Union College confers honorary degree upon Kenneth Ramsey

Union College conferred an honorary degree upon long-time friend and supporter Ken Ramsey as part of Fall Convocation on Thursday.

Ramsey was awarded the degree “Doctor of Business, Honoris Causa.”

Natives of Artemus, Ky., Ramsey and his wife Sarah have always had a keen interest in the economic, social and physical health of Eastern Kentucky and its residents. The Ramseys have been benefactors of Union College for decades, with Ken serving on the Board of Trustees and assisting the college in many ways beyond board service.

Ramsey provided the address for this year’s convocation, sharing insights with the audience of what he has learned during his life. Among the insights he offered were the students needed to be honest with their selves, and in finding a career, to like what you do.

He also told the crowd to not be afraid to fail.

“Failure is an on-the-job training experience,” Ramsey said. “Big risk, big rewards. A turtle never gets anywhere unless it sticks its neck out.”

The Ramseys met when both were students at Union College. Ramsey left Union to join the Army and returned to Kentucky to attend the University of Kentucky on the G.I. Bill. After graduating, he held several executive positions with trucking firms before going into the real estate business. As real estate began to lose its appeal, Ramsey bought cellular telephone network franchises, eventually accumulating a string principally along Interstate 75 in northeastern Georgia and southeastern Kentucky. He sold his business in 1994 and purchased a historic horse farm in Nicholasville, Ky., renaming it Ramsey Farm. The Ramseys raise champion thoroughbred racehorses and have received nearly every accolade available for horse owners and breeders. Ramsey horses have won at every notable track in the industry.

The Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey Center for Health and Natural Sciences exists today largely because of their generous contributions to Union College. The building was once the Knox County Hospital, which long served the community in ways meaningful to the Ramsey family. It was repurposed by the college for classroom and laboratory space and was formally dedicated on April 22, 2014.

In closing his address, Ramsey challenged the student body to prove its greatness.

“You’ve been accepted by Union College, and Union College is betting on you,” he said. “So, carpe diem. Seize the moment.”

Fall Convocation marks the official kickoff of the new semeste