The inaugural class of the Warren County Public Schools Hall of Distinguished Alumni includes 12 graduates of Warren County high schools who have distinguished themselves in fields as diverse as agriculture, academics, athletics, politics, and the legal profession.
After considering applications for the inaugural class since mid-December, the seven-member selection committee came up with an even dozen alumni with impressive credentials.
“This first class of inductees is an impressive group,” says Warren County Board of Education Vice Chairman Mike Wilson. “The 12 who were selected have all accomplished great things in a variety of fields. I think it’s great that we have started honoring our distinguished alumni in this way. It’s a wonderful honor for them, and it also presents an example for our current students. It gives them something to aspire to.”
Likewise, Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Tim Murley believes the Hall of Distinguished Alumni will be an asset to the school district. “I love the idea,” Murley says. “Our district has had so many graduates who have done such amazing things. We need to recognize them and celebrate their accomplishments. The induction of these first members will be a proud day for Warren County Schools.”
The induction of this inaugural class will take place on Saturday, May 18 at the Carroll Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green. The inductees:
-- Dr. Kenneth Bastin, a 1980 graduate of Warren Central High School now living in Wisconsin. Dr. Bastin earned his bachelor’s degree in Physics and Chemistry at Western Kentucky University (WKU) and his Doctor of Medicine degree at Vanderbilt University. He has dedicated his career to treatment of cancer patients and has helped develop new treatments for the disease. He is now Clinical Director of Radiation Oncology at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee.
-- Dr. Jenks Britt, a 1962 graduate of Warren County High School now living in Bowling Green. Dr. Britt earned his bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Biology at WKU and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Auburn University. He has practiced or taught veterinary medicine for the past 42 years. He was a partner/owner of Logan County Animal Clinic for 23 years and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine for five years. Since 1998, he has been a professor or department head in the WKU Department of Agriculture.
-- David Clark, a 1986 graduate of Warren Central High School now living in Adams, Tennessee. Mr. Clark was an active-duty Army helicopter pilot from 1986 until his retirement in 2011. He flew combat helicopter missions in Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-91), Invasion of Haiti (1994), Iraq (2003-08), and Afghanistan (2005). His military awards include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Stars, and 10 Air Medals. Among his career highlights was leading the helicopter assault to rescue POW Jessica Lynch in 2003. Clark now works as a civilian contractor to the U.S. Army designing future Army special operations aircraft cockpits and components.
-- Daymeon Fishback, a 1996 graduate of Greenwood High School now living in Birmingham, Alabama. One of the greatest athletes ever to attend a Warren County high school, Fishback was the first player from Warren County to be named Kentucky Mr. Basketball when he earned that honor in 1996. He is still Greenwood’s all-time leading scorer with 2,214 points. He enjoyed a stellar career at Auburn University, playing on a team that finished 29-4 in 1998-99 and finishing as one of the school’s top five 3-point shooters. Fishback played professional basketball in Europe before returning to Alabama, where he now works as a financial advisor. He is also a college basketball color analyst with Fox Sports South, ESPN, and The Auburn Network.
-- Dr. Sharron Francis, a 1962 graduate of Warren County High School now living in Nashville. She graduated from WKU in 1965 with a degree in biology then earned her doctorate in Medical Physiology from Vanderbilt University in 1970. Dr. Francis completed postdoctoral work at Washington University in St. Louis and the National Heart and Lung Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. She joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1975 and works as a research professor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. Her research, which focuses on mechanisms cells use to regulate their functions, has contributed to treatment of hypertension, asthma, diabetes, and male impotence. In 2008, Dr. Francis was inducted into the WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni.
-- Charles Hardcastle, a 1951 graduate of Alvaton High School now living in Bowling Green. A 1956 graduate of WKU, Hardcastle distinguished himself in the military, attaining the rank of captain. For the past 50 years, he has built a successful career in business and politics while also earning accolades for his service to the community. He served terms as Bowling Green mayor and as a Warren County magistrate, and he has spearheaded many community-service projects through his work with the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club. A longtime partner in BG Chemical, Hardcastle has also had his hand in businesses such as Bowling Green Paper, WBKO Television, and Citizens First Bank.
