CLASS OF 2006
Inducted April 29, 2006
Dr. Beverly-Byers Pevitts ’61
Dr. Beverley Byers-Pevitts is the President of Park University, an independent, co-educational liberal arts university with an enrollment of over 24,000 students. Park has forty-two Campus Centers in twenty-one states. Dr. Byers-Pevitts is the school’s first woman president and also the first female alumni of Kentucky Wesleyan College to become the president of a college or university.
Byers-Pevitts received her B.A. from Kentucky Wesleyan College and her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. She completed postdoctoral study at the Institutes for Higher Education at Harvard University.
She is a professionally produced and published playwright, in addition to having numerous articles published in educational journals and books, and she has lectured widely.
Byers-Pevitt’s involvement in higher education and civic organizations on the local, county, state and national levels includes: Commissioner for the American Council on Education’s Office of Women in Higher Education; the Council of Presidents for the NAIA; the Board of Governors of the Liberty Memorial Museum and Association, where she chairs the education committee; and the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Missouri Colleges Fund.
She is the founding president of the Association for Theater in Higher Education and serves on the national advisory board for the Women’s Museum, a division of the Smithsonian. In the Kansas City area, Byers-Pevitts is an executive committee member of the Platte County Missouri Economic Development Council; a member of the KCPT and KC REACHE Board of Directors, and a member of the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and Rotary, International.
Prior to joining Park University, Byers-Pevitts was chair and director of Graduate Studies in Theater Arts at the University of Nevada, Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of Northern Iowa, and Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of Texas Woman’s University.
Byers-Pevitts has received numerous awards and honors including the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival Award for Excellence, the Distinguished Theater Alumnus Award for Outstanding Achievement as Artist/Administrators at Southern Illinois University with Bob Pevitts, her husband, and the Distinguished Alumna Award from Southern Illinois University College of Arts & Sciences.
In May 2003, Dr. Byers-Pevitts was presented the degree of Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Kentucky Wesleyan College. In 1983 she received the KWC Alumni Association’s highest honor, “Outstanding Alumna.”
Rev. Dr. Harold Dorsey ’38
Rev. Dr. Harold Dorsey received his license to preach in 1936 and earned his Bachelor of Divinity from Emory University a few years later. He served United Methodist churches across the Kentucky Conferences – Gratz Lockport, Eminence, Irvine, Nicholasville, Prestonsburg First, Pikeville, Lexington Epworth, and Ashland First – and twice served as District Superintendent, once over the Danville District and once the Lexington District. Rev. Dorsey also once served as a short-term missionary to Japan.
Dorsey was active in the church, having served as the chair of the Kentucky Conference Board of Pensions, the Kentucky Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, the Board of the Pikeville Methodist Hospital, and as a Trustee of the Good Samaritan Hospital. He was a four-time delegate to the Southeast Jurisdictional Conference and twice to the World Methodist Council. He also served as executive director of the Kentucky United Methodist Foundation and was a member of the Kentucky Council of Churches.
Dorsey was active in the communities where he lived. As one of “Eastern Kentucky’s best boosters,” he took the initiative to “extend Lexington’s Main Street” to Eastern Kentucky and played an important role in the building of the Mountain Parkway. Once while serving as chair of the Floyd County Disaster Committee and Rehabilitation Committee, he appeared successfully before a U.S. Congressional Committee on behalf of much needed flood control on the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River.
Dorsey has received numerous honors for his years of work and service. He is an inductee of Floyd County’s “Man of the Mountains” Hall of Fame, was listed in “Who’s Who in Religion and Methodism” and “Who’s Who in the South and Southeast,” and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by his alma mater. In 1988 he was the recipient of the Alumni Association’s highest honor, “Outstanding Alumnus.”
Dorsey’s devotion to Kentucky Wesleyan is second only to the church. As Alumni Board President from 1969-73, Dr. Dorsey began a long-term association with the College’s Board of Trustees. From 1973 until 1988, he served as a Trustee. In 1995, he was selected as a Trustee Emeriti and still serves in that capacity today.
