by Dru Walters, Student Contributor
The Alice Lloyd College Commodore Slone building was hewn from the stone of the very mountains surrounding Pippa Passes. Now in the 21st century, there hangs in the foyer of this building a photo of the man who built it along with many other original buildings of the early college, and he was one of Alice Lloyd’s confidants- Mr. Commodore Slone. Turn left to knock on the door of the first office, and you will be greeted by a man who looks strikingly like the building’s architect. At 6’4” with a firm handshake, Dr. Jerry Wayne Slone favors his grandfather Commodore in both looks and demeanor.
Dr. Slone is an Accounting and Business Law Professor in the Joe Craft School of Business and Appalachian Leadership and a proud graduate of Alice Lloyd College. Dr. Slone, or Jerry Wayne, as most students know him around campus, spent his early years in Pippa Passes and is one of the remaining residents who met Alice Lloyd. The campus facilities may no longer be constructed from locally sourced stone, but a spirit of self-determination for Appalachia still forms the rock-solid foundation ALC is built upon. The commitment to the Purpose Road values is what brought Jerry Wayne back to Pippa Passes for college, and it is the commitment to these values that drives his work today.
About his work, he says, “I will finish my life as a student, not a teacher. There is so much emphasis on going to school to get a job now, and that’s important, but education isn’t something you just do and then it’s over with. Education is ongoing.” Some say that the classroom prepares students for the real world, but Dr. Slone believes that the classroom is the real world, and the social opportunities for learning in the classroom are important to developing character. “There is something very important about face to face interaction. Communication should be between and among people. Body language, eye contact, personal appearance, and presentation are all important aspects of education.”
Dr. Slone has added quite a few letters to his name during his life-long education, but the academic achievement he is proudest of is his status as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). However, Dr. Slone says he was originally an academic misfit, “I didn’t like history. I didn’t like science. I didn’t like literature. I finally stumbled onto accounting.”
After graduating from Alice Lloyd College in 1978, Dr. Slone went on to earn an MBA at the University of Kentucky. In 1981, he returned to ALC to teach but left years later to pursue a Juris Doctorate. After spending years practicing law, Dr. Slone decided it was time to follow his heart and return to the banks of Caney Creek for good. In 2001, Jerry Wayne returned to Alice Lloyd College and went on to earn a Doctorate in Education from the University of the Cumberlands. He credits God and his education for his successes, along with the drive to continually improve.
Part of what fuels Dr. Slone’s desire to continually improve is the ability to provide for the ones he cares about. Jerry Wayne and his wife, Holly, have enjoyed twenty-three years of marriage together and have two bright, talented children, Zane and Eden.
Jerry Wayne fondly recalls he and his wife’s first date on the second Wednesday in January of 1996. On that first date, Jerry bought Holly a bouquet of long stem roses. The next Wednesday, he sent her another bouquet of roses. On the Wednesday after that, there came another. Twenty-three years later, Dr. Slone has never missed a Wednesday. He comments about the flowers saying, “Sometimes we’ll be on vacation or out of town somewhere and I have to find a florist, but it always works out.”
Dr. Jerry Wayne Slone is a living testament to the power of education and the superiority of the liberal arts college experience. He states about education, “Knowledge can never be taken from you. Cars wear out, roses wilt after a week, even mountains can be torn down, but once the enduring flame of education is lit, it can never be extinguished.” Education is a rose that blooms in the soil of hard work and discipline, and the Purpose Road Philosophy espoused by Alice Lloyd College teaches students to tear down the mountains in their lives in order to use those stones to build the future of Appalachia.