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Cumberlands honors alumni during Founders’ Day/King celebration


Ray Lipps, class of 1970, received an honorary doctorate degree from University of the Cumberlands. Pictured in front of Lipps are some of the framed engravings of the first 24 presidents of the U.S., which Lipps presented to the University, all of which were on display during the Founders’ Day convocation.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – During its annual Founders’ Day and Martin Luther King Memorial celebration convocation, University of the Cumberlands honored two outstanding alumni. Ray Lipps, class of 1970, received an honorary doctorate degree and the late Huber F. White, class of 1923, posthumously received the Distinguished Alumni Award and was inducted into the University of the Cumberlands Alumni Hall of Honor.

White, a native of Williamsburg, attended Cumberland College from 1921 to 1923, where he served as captain of both the football and basketball teams. He graduated with an Associate of Arts degree, and enrolled at the University of Kentucky, in 1923, where he completed his undergraduate degree and went on to graduate from law school in 1927. He practiced law in Harlan and Middlesboro for 55 years and served as the city attorney for Middlesboro for a total of 30 years. Following in the footsteps of his father, a three-term mayor of Williamsburg, White served as mayor of Middlesboro from 1958 to 1962. He was married to the former Fay Cawood for 60 years, and he passed away in 1990.


Robert White, left, and Frank White, second from left, accept the Distinguished Alumni Award on behalf of their father, the late Hubert F. White, from Rich Prewitt, Alumni Board president. Hubert White was also inducted posthumously into Cumberlands’ Alumni Hall of Honor. Pictured at far right is Dave Bergman, director of Alumni Relations.

On behalf of their father, White’s sons, Robert C. White, of Knoxville, Tenn., and Frank M. White of Lexington, accepted the award from Rich Prewitt, president of Cumberlands’ Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Robert White expressed the family’s gratitude for the honor given his father and for the educational opportunities the elder White experienced at Cumberland.

“When he left Cumberland, he went on to pursue his studies in other places,” said White of his father. “But, he always maintained that the start he received on this campus was paramount to the success he achieved academically, later.”

Dr. Jim Taylor, UC president presented Lipps with an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree, saying, “[It is] because of your stellar success, your support and caring for your fellow man, and your commitment to making this world a better place.”

Lipps, of Powell, Tenn., founder and president of Esquire Galleries, a company that sells art at auctions throughout the U.S., has been one of Cumberlands’ most dedicated alumni. He has attended 44 straight homecomings and has been an avid supporter of the athletic programs at Cumberlands, attending hundreds of athletic events including many national tournament games. One of the founders of Cumberlands’ Athletic Hall of Fame, he instituted both the alumni homecoming auction, to support scholarships, and the Athletic Hall of Fame auction. He has also donated much of the framed artwork seen in campus buildings, for a total contribution in excess of $350,000.

Lipps, however, feels the greatest contribution he has made to Cumberland is the many students he has recruited, and during the ceremony, he introduced “potential future alumni” of Cumberlands in the audience, including a “member of the class of 2033.”

He also announced the establishment of the Judy Patton Lipps Memorial Scholarship, in honor of his late sister-in-law, of London, class of 1973, and he presented the University with hand-colored, framed engravings of the first 24 presidents of the U.S., created in 1888.

A native of London, Ky., Lipps was a student leader at Cumberland College who has continued to be active in many business, political and civic organizations. He served on the Cumberlands Alumni Association Board of Directors for more than 20 years in several leadership roles, including three terms as president. Inducted into Cumberlands’ Hall of Honor in 1991, he received the J. M. Boswell Outstanding Alumni Award in 1999, and in 2007, the University named a classroom in the Hutton School of Business the Ray Lipps Room.

Lipps is proud to be a graduate of University of the Cumberlands. “You know I coined the phrase, ‘Cumberlands, where all the Indians are Patriots,’” he said, referring to UC’s former and current mascots.

Lipps and his wife, Patricia Skeen Artman Lipps, residents of Powell, Tenn., are active members of Powell Presbyterian Church. He has two brothers, his twin Ralph, of London, and another brother, Abner of Frankfort, both of whom are also members of the class of 1970.

University of the Cumberlands - Ray Lipps - January 17, 2011 from University of the Cumberlands on Vimeo.