By Katherine Rutherman
This story first appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Kentucky Wesleyan Magazine.
To view the full magazine, click here.
Roy Pickerill’s office walls and bookshelves are jammed with decades of Panther memorabilia, and his eyes light up when he shares memories of the College he loves. He will leave his office as sports information director (SID) in the fall and return the next day as a special assistant for college relations in the Office of Advancement, serving as an ambassador for alumni relations, development and public relations. President Barton D. Darrell describes the move as “yet another great enhancement to our advancement and development efforts.”
In announcing his decision to step down from his long-time role as SID, Pickerill says, “This new position is tailor-made for me. I am honored that I can serve the College in new ways. President Darrell is creative and innovative, and I see a tremendous future for Wesleyan. I am excited to be a part of it.”
Pickerill’s Wesleyan experience began in the fall of 1971 when he arrived as a freshman from Louisville, Ky. “So many of the faculty and staff had an impact on me,” says Pickerill. “They were so passionate about the College and about the students. Their dedication and leadership skills made an impression on me that changed my life.
They cared about each of us; we were individuals to them.” He shares that Dr. Bob Darrell taught him to write, and Dr. John Combs gave him an appreciation of literature. Dr. Henry Connor and Dr. W. L. Magnuson were his general chemistry professors. “They wanted me to succeed,” he remembers, “and they wouldn’t give up on me even when I was about to give up on myself.” Joel Utley was the College’s sports information director during those years and gave Pickerill research projects that ignited his interest in sports information.
He met his wife of 42 years, Margaret Stinnette Pickerill ’75, at Wesleyan, and they were married Oct. 17, 1975, in Tapscott Chapel. “We were the second couple to marry there,” he recalls. “The chapel was new and the new purple carpet made our eyes burn, so everyone cried at our wedding!” Margaret retired after 28 years as an elementary school teacher.
Roy joined the Wesleyan staff immediately upon graduation and became SID in 1988. He also served as assistant director of public relations for a number of years and as director of public relations for two years. His years as SID include a 23-year run as media coordinator for the NCAA Division II Elite Eight National Championship Tournament. He has earned national awards over the course of his distinguished career, including induction into the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame in 1999. He was inducted into the Kentucky Wesleyan Alumni Hall of Fame in 2012, as well as the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.
His most poignant memories involve campus visits by former scholar-athletes. “Sometimes I see them well up with emotion, and they can’t speak,” he says, “because the College means so much to them. It is magical to see the looks on their faces when they try to speak and can’t. They say more in those moments than they could say with words.”
“I feel the same way,” he says, “and I haven’t really worked a day in my life because I’ve lived my dream at Wesleyan.”