“We want all students to know that at Cumberlands there is a clear and affordable path to a college degree. That’s the Cumberlands Commitment.”

President Larry L. Cockrum


Jennifer grew up in Williamsburg and wanted the chance to attend college, but she was afraid her family couldn’t afford it.
She said, “My sister and I both benefited from scholarships we received from Cumberlands. Those are what made it possible for us both to be able to walk onto campus as students and later walk across the stage at graduation.”
Jennifer graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2000, then went on to receive her master’s degree, Rank I, and doctorate. Now, she is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School at Cumberlands. She usually focuses her time on leadership research in higher education, but she has also explored education topics relevant to K-12 education throughout the United States. She has been recognized by the Kentucky legislature for her work in adolescent literacy in southeastern Kentucky. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their teenage son and attending athletic events at all levels.
Jennifer Simpson
Williamsburg, Kentucky
Jordan – or, as everyone on campus calls her, JZ – came to Cumberlands in part because she wanted a college close to home. But within her first year, she was borrowing money from her grandmother so she could continue her education at the university. Then Cumberlands reset its tuition, and that changed everything for the better.
She said, “First, they cut tuition. Then I got a job as an RA my sophomore year. And then Cumberlands included free textbooks, which was heaven-sent! I have only been paying twenty-five dollars out of pocket at the most per semester ever since.”
Thanks to the funding the university provides to JZ, not only has she continued her education at Cumberlands, but she has also poured into countless young women on campus as their RA. She is helping them stay safe and healthy, getting them plugged in on campus so they can make memories and create lifelong friendships, and assisting her residents and fellow Residence Life workers with anything else they need.

After graduation, JZ hopes to work in video production, with goals to (1) meet as many new people as possible, and (2) to use her work as a ministry opportunity.

Jordan Zecchini
Jellico, Tennessee
Lee’s life motto has for decades been, “Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true.” He saw the quote on TV one day as a young man, and it stuck with him. He put the quote on the blackboard of every class he taught for nearly 40 years so it would stick with his students too. Over the years, Lee won several awards for his outstanding teaching and coaching; he coached football, basketball, track, swimming, and slow-pitch softball over the course of his career.
The primary reason Lee attended Cumberlands was because he’d won a basketball scholarship. His family was quite poor, and none of his close relatives had graduated high school, so the chance to earn a college education excited Lee.
“Cumberlands will always hold a special place in my heart. They are my college family,” he said. “When I spent my first night on campus, it was the first time in my life that I fell asleep away from home and family. The people there eased the transition for me and made me feel at home. I was struck by the friendliness of campus. The comradery of the basketball team, the fans, and the faculty are all fond memories I have of Cumberlands.”
Lee is now retired and living close to family. He helps out with his grandson, Jordan, whom he adores. In his free time, he visits family and friends, is involved with a local church, and does woodworking projects in his garage.
Lee Bishop
Radcliff, Kentucky
Bailey is from Barbourville, Kentucky, but he reminds people that, “If you are from there, you pronounce it Barville.” He is involved with campus ministries, where he enjoys spending time in community with other believers, and is an assistant to Appalachian Ministries (AM), sharing the Gospel to children in the surrounding area.
“Being a transfer student and coming into my sophomore year at Cumberlands was a life-changing decision,” Bailey said. “I never knew that a university 30 minutes away from my hometown would reshape the way I view the world and aim to change it. Cumberlands is equipping me with leadership opportunities and building my experience serving humbly in ministry.”
Bailey feels he can truly be himself on campus, and he finds joy living at a university where his fellow students – and the faculty and staff – all want to see each other grow in knowledge, discipline, and morals. He has made friendships and enjoyed experiences that he will cherish for the rest of his life.
Through the Office of Campus Ministries, Bailey has been given the opportunity to serve as a leader at one of the seven sites that Appalachian Ministries (AM) visits every week, and, more recently, to serve as an assistant for the AM program. Through those leadership opportunities, Bailey has strengthened character attributes such as being empathetic rather than sympathetic for families and children who have had to face much uncertainty in their lives.
Bailey Lundy
Barbourville, Kentucky
Amanda was raised in Knox County, Kentucky and completed her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, with minors in biology and mathematics, while representing Cumberlands as a campus ambassador in the Office of Admissions. After graduation, she earned her medical doctorate (MD) at the University of Kentucky and subsequently joined the faculty at Duke University following completion of anesthesiology residency as well as two fellowships.
“Cumberlands pushed me toward excellence,” said Amanda. “A key component of that was the smaller class size because it truly tailored the educational experience. My professors led by example inside the classroom and out. Cumberlands offered me my first opportunity to step outside my comfort zone, challenge my pre-existing way of thinking, and learn something new.”
Amanda is now an assistant professor at Duke University School of Medicine as well as a neurosurgical anesthesiologist and intensivist. Her greatest passion is caring for those with complex brain tumors, brain aneurysms, or spinal deformities in the operating room. She also spends a significant amount of time providing comprehensive care for the sickest, most critical patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). Amanda is an active clinician scientist, a mentor for medical students, a peer reviewer of multiple publications, a critical care stroke champion at her hospital, a residency application committee interviewer, and a frequent lecturer. She is grateful for the opportunity she has to instill Cumberlands values like work ethic, excellence, and mentorship in others in the medical field.
Amanda Faulkner
Durham, North Carolina
Dr. Keith Gannon is CEO and majority owner of the Boneal Enterprise, a portfolio of business units that serves government agencies, contractors, and commercial clients in a broad range of industries. He leads the Boneal Enterprise Executive Team, serves as Chairman of the Boneal Enterprise Board of Directors, and is a member of the Boneal Aerospace Board of Directors. Keith completed his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics at Cumberlands before earning his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Vanderbilt University. He serves on the Board of Trustees at Cumberlands.
Georgetta, is a CPA and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and principal of Boneal Enterprise. She also serves as corporate finance executive. She is currently a member of the Boneal Enterprise executive team, secretary of the Boneal Enterprise Board of Directors, and secretary of the Boneal Aerospace Board of Directors. Georgetta earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting and mathematics from Cumberlands and serves on the Board of Trustees at the university.
Dr. Keith and Georgetta (Hollon) Gannon
Mt. Sterling, Kentucky