HERMANS PHILOSOPHY HAS NEVER CHANGED: STUDENTS FIRSTDr. Doug Herman has witnessed many changes over the more than a quarter century he has spent as a professor of history at Big Sandy Community and Technical College.
Theres been many advancements in technology, curriculum changes and a shift to a virtual delivery of some classes. However, one thing has remained the same his commitment to student success.
Herman, 65, attended his 26th consecutive commencement ceremony earlier this month. It was special for Herman, who is retiring this summer.
Commencements are always special, seeing the hard-working students walk across the stage and get their degree, said Herman. He delivered the invocation prior to one of the commencement ceremonies for the sixth year. It is also very special when it is students I had in class, or students that have challenges and see them getting through.
A native of Lima, Ohio, Herman came to Prestonsburg Community College in 1988. He was teaching at a junior college in St. Louis, Mo., when he applied for a vacant position in Prestonsburg.
Herman remembers the late Dr. Henry Campbell inviting the whole division for dinner on a Sunday night.
I gave my presentation following dinner, Herman recalled. Luckily, I was used to talking in front of the crowd and was not nervous.
The rest was history.
Herman, who earned his Ph.D. from Ohio University, started at Prestonsburg Community College on August 1, 1988, two days shy of his 40th birthday.
The college represented what a community college is, said Herman. It was a comprehensive college with open admission serving a diverse group of students with different needs and different backgrounds.
Another reason Herman stayed was tenure. Once I got tenure in 1991, the job was more settling, he added. This is why I decided to stay here.
Herman laughs when he remembers a conversation with Dr. Campbell when he interviewed in Prestonsburg in April of 1988.
Dr. Campbell said 50,000 people came to Hillbilly Days, said Herman. That sounded like a lot of people then for eastern Kentucky.
Nearly three decades later, Hillbilly Days attracts well over 100,000 people and is the second largest festival in the state.
Some of Hermans best memories are of students. He gave two examples from two ends of the spectrum. The first was an advising session from January of 1989 where a lady came into his office and said she wanted to return to school after a 45-year break.
This lady wanted to take a college class, Herman recalled. She was working as a secretary and took a communications class. College grew on her as she was a work study in the admissions office and later graduated with a high grade-point average.
Another story was of a 10-year-old who enrolled in a class. The students parents were attending our college, and they thought their child was not being challenged in their school district, he said. The student was admitted as a part-time student and completed my class successfully.
Herman served as faculty representative to the board of directors from 1997 to 2006, missing just one meeting during that time. Earlier this year, he was recognized by the BSCTC library for his 23 consecutive years of participation in the Read Across America program.
Dr. George D. Edwards, president and CEO of Big Sandy Community and Technical College, said Herman showed an untiring commitment to student success.
Dr. Herman is a man of great character, and we wish him well in his retirement, he said.
Herman and his wife of 43 years, Mary, will make their home in central Kentucky upon his retirement.
I look forward to getting back to research and writing, said Herman.