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Helphinstine to receive 2018 Founders Award for University Service

Dr. Frances "Fran" HelphenstineThe Morehead State University Service Award Committee has recommended that Dr. Frances “Fran” L. Helphinstine be the recipient of the 2018 Founders Award for University Service.

MSU’s Board of Regents approved the action during its June meeting. She will be presented with the award during Morehead State University’s Homecoming Banquet Friday, Oct. 19, at the Morehead Conference Center.

“The Founders Award for University Service is the most significant award that we provide to alums of Morehead State,” said President Joseph A. (Jay) Morgan. “Dr. Helphinstine has served graciously and had a tremendously influential impact on her students. She is a great supporter not only of MSU but of higher education.”

Helphinstine first started at MSU in 1966 as an instructor of English. In her career spanning more than 50 years, she always stayed focused on students. Helphinstine also remained an active scholar, regularly presenting at the Shakespeare Association of America conference and enjoying success securing grants from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

In 1988, she received the MSU Faculty Service Award. She served on countless committees, served as the Graduate Program Coordinator for English, was active with the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English and the National Council for Teachers of English.

According to Morgan, “No one can recall a commencement exercise in the last 50 years that Helphinstine has not attended.” In fact, she served as faculty marshall for a number of years, leading her colleagues into the Academic-Athletic Center arena as part of the academic procession.

She received her Ph.D. degree in English with a specialization in English Renaissance and Dramatic Literature in April 1978 from Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana.

Previous recipients have included W. E. Crutcher, 1978; Linus A. Fair, 1979; Carl D. Perkins, 1980; Dr. Warren C. Lappin, 1981; Dr. Ted L. Crosthwait, 1982; Monroe Wicker, 1983; Lloyd Cassity, 1984; Grace Crosthwaite, 1985; Boone Logan, 1986; Dr. Rondal D. Hart, 1987; George T. Young, 1988; John E. Collis, 1989; Dr. Wilhelm Exelbirt, 1990; Dr. R. H. Playforth, 1991; Dr. Mary Northcutt Powell, 1992; Senator Woody May, 1993; Dr. J. E. Duncan, 1994; Sherman R. Arnett and Harlen L. Hamm, 1995;

Dr. Adron Doran, 1996; Robert S. Bishop and Martin Huffman, 1997; Dr. Charles J. Pelfrey, 1998; Carolyn S. Flatt, 1999; Dr. Earl J. Bentley, 2000; Mrs. Mignon Doran, 2001; Dr. C. Nelson Grote, 2002; Merl F. Allen, 2003; Dr. John C. Philley, 2004; Dr. Charles M. Derrickson, 2005; Dr. John R. Duncan, 2006; Steve A. Hamilton, 2007; Dr. Marshall Banks, 2008; Dr. Randy Wells, 2009;  Dr. Jack D. Ellis, 2010; Ms. Lucille Caudill Little, 2011; Rocky J. Adkins, 2012; Clyde I. James, 2013; Keith R. Kappes, 2014; Carol Johnson and W. H. “Honie” Rice, 2015; Myron Doan, 2016; and Dr. David Saxon, 2017.

MSU’s homecoming celebration will be held Oct. 18-20.

For more information about university awards, or to nominate someone, visit

Additional information is available by calling Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033; 800-783-ALUM or visiting