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Joseph and Kelly Craft to receive honorary degrees

crafts-E.jpgMorehead State University will hold its 2017 Spring Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 13, at the Academic-Athletic Center. Joseph and Kelly Craft of Lexington will be presented with Honorary of Doctor of Public Service degrees during the afternoon ceremony.

During the two programs, President Wayne D. Andrews will confer degrees on more than 1,200 graduate and undergraduate students.

The first commencement program will start at 10 a.m. Students in the College of Business and Technology and the College of Science will participate. The afternoon commencement program will begin at 2 p.m. for candidates from the College of Education and the Caudill College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

In 2014, the Crafts pledged $4 million to establish Morehead State University’s Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, a dual-credit residential high school for academically exceptional Kentucky students. The contribution is the single largest cash gift in the history of the University. Since the initial gift, the Crafts have committed an additional $2.8 million to establish and fund summer programs for Craft Academy students, to enhance staffing and to improve the overall program.

A Hazard native, Joseph Craft is an entrepreneur, attorney and energy industry leader as well as a philanthropist. He has served as the president and chief executive officer of Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. since 1999. Craft received an undergraduate degree in accounting and a law degree from the University of Kentucky.

He also is a graduate of the Senior Executive Program of the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kelly Craft is a native of Glasgow. In 2007, she was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nation’s 61st Session of the General Assembly. She advised the American Ambassador to the U.N. on a range of issues, including U.S. engagement in Africa - a hallmark of the Bush Administration’s foreign policy legacy.

She works in a variety of charitable endeavors and currently serves on the board of directors of the Salvation Army of Lexington and the board of trustees at the University of Kentucky.

The Craft Academy offers a unique, project-based STEM+X curriculum that enriches the educational experiences and develops competencies in entrepreneurship and innovation, design and creativity, and civic and regional engagement.

Students are selected based on ACT and SAT scores, academic grades from their first two years of high school, interest in advanced STEM careers, responses to application essay questions, interviews by the academy selection committee and recommendations from teachers and others who could attest to the student’s preparedness for the program.

Additional information on Spring Commencement exercises is available by calling 606-783-2008.

Watch commencement live online at