Distinguished Kentuckian

Distinguished Kentuckian

A series of KET productions profiling Kentuckians whose leadership in government, education, the arts, journalism, or other fields of public service has had a lasting positive impact on the lives of the citizens of the Commonwealth.

All Past Episodes

Adron Doran

11:00 | #128 | TV-G

An interview with Adron Doran, former president of Morehead State University and Kentucky House speaker. Between March 1954 and January 1977, Doran grew Morehead's enrollment from 700 to 7,500 and brought integration to the campus. A 1991 KET production.

A.D. Albright

28:30 | #127 | TV-G

A.D. Albright was president of Northern Kentucky University during perhaps the most critical period in its early history. He guided the school to maturity, doubling enrollment to more than 10,000 and overseeing $40 million in construction projects that gave an identity to the sprawling Highland Heights campus. A 1991 KET production.

Lillie Chaffin

28:30 | #126 | TV-G

An interview with Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet Lillie Chaffin. In 1974, she was designated by the state legislature as an associate poet laureate of Kentucky. A 1979 KET production.

Carl Perkins

59:02 | #125 | TV-G

An interview with U.S. Rep. Carl D. Perkins, a Democrat who served Eastern Kentucky as a member of the House of Representatives for more than three decades. A 1977 KET production.

Wilson Wyatt Sr.

58:47 | #124 | TV-G

World War II-era Louisville mayor Wilson Wyatt Sr. also served as lieutenant governor under Bert T. Combs from 1959 to 1963. In 1968, Wyatt played a significant role at the Democratic National Convention by working out a compromise over the party's platform position on the Vietnam War. A 1977 KET production.

Harry Caudill

58:57 | #123 | TV-G

Author Harry Caudill is interviewed by Louisville journalist Bob Schulman. Caudill, author of Night Comes to the Cumberlands, is credited with focusing national attention on Appalachia and helping to launch the federal War on Poverty. A 1977 KET production.

Father Ralph Beiting

58:54 | #122 | TV-G

A conversation with Father Ralph Beiting, a Roman Catholic priest and founder of the Christian Appalachian Project. Beiting began dreaming of helping people in Appalachia help themselves out of poverty in 1946 when, as a seminarian, he accompanied several priests on preaching trips to the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. A 1976 KET production.

Leslie Combs II

58:44 | #121 | TV-G

Horseman Leslie Combs II, founder of Spendthrift Farm, was a leading owner and breeder of thoroughbred horses. Combs revitalized the practice of syndicating stallions, beginning with Beau Pere, whom he syndicated to 20 investors for $5,000 each. He later syndicated champions Nashua, Majestic Prince, and Raise a Native. A 1976 KET production.

Thomas D. Clark

58:43 | #120 | TV-G

Kentucky's most notable historian, Dr. Thomas D. Clark, personally saved a large portion of the state's printed records from destruction. Those documents later became a core collection at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Often referred to as the "Dean of Historians," Clark also wrote A History of Kentucky, published in 1937 and still considered the standard history of the Commonwealth. A 1976 KET production.

Eleanor Churchill

57:43 | #119 | TV-G

Eleanor Churchill cofounded Churchill Weavers in Berea with her husband, D. Carroll Churchill. Her innate flair for combining colors and textures soon made her the company's primary designer, and she also managed and marketed the business to national renown. A 1976 KET production.

Rufus B. Atwood

58:29 | #118 | TV-G

Rufus B. Atwood served as president of Kentucky State College (now university) from 1929 to 1962. While improving educational opportunities for African Americans and bringing full accreditation to the college, he also led the battle for desegregated education in Kentucky in the 1940s. A 1976 KET production.

Adolph Rupp

58:39 | #117 | TV-G

Adolph Rupp, one of the most successful coaches in the history of college basketball, coached the University of Kentucky men's basketball team from 1930 to 1972 and built the program into a national powerhouse. A 1975 KET production.

John Jacob Niles

58:54 | #116 | TV-G

Legendary singer/songwriter John Jacob Niles was also a tireless advocate for folk music who collected traditional songs and inspired others to help in the preservation work. Some of his memorable compositions include "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair" and "I Wonder as I Wander." A 1975 KET production.

Barry Bingham Sr.

