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William C. Condit

William C. Condit

"The real founder, the true friend of Pikeville College" -- Pikeville College Alumni, 1932

William Condit, born Feburary 2, 1841, followed his father, James H. Condit, into ministry and was the pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Ashland, Kentucky for 54 years. Tall and broad shouldered, he could be an intimidating presence, and many photographs left of him show a stern man with an intense expression. However, the descriptions left of Rev. Condit describe a kind man with a drive to help education the people of Central Appalachia.

Part of the Ebenezer Presbytery, Rev. Condit was chosen to help find a site that would be suitable for new school in Eastern Kentucky. At the time, the area suffered greatly from a lack of educational opportunities. There were few schools, and their teachers barely knew how to read and write themselves. School was also only in session for five months so that students could help with farm work.

Board of Trustees

Pikeville College Board of Trustees

In a report to the Synod, Rev. Condit explained the difficulty of traveling from Ashland into the "Highlands" of Kentucky, as he referred to the mountainous area of Eastern Kentucky. He talked of riding a horse through counties and seeing few churches and schools, and he pressed the area's need for both.

After traveling around Eastern Kentucky, Rev. Condit, along with Samuel B. Anderson and James P. Hendricks, chose the growing town of Pikeville as the site for the new school. Rev. Condit also served as one of the first members of the Board of Trustees.

Even with his duties in Ashland, Rev. Condit spent a great deal of time at the school he helped found. The old man "with a twinkle in his eye" was a well known figure among the students. He was the last speaker at the school's first Founders' Day celebration in 1925, and he the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Shortly before the second Founder's Week, on October 7, 1926, Rev. Condit passed away. His daughters later donated money for the construction of a president's house in his honor, and one of the current University of Pikeville dormitories, Condit Hall, is named for him.

 

Resources:

Kinder, Alice. (1989). Pikeville College Looks to the Hills, 1889-1989. Pikeville, KY: Pikeville College.

92-00 Pikeville College Collection. Special Collections and Archives, Frank M. Allara Library, University of Pikeville, Pikeville, Kentucky.


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