Bertee and Retta Faye Adkins Scholarship Established
After he graduated from Betsy Layne High School and enrolled at Pikeville College in 1949, he didn't have enough money even to ride a bus from his home in the Floyd County community of Harold to Pikeville, just 12 miles away, let alone enough for lunch every day.
Knowing that many of his classmates didn't have enough money to go to school, Dr. Bert T. (Bertee) Adkins vowed that, if he ever got the chance, he would someday help students achieve their own educational dreams.
Adkins went on to complete his bachelor's degree and a master's degree at Eastern Kentucky University, before joining the faculty at EKU, where he taught business courses from 1973 until his retirement in 1998. But he never forgot the promise he made to himself as a struggling, young student at Pikeville.
Now, with the establishment of the Dr. Bertee (Bert T.) and Retta Faye (Jett) Adkins Endowed Scholarship, generations of EKU students will be better able to pursue a college degree. Adkins is establishing similar scholarships at other schools, including his late wife's high school in Tennessee.
"I am now getting the chance to help some students," Adkins said, "and it is my pleasure."
Retta Faye Adkins is also fondly remembered by some students, but for a different reason.
"My wife was a big help to the students at EKU because she was a free babysitter for the students while I was attending classes here," he recalled. "We didn't have any kids but I saw her babysitting with 13 at a time. She passed away in August 2013, knowing that I would one day help them as she had helped them. I merely want to help the students!"
In selecting recipients of the Adkins Scholarship, preference will be given to students who: are permanent residents of Kentucky, enrolled full time in a business program in EKU's College of Business and Technology, maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.6 or greater, and demonstrate financial need.
Adkins retired from the Air Force in 1971 and returned to Kentucky. Driving down I-75 to Tennessee to visit his wife's parents, he saw a small Eastern Kentucky University sign on the side of the road. "I stopped for a visit and immediately decided I wanted to get an education here."
Adkins, who went on to complete his commercial pilot license, taught Business Communications, Business Math, Intermediate and Advanced Typing and Introduction to Business ("my favorite") at EKU.
Published on February 21, 2015