CLASS OF 2007
Inducted April 28, 2007
John J. Dickey 1873
Licensed to preach in 1861, John J. Dickey was admitted to the Kentucky Conference in 1873. His ministry continued in that region of the state for most of the next 72 years.
During his pastorate in Georgetown, a financial crisis of such severity occurred at Kentucky Wesleyan that it caused the college administrators to seriously consider closing its doors. Dickey was called in to counsel, and together, the administrators of the college worked closely with Dickey to develop a plan that saved the college. Dickey was subsequently urged to take on the presidency, but he declined.
By this time, Dickey had become so deeply interested in the people of the mountain section of Kentucky, that he felt it to be his mission field. He noticed there were no high schools in that area of the state, and the elementary schools that did exist were of the poorest sort. So Dickey began a school in a one-room log court house of Jackson that afterwards became Jackson Academy, and then Lees Junior College – the first such school in southeastern Kentucky and the forerunner of Hazard’s Community College of today.
The imprint Brother Dickey’s work and life left on the mountain section of Kentucky was more than sufficient to say, “He made a difference, a huge difference.”
John W. Jones ’67
John Jones is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Modern Welding Company, Incorporated. Modern Welding is a family-owned steel tank and vessel fabrication business. It was founded by Jones’ grandfather about 75 years ago.
After graduating from KWC, Jones completed an MBA at Auburn University and began his career with the family’s business. By then the company was 50 years old and had primarily grown by acquisition. Jones soon recognized that the company had the potential to grow and prosper with some new products and locations.
As a result of his vision, Jones reorganized the company into strategically focused and geographically located subsidiaries and leveraged the company’s entrepreneurial strengths to lead Modern Welding into becoming the nation’s largest supplier of UL listed, underground and above ground steel storage tanks for flammable and combustible liquids.
To facilitate even more growth, Jones sought out complimentary products and services that could be added to the company’s product portfolio, and he led the expansion of Modern Welding into chemical storage tanks, ASME pressure vessels, and a variety of other structural steel fabrications. The company today has 12 subsidiary companies located in key markets of the country that provide custom fabrications and superior, cost-effective products and services through its personal relationship skills in sales and service.
G. Chad Perry ’50
After graduating from KWC, Paintsville attorney Chad Perry earned his LL.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of Kentucky. Between 1951 and 1953 he served in the U. S. Air Force as a legal officer, and for the next 54 years he has pursued the private practice of law in Paintsville. During these years he has served his profession and his community well. But Perry’s claim to a permanent and memorable legacy among his fellow Eastern Kentuckians, may be what he made of the vision he had in 1956.
After years of seeing young men and women leaving Eastern Kentucky for careers in medicine and health care in other parts of the state and nation, Perry conceived the idea of a medical school in eastern Kentucky. Two of the state’s universities – UK and U of L – already had medical schools, but Perry saw the need for a third. His idea was initially met with skepticism and doubt, but Perry pushed forward.
You see, “Perry is the type of person whose will and determination cannot easily be thwarted and whose voice can be soft or caustically sharp as the occasion demands, and each of these qualities, combined with intelligence and an indefatigable work ethnic, has created in him a career which has, and undoubtedly will continue to, make a difference.”
Following meetings with community leaders and health care providers, Perry was even more convinced of the need for a medical school in Eastern Kentucky, and in 1997 Perry’s idea and hard work became a reality when the new school of Osteopathic Medicine opened in Pikeville with 60 students in its first class!
Henry Milton Pyles ’22
Dr. Pyles gave most of his adult life in service to KWC. He joined the faculty of Kentucky Wesleyan in 1921 as professor of biology and earned his MA from KWC the next year. After earning a second Master’s degree from George Peabody and a Doctorate from UK, both in Education, he began teaching in that field and became Director of the college’s Teacher Training Program.
Over most of his career, “Prof” as we called him, served in the dual role of professor and administrator. He served as Registrar for about 25 years as well as Academic Dean and Director of Alumni Affairs.
In 1951 Dr. Pyles was given the added duties of readying the college for its move to Owensboro. He and his wife moved with the college and worked together for many years beyond the move to assure the move was as seamless and successful as possible. An honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters was presented to Prof in 1959 to honor his years of dedication and service.
Dr. Pyles is but one professor from among many who has made a unique and striking difference upon Kentucky Wesleyan and could rightfully deserve such recognition. But we have singled out Prof Pyles from the others for the sacrificial model he personally lived out among us. And to all those professors over the years of our collegiate life who made such a difference, we say “Thank You, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Dr. Pyles stands out. His whole family were among those dedicated servants then and now.
Albert W. Sweazy ’40
Reverend Alfred Sweazy was a well-known United Methodist minister and a long-time leader in the former Kentucky Conference. After graduating from Kentucky Wesleyan, he earned a Bachelor of Divinity from Asbury Seminary.
After serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946, Sweazy returned home and served churches in central Kentucky until 1966. He then assumed responsibility for several positions of leadership at all levels of the church . . . as Superintendent of the Lexington District; Director of the Kentucky Conference Council on Ministries, Conference Treasurer and Director of Fiscal Affairs. He also chaired the Conference Board of Education and its Board of Ministries.
At the Jurisdictional level, Sweazy served on the Committee on Episcopacy, and at the General Church level, the Board of Education and Council of Ministries. He was elected delegate to six General Conferences and served as chair of the Kentucky delegation.
In 1984 the Council of Bishops nominated Sweazy to serve an eight-year term on the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church – the “supreme court” of U.S. Methodism. His election made him the only Kentuckian to have served with this distinguished group. Sweazy retired in 1992.
Dr. Sweazy was a trustee of KWC for 28 years and was elected Trustee Emeritus in 1995.
W.J. “Jack” Turbeville ’36
After graduating from KWC, Jack joined American Agriculture Chemical Company (Agrico) as a trainee salesman. He later received a Ph.D. and by 1963 he had advanced to Agrico’s President and Chairman of the Board. And when Continental Oil Company (Conoco) acquired Agrico that year, Jack continued in that role as well as becoming a divisional Vice President and General Manager for Conoco. In 1966 Jack was also appointed Chairman of Amalgamated Chemicals, an Australian conglomerate of 42 separate companies owned by Conoco.
In 1972, when Agrico was acquired by the Williams Company, Jack served as Vice Chairman of the Williams Board, and later that year, he was appointed Chairman and CEO of the Board of the Phosphate Rock Export Association, the marketing organization representing virtually all the major U.S. companies in the phosphate industry. He later chaired the Board of the Fertilizer Institute and was Vice Chair of the Fertilizer Advisory Committee of the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy.
Turbeville was named President of the International Phosphate Association (IFA) headquartered in Paris, France. The IFA is a not-for-profit organization representing the international fertilizer industry. About half of IFA’s 450 members in some 80 countries are based in developing countries throughout the world and include organizations involved in agronomic research and training with regard to fertilizers. Jack was the first American to ever serve in this position. He was “a major figure in the international agricultural and phosphate industry.”