Virginia Harris “Shorty” Combs ’22
Teacher, newspaper columnist, and girl’s high school basketball pioneer, Virginia Harris Combs began her career in education in the Letcher County School System in Whitesburg, Kentucky. She first taught elementary school and then high school, where she taught English and journalism and started the school’s newspaper. But more importantly, she instilled in each student the importance of dedication, devotion and honesty that her alma mater had taught her.
Combs devoted 40 years of her life influencing hundreds of students with her consistent encouragement and intellectual stimulation, and along the way she pioneered girl’s high school basketball in Kentucky.
Known affectionately as “Shorty,” the five-foot forward was a member of the Kentucky Wesleyan All-State Championship girls basketball team, and in 1923-24, she coached the first Whitesburg High School girls basketball team. In 1996 KWC presented Combs the college’s “Most Outstanding Player Award” and renamed it the “Virginia (Shorty) Combs Most Outstanding Player Award.” The following year Combs was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletics Hall of Fame as a pioneer in women’s basketball.
During her lifetime, Combs was the recipient of numerous honors and awards. In 1991 she was inducted into the Letcher County Hall of Fame; in 1998 she was honored as one of three “Heroes, Saints and Legends” for Wesley Methodist Village; and in 1994 she was named, “Outstanding Alumna,” the highest award presented by the Kentucky Wesleyan Alumni Association.
Combs was a longtime columnist for the Whitesburg Mountain Eagle. She had a talent for retrieving and reporting news of the community, and for 40 years wrote a weekly column, “Family and Friends,” which chronicled the small town happenings of Whitesburg. Her columns contained bits of wisdom, worthwhile quotations, lessons of good grammar, ancient home remedies, political commentary, and amusing tidbits that her readers loved. Her columns were popular and widely read. Combs also authored two books. In 2001 Combs was inducted posthumously into The University of Kentucky School of Journalism Hall of Fame.
Combs is deceased. Receiving her Hall of Fame medallion were her daughters, Carol Combs Daugherty ’51 and Connie Combs Kincer, both of Lexington.
Dr. C. Kenneth Peters ’57
On September 16, 2005, the Kentucky Medical Association awarded, as it has done for the past 60 years, its Distinguished Service Award to a physician who has made outstanding contributions to organized medicine and individual medical service. Out of the Association’s 7,000+ members, Dr. Ken Peters was the recipient of this prestigious honor.
Peters has served the Jeffersontown area as a family physician for the past 40 years; he was past president of the Kentucky Medical Association (KMA), former vice-speaker, then speaker of KMA’s House of Delegates, former president of Jefferson County Medical Society, and more recently, founder and CEO of After Hours Care, Inc., an innovative concept Peters initiated providing urgent care during evenings, weekends and holidays. His offer to serve one year as the interim physician to Wesley Manor Retirement Home, resulted in his serving in that capacity for 35 years!
Early in his term as president of the Jefferson County Medical Society (JCMS), Peters became aware of a homeless shelter in Louisville known as Mission House. The founder of this shelter, Father Morgan, subsequently initiated discussions with Peters about the possibility of the JCMS taking over this shelter operation. Under Peters’ leadership, JCMS assumed operational control of the shelter with Peters as the co-founder, president and a board member. The former Mission House was renamed “The Healing Place” and began to expand into a unique rehabilitation program.
Today the shelter is the largest in Kentucky and has achieved a remarkable 65 percent cure rate for men and women suffering from alcohol and substance abuse. Its program has been replicated in Lexington, KY, Raleigh, NC, and Richmond, VA, and has been selected as the model for replication in each Kentucky Congressional District.
Peters currently serves KWC as Trustee. For his life of service to his profession, church and community, he was presented the Alumni Association’s highest honor, “Outstanding Alumnus,” in 2003.
Facts alone, however, do not capture the faith, humility, humor and love for people that defines Ken Peters. That is best seen when he speaks of his family and friends. His wife, Rhoda ’55, a significant leader in the United Methodist Church; daughters Elaine Waxman, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago, and Anne Vencel (Travis), a preschool teacher; son Chris (Mindi), assistant professor of psychiatry at U of L; and six grandchildren are the topics he likes best.