-- Clemette Haskins, a 1983 graduate of Warren Central High School now living in Campbellsville. One of the greatest athletes in the history of Warren County high school sports, Haskins was the first Warren County player to be named Kentucky Miss Basketball and led Warren Central to the 1983 state championship. She then enjoyed a stellar career at WKU, leading the Lady Toppers to two consecutive NCAA Tournament Final Four appearances and earning All-America recognition. A 1987 graduate of WKU, Haskins coached women's college basketball for 10 years and was head coach at the University of Dayton for four years. But her accomplishments aren't limited to athletics. Haskins has a Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts degree from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona and a Master of Divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theology Seminary. She is working on a doctorate in Religion at Claremont Lincoln University.
-- Jonathan Holland, a 2000 graduate of Greenwood High School now living in Memphis. Holland was selected in 2010 for the prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Fellowship and spent 10 months developing and conducting courses in Practical English with a concentration on American culture, history, political issues, and international affairs at Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University in the Ukraine. A cum laude graduate of WKU, with degrees in History and Social Studies, Holland earned master's degrees in Political Science and Higher Education at the University of Louisville. Since September 2011, he has been Study Abroad Advisor at the University of Memphis. Holland has also distinguished himself in community service, twice successfully donating bone marrow to help a child and an adult stricken with serious illnesses.
-- Dr. James Lafferty, a 1947 graduate of South Warren High School now living in Sapphire, North Carolina. Dr. Lafferty studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky, graduating with honors in 1955 after having his education interrupted by a stint in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Michigan and was a faculty member at the University of Kentucky from 1957 until 1989. A professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, he developed and implemented the Graduate Program in Biomedical at UK and was Director of the Wenner-Gren Biomedical Engineering Research Laboratory. Among his career accomplishments is design of Cockpit Controls and Instrumentation for the Transmitter-Receiver Unit for Weapons Control on the Convair F-102 while with Hughes Aircraft Company. From 1990 until 2008 he was president of the Lafferty Engineering consulting firm, serving as an expert in the areas of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering. He has been published in numerous scholarly journals, including co-authoring an article on Space Flight Applications for the Journal of Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine.
-- Dr. Jackie Lawrence, a 1972 graduate of Warren East High School now living in Ashburn, Virginia. After graduating with a perfect 4.0 grade point average from WKU in 1976, Dr. Lawrence earned master’s and doctoral degrees in Computer Science at the University of Missouri-Rolla. During a distinguished career in the high-tech world of robotics and computers, he has worked for General Electric, Lockheed-Martin, and Inter-National Research Institute. As a Department of Defense contractor, Dr. Lawrence developed a set of software applications, integration tools, and techniques that were implemented department-wide for Command-and-Control Systems. These processes, procedures, and tools enabled the Department of Defense to replace its obsolete World Wide Military Command and Control System at 512 military commands throughout the world.
-- Amy Milliken, a 1989 graduate of Warren East High School now living in Bowling Green. A graduate of WKU and the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Milliken is Warren County Attorney. She began her prosecutorial career immediately upon being admitted to the Bar in 1996 as an Assistant Warren County Attorney. She was appointed as Warren County Attorney on April 1, 2004 and elected to the post in November of that year. Milliken is the first female to hold the office of Warren County Attorney. Active in the community during her career, Milliken has served on the Board of Directors at the Family Enrichment Center, Hope Harbor, Barren River Child Advocacy, and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
-- Billy Ray Smith, a 1961 graduate of Warren County High School now living in Bowling Green. He earned a degree in agriculture from WKU in 1965 and has since fashioned a stellar career in agriculture, politics, and public service. Smith managed a grain elevator and livestock feed products company for nearly 30 years and also served in the Kentucky General Assembly for 14 years. In 1996, he was elected Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture. Four years later, he became the first person in state history to succeed himself in that office. Smith’s exemplary business and political careers have earned him numerous accolades. Among them: the Public Service to Forages Award, Associate Member of the Year Award by the Kentucky Pork Producers, Man of the Year Award by Progressive Farmer, Outstanding Young Farmer in Kentucky, and WKU Agriculture Alumnus of the Year.