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FROM THE BAYOU TO THE MOUNTAINS: DR. JACOBS TO RETIRE, MOVE HOME TO LOUISIANA

Deborah JacobsDr. Deborah Jacobs seemed to be moving a world away in 1991 when she packed her bags, fresh off earning her doctorate at Louisiana State University, and moved to Pikeville, Ky.

Actually it was about 875 miles away from her hometown of Alexandria, La. She didnt know what to expect, but what she quickly learned was eastern Kentucky was a lot like home.

The region here was very reminiscing of Louisiana, said Dr. Jacobs, who will retire this summer after 23 years of service to Big Sandy Community and Technical College. The people of eastern Kentucky were so polite and welcoming. The place grew on me.

But home is where the heart is, and Dr. Jacobs plans on moving to Baton Rouge, La., where she plans to garden year round.

Ill miss the many friends I have here, but I look forward to being near my family in Louisiana. I also look forward to reading things I want to read, instead of things I have to read, she said, chuckling.

Dr. Jacobs, who is a professor of English, was instrumental in the tremendous growth of the Pikeville campus, including the opening of the state-of-the-art facility in downtown Pikeville in 2000.

Times sure have changed since we started here in Pikeville, she continued. What hasnt changed is how welcoming and eager our students are to learn.

She said the most rewarding experience of being a professor is running into former students and hearing them say how much you have helped them.

Its humbling to know you played a part of their success, said Dr. Jacobs.

Dr. Nancy B. Johnson, Provost at Big Sandy Community and Technical College, said its difficult to see faculty members who have dedicated years of service to the institution and students retire.

Buildings dont make an institution, she said. People do. The work of dedicated faculty members like Dr. Jacobs have played an important role in our growth as a leading institution of higher learning in eastern Kentucky.

Dr. George D. Edwards, President and CEO of Big Sandy Community and Technical College, presented Dr. Jacobs with a commemorative photograph of the Pikeville campus signed by her colleagues during a retirement celebration on Thursday, March 20, at the Pikeville campus of BSCTC.

Dr. Jacobs commitment to our college and our students has been unmatched, he said. We wish her the very best in her retirement.