PIKEVILLE, Ky. -- James Hurley, who will become president at the University of Pikeville next year, says he has a plan to make the institution a leader in Central Appalachia during the next six years.
Hurley told the Appalachian News-Express that the university must take five important steps to achieve that vision.
Those steps include continuing to implement a surplus budget, strengthening the school's endowment and financial viability, focusing on recruiting and retaining students, improving the campus experience for students and aiming for education excellence.
Hurley will become the first alumnus of the school to serve as its president when he takes the office July 1, 2013. The current president, former Gov. Paul Patton, plans to step down from the role and serve as chancellor at the school.
Hurley said his background has prepared him for the upcoming role.
"As a leader you can't be scared or pessimistic," he said "I'm very optimistic. I've had a lot of experiences to prepare me for the job. My P-12 background, serving as a teacher; a coach; assistant principal; and principal has served me well. It's prepared me for the challenges."
He called working for the University of Pikeville "a labor of love."
"Professionally, it was my first love outside my faith and my family," he said. "My hobby is work. I don't have a lot of other hobbies."