was among several dozens college students, professors and higher-education leaders who celebrated the 10-year anniversary Wednesday of the University Center of the Mountains, which is on the Hazard CTC Hazard Campus.


Founded in 2004, the University Center of the Mountains is a consortium of Kentucky postsecondary educational institutions who work together to bring bachelor's and master's to the Kentucky River Area Development District, which serves Breathitt, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley Perry and Wolfe counties.


In addition to Hazard CTC and LWC, the UCM includes Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, Midway College, Morehead State University and University of the Cumberlands. In the last decade, more than 1,000 residents of the region have earned a college degree without having to leave home.


"I've learned a lot about counseling, but I've also learned a lot about myself," said Erwin, who lives in Hazard. "It's been a really awesome experience for me -- it's opened a lot of doors for me and it continues to open doors."


Erwin, who is a single mom of two young children, is the first person in her family to go to college, "and I wouldn't have been able to do that any other way."


"I'm very grateful Lindsey Wilson will travel to me," she said.


LWC President William T. Luckey Jr. said "transformation is what higher education is all about."

"It is our responsibility to meet students wherever they are so that we can help them realize their educational dreams," Luckey said. "Not everyone has the luxury of spending four years as a residential student on a college campus, and the University Center for the Mountains is a great way to serve students who otherwise might not have the opportunity to earn a college degree."

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