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by M. B. Miller

On February 11th, Dr. Joe Alan Stepp, President of Alice Lloyd College, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Administration degree from the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, KY.  Dr. Stepp received the prestigious award from Dr. James H. Taylor, president of the University, and Scott Thompson, a member of Cumberlands’ Board of Trustees, as part of the University’s Recognition Program which pays respect to individuals who have made significant contributions to their communities. 

President Stepp has been at the helm of Alice Lloyd College for over a decade, and in that time, he has worked doggedly to increase the College’s endowment.  Under his watch, the College’s funds have grown steadily to $29 million, a sum that is used to further insure that future Appalachian students have opportunities to obtain quality educations at a low cost.  Dr. Stepp has also been instrumental in spearheading various campus improvement projects, including technology upgrades, building renovations, and construction work.  The president has also recently expanded the college curriculum, adding new programs in entrepreneurship, nursing, accounting, and liberal arts.

“My main objective,” said Dr. Stepp, “is to serve God and my fellow man.”

He has long been an advocate of “servant leadership,” an idea that the College has incorporated into its teaching philosophy.  Throughout his career at Alice Lloyd, he has regularly drawn upon the guidance offered by like-minded individuals, particularly Cumberlands’ president Dr. James Taylor, Kentucky GOP leader Mike Duncan, and Jerry C. Davis, current president of the College of the Ozarks and a former president of Alice Lloyd College.

“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by Dr. Taylor who has the longest tenure of anyone in the state of Kentucky,” Stepp said. “I feel comfortable to call upon him, as well as Duncan and Davis, for solid, Christian advice.  Everyone needs to surround themselves with good people in order to be successful.”

Dr. Stepp received his Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry from Morehead State University in 1977.  He went on to garner a Master’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University in 1982 and later attended the Harvard Seminar for New Presidents in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He became the President of Alice Lloyd College in 1999, the first native Appalachian to be given that charge.

The special ceremony in which he was honored was held at the University of the Cumberlands’ Gatliff Chapel. Dr. Stepp’s wife, Cindy, and sons Clark and Clint were in attendance.  The award marks the second of its kind that President Stepp has received, having been presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from the College of the Ozarks in 2001.

*Photos courtesy of the University of the Cumberlands.