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Morehead State celebrates Homecoming Weekend

Students, alumni, faculty staff and friends of Morehead State University returned and reconnected to celebrate the blue and gold as One Eagle Family during MSU’s annual Homecoming Weekend.  

"Homecoming 2019 was an amazing gathering of Eagles on a perfect weekend," said Mindy Highley (91), assistant vice president for alumni relations and development. "Alumni returned to reminisce about their time on campus and to connect with today’s students. Each year at this time, thousands of people come back home to Morehead State and prove true the saying 'Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle.'"

Dr. Gerald DeMoss (63) was the recipient of the MSU Founder’s Award for University Service. DeMoss was a respected member of the Morehead State faculty for 42 years. He joined the faculty as a professor of biology and served in other leadership roles, including the department chair of Biological and Environmental Sciences, dean of the former College of Arts and Sciences and dean of the College of Science and Technology. After retirement, he returned to the University to assist with administrative positions, including acting provost and vice president for academic affairs.  

Three people were inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame. They were:  

  • Dr. Annette Graham (85) is a successful administrator in the culinary industry. From her beginnings in the restaurant world as a manager at the Brass Eagle restaurant, a Morehead historic staple, she has risen through the ranks and is currently the dean of the School of Business and Management at The Culinary Institute of America in New York City.  
  • Steve Inskeep (90) has traveled across the world as host of Morning Edition on National Public Radio (NPR), where he has interviewed presidents, congressional leaders and told passionate stories of everyday people across all continents. He is also a published author of two books, with a third on the way.  
  • Wayne Mincey (79) has had a successful career in strategy, operations, finance, business development, M&A for nearly 40 years in North America, Europe and Asia. His professional experience ranges from start-up ventures to $5 billion public companies. He retired as executive chairman of Market Track, LLC, the last company he led in 2017. Currently, he serves as a senior advisor to Norwest Venture Partners, as a board director for multiple PE-backed companies and is directly involved in several start-up endeavors.    

In addition, three alumni were also inducted into the MSU Athletic Hall of Fame. They were:  

  • Shawn Armstrong (95) was a vital member of the MSU Men’s Golf team in the early ’90s. Under the leadership of Coach Rex Chaney, Armstrong was a member of the 1993 OVC Champion team. The following year in 1994, he finished only one stroke behind the winner of the OVC Tournament and, as a result, was named All-OVC. 
  • David Neely (72) was an accomplished high jumper in the Morehead State Track and Field program from 1969-1972. The first-ever field-only athlete to be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame, he represented MSU at the NCAA Championships and the United States Track and Field Federation Championships and was named All-OVC Conference three times in his career. 
  • Katelyn Barbour Sallee (09) was a standout member of the Women’s Volleyball team from 2005 to 2008. A record-holder and an All-American, she was one of the best volleyball student-athletes ever to grace the program. She still holds multiple records at MSU and, following her college career, she has gone on to enjoy a successful career as a high school volleyball coach. 

Notable Alumni Award recipients for 2019 were:   

  • Gena Boyle Burger (04) currently serves as the deputy secretary of health and human resources in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She has also served as the health and environmental policy advisor to Governor Tim Kaine.     
  • Jesse Wells (08) is an accomplished bluegrass musician who currently performs with notable recording artist Tyler Childers and has previously performed with the likes of Dr. Ralph Stanley, Town Mountain, The Wooks and Dirk Powell. He has been with the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music since its establishment in 2000, where he serves as an instructor, recording studio manager and manager of the center’s Traditional Music Archives. His daughter Maddie accepted on his behalf. 

Rising Eagle Award recipients for 2019 were:  

  • Byron Burton (11) is a screenwriter, songwriter and journalist who works in Los Angeles. He covers film and television for The Hollywood Reporter and recently composed a piece of music that was featured in 2016’s “X-Men: Apocalypse.”      
  • Jessica Farrell (16) went on to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received a degree in their interdisciplinary technology and policy program. Currently, she is working in Washington, D.C., as an engineer at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).     
  • Jared Ravenscraft (16) is the co-founder and co-owner of New Frontier Outfitters, a clothing line that promotes the Appalachian region and celebrates the culture and love of the outdoors.     

The Eagle Spirit Award for 2019 was awarded to:  

  • Vicki Collins Blakeman (81) is a native of Morehead. During college, Blakeman was a member of Chi Omega, a Sigma Phi Epsilon Little Sister, an MSU cheerleader and was crowned MSU Homecoming Queen in 1980. Since graduation, she has been a familiar face at all MSU events. To honor her late husband, Blakeman hosts an annual golf outing and designates all proceeds to the J.B. Blakeman Memorial Scholarship managed by the MSU Foundation.     

The MSU Homecoming Parade brought out alumni, students, faculty, staff and the community as it made its way through Main Street in downtown Morehead the morning of Saturday, Oct. 19.   

Later that afternoon, the MSU Eagle football team defeated Butler with a final score of 31-20.   

During halftime, Brianna Haynes, junior from Morehead, and Hunter Collins, senior from West Liberty, were crowned as this year’s Homecoming Queen and King. Members of the Homecoming Court were Allie Hull (senior, Richmond), Hannah Layne (senior, Pikeville), Hannah McFarland (senior, Salyersville), Gabby Merrill (senior, Maysville), Luke Birkes (senior, Winchester), Devin Boggs (junior, Bardstown), Brent Parsons (sophomore, Grayson) and Larry Whelan (senior, Morehead).   

Several organizations and groups also held reunions during Homecoming Weekend. There was an MSU Cheer Alumni Reunion, an African American Alumni Reunion and special class reunions and recognition were given to the Class of 1969 (50th anniversary), Class of 1979 (40th anniversary) and the Class of 1994 (25th anniversary).  

MSU also held a Memorial Brick Ceremony at the Little Bell Tower Memorial Plaza to honor former faculty and staff who passed away during the last year for their years of faithful service given to the University. 

To learn more about reconnecting with MSU alumni and becoming an active alum, contact the Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 800-783-ALUM (2586) or, or visit

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