2017 Winter Commencement Graduates Told to Keep a Positive Outlook

2017 Winter Honorary DoctoratesRight: Lindsey Wilson College President William T. Luckey Jr., far left, and Board of Trustees Chair Allan Parnell of Louisville, Ky., far right, present an honorary doctorate degree to automotive industry veteran and LWC trustee James J. Pike. The college also awarded a doctorate, posthumously, to Robert Lewis Garrison. Accepting on his behalf are his son, James Garrison and daughter, Amy Mitchum Garrison. Garrison, a local businessman and a 20 year member of the LWC trustees, died Nov. 29.

COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Members of the first half of the Lindsey Wilson College Class of 2017-18 were told Saturday morning to go forward with a “glass half-full” attitude because a positive perspective will shape the way they lead and adapt to change.

Those were the words 45-year automotive industry veteran and LWC trustee James J. Pike delivered at the college’s 106th commencement ceremony, held Saturday morning in Biggers Sports Center.

Lindsey Wilson awarded 340 degrees at this year’s winter commencement – 196 undergraduate degrees and 144 graduate degrees. The winter class also included LWC’s first graduates from the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

To put the size of this winter’s graduating class in perspective, LWC awarded 321 degrees in 2003-04, the last year the college held only one commencement ceremony.

LWC awarded an honorary doctorate degree to Pike who attended LWC in 1965. Jim Pike is one of the most distinguished alums in the 114-year history of the college. He has managed more than 15 companies – 10 of which he served as CEO. A specialist in operations, marketing, acquisitions and finance, he spent most of his career transforming struggling companies into profitable enterprises.

“Change is the biggest challenge we have,” said Pike at Saturday’s ceremony. “You’ll encounter change in industry, change in people, change in your careers -- but now you have the opportunity to manage that change.”

Pike said that by earning a degree these graduates will carry with them a “suitcase of knowledge.”

“Smartphones give nearly everyone in the world access to world-class knowledge,” said Pike. “You’ll need to keep adding to your suitcase, carry it with you and open it when you need it.”

Robert Lewis GarrisonPike also noted the importance of having a positive perspective.

“We were always looking for people in my companies with a “glass half-full” outlook,” said Pike. “It was the people with a positive perspective that made the best leaders.”

“Everyone has leadership qualities. You may not be using it yet but it is within you. Expand, grow and nurture your leadership potential because you will use it forever – in your family, business, community and faith. You have taken the first step today by becoming a college graduate."

LWC also awarded an honorary doctorate degree to Robert Lewis Garrison. A local entrepreneur and Adair County native, Garrison proudly served his community as a civic leader and employer. He served more than three decades as an LWC trustee where he was a key member of the buildings and grounds committee during the most expansive period of growth in the college’s history. Garrison's son, James and daughter, Amy Mitchum Garrison accepted the honor on his behalf. 


• For access to free downloads of winter graduate photos, please go here. 

• To view and download photos of 2017 Winter Commencement festivities, please go here.