Astor Simpson to deliver commencement address for Southeast grads; event slated for Dec. 9The fifth annual December Commencement and Awarding of Degrees at Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College will be Friday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. in the Edsel Godbey Appalachian Center located on the Cumberland campus. The event will feature a keynote address by SKCTC Professor Astor L. Simpson who will be the first member of the colleges faculty to deliver the primary address to graduates.
Those participating in the ceremony have earned degrees and diplomas during the 2011 summer and fall semesters. Graduates will represent SKCTC campuses located at Cumberland, Middlesboro, Harlan, Whitesburg and Pineville.
Professor Simpson, who teaches sociology and psychology courses, has been on the faculty at Southeast since 1991, and prior to that time he worked in an adjunct capacity. Born in Pineville, he lived in the Wallins Creek community of Harlan County until he was 12 at which time the family moved to Michigan. The mountain youth worked hard to make the difficult adjustment to city life. He was graduated from Detroit Redford High School in 1967.
He would soon enroll at Eastern Michigan University earning a degree in sociology with a minor in psychology. While at Eastern Michigan, he was named to the Kappa Delta Pi Society, an honorary education fraternity. He would continue his education at EMU while working as a research assistant. He has also studied and received additional education and training from the University of Michigan, the University of Kentucky and Union College where he was awarded masters degree in the fields of sociology, psychology and education.
I am extremely honored to have been chosen to deliver the commencement address, he said. I will most likely tell the graduates to be excited about their futures, to strive to overcome obstacles that may stand in the way, but I will also challenge each to work hard, to persevere to make dreams become reality!
Before beginning his successful tenure at SKCTC, Simpson worked in government -- first on the county level and later for the Michigan Department of Education. Upon his return to Kentucky, he worked for Mountain Trails Health Plan, Inc., serving as vice president for planning and development. An ordained minister, he has been pastor of several Baptist churches in the area.
He and his wife, Sally, are the parents of adult sons, Bill and Jamie.