57:13 | #115 | TV-G

A profile of Barry Bingham Sr., patriarch of the family that dominated local media in Louisville for several decades. The Binghams owned the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times newspapers as well as WHAS radio and television. A 1975 KET production.

Joy Bale Boone

59:01 | #114 | TV-G

A profile of the noted poet, literary critic, and editor who founded the Kentucky literary magazine Approaches (later Kentucky Poetry Review). A 1975 KET production.

Chloe Gifford

58:38 | #113 | TV-G

Chloe Gifford, the first woman graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, passed the state bar examination at the age of 21. She taught at Sayre School in Lexington and then went to work at UK. A 1974 KET production.

Ed Prichard

01:41:23 | #112 | TV-G

A legendary figure at Princeton and Harvard Law School, Ed Prichard possessed an extraordinary intellect and political savvy that led to a series of appointments in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal administration—all before Prichard turned 30. But in 1948, he was sentenced to six months in federal prison for ballot-stuffing. He struggled with depression for years but emerged to apply his talents to the civil rights movement and education reform in Kentucky. A 1974 KET production.

Bert Combs

01:06:28 | #111 | TV-G

Bert T. Combs served as governor of Kentucky from 1959 to 1963. He created a merit system for state government workers that is still in place today, appointed the state's first Human Rights Commission, and ordered the desegregation of all public accommodations in Kentucky. In this 1974 KET production, he is interviewed by education reform advocate Ed Prichard.

Margaret Willis

58:50 | #110 | TV-G

Margaret Willis served as state librarian from 1954 to 1972, under six different governors. A 1977 KET production.

Earl D. Wallace

58:40 | #109 | TV-G

In 1961, well-known Kentucky businessman and civic leader Earl D. Wallace spearheaded the effort to restore the Shaker village in Mercer County. He remained chairman of the board of the new nonprofit education corporation Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill until his death in 1990. This interview and tribute was taped in October 1982. A KET production.

Robert Martin

01:00:13 | #108 | TV-G

As the sixth president of Eastern Kentucky University, Robert Martin guided the school through a period of great growth between July 1960 and September 1976. Following his retirement from EKU, he was elected to the Kentucky Senate. A 1978 KET production.

William H. Neal

58:30 | #107 | TV-G

A profile of William H. Neal, a civic leader from Owensboro. Neal talks about his first job as a newspaper carrier at the age of 9, his aspirations of becoming a professional baseball player, and his 36-year career with Western Kentucky Gas Company. A 1985 KET production.

Morton Holbrook

57:59 | #106 | TV-G

Morton Holbrook, who began his practice in the Owensboro firm of U.S. Rep. Glover H. Cary and Judge Wilbur K. Miller, became one of Western Kentucky's foremost lawyers. He also worked tirelessly to improve higher education throughout the state. Veteran journalist Al Smith hosts. A 1989 KET production.

Mary Helen Byck

28:41 | #105 | TV-G

Louisville businesswoman Mary Helen Byck was also a well-respected community leader whose interests ranged from support of the arts to politics and social activism. A 1979 KET production.

O. Leonard Press

58:02 | #103 | TV-G

A profile of KET's founding executive director, O. Leonard Press. His reminiscences about the early days of public broadcasting in Kentucky provide a fascinating glimpse of people, places, and events spanning a 40-year period from 1952 to 1992. A 1992 production of Video Editing Services, Lexington.

Francis and Louise Hutchins

57:06 | #102 | TV-G

Berea College's fifth president, Francis Hutchins, and his wife, Louise, were both advocates for international education. Berea's Center for International Education is named for them. A 1976 KET production.

Smith D. Broadbent Jr.

28:40 | #101 | TV-G

At various times, agriculturist, businessman, and civic leader Smith Broadbent Jr. served as president of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, the Kentucky Seed Association, the Kentucky State Fair Board, and the Thomas Poe Cooper Foundation. A 1979 KET production.

Everett Moore

55:10 | #104 | TV-G

A profile of Everett Moore, one-time president and chairman of the board of Fruit of the Loom. Born in Franklin County, Moore joined the Union Underwear Company in the early 1930s and worked his way up to vice president in 1940. Union Underwear became Fruit of the Loom in 1959. Moore died in April 1993 at the age of 85. A 1984 KET production.

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