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Colleagues Establish Nursing Scholarship in honor of Retiring WKCTC Vice President

Published on May 23, 2017

Paducah, KY (05/23/2017) —Dr. Tena Payne was momentarily speechless after recently learning that her friends and colleagues at West Kentucky Community and Technical College had established a scholarship in her honor.

"I'm a little lost for words," Dr. Payne told the audience during WKCTC's spring nurse pinning ceremony May 6 in the Luther R. Carson Four River Center. "All I can say is Wow."

WKCTC President Anton R. Reece said the scholarship was established in recognition of Dr. Payne's 31 years of service to the college. The scholarship will benefit nursing students at the college. Dr. Payne, vice president of academic affairs and former dean of nursing, will retire in June.

While presenting the award at the end of the college's nurse pinning ceremony, Shari Gholson, dean of nursing, said Dr. Payne's legacy lies with each person she has touched over the years. "You may have served the college for 31 years," Gholson said. "but your influence on the profession of nursing and community college education will continue on, well beyond years that we can count."

Before earning her doctorate degree in higher education from the University of Kentucky in 2000, Dr. Payne began her nursing career in 1971 as a full-time nurse aide and worked in various healthcare positions as she earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from Murray State University in 1976 and a master's degree in nursing from the University of Evansville in 1985.

Dr. Payne joined what was then Paducah Community College in August 1985 as a nurse instructor. She worked in the nursing division as a faculty member until 1992 when she became the dean of nursing. Dr. Payne has served as the college's vice president of academic affairs since 2006.

Speaking during WKCTC's pinning ceremony May 6, Dr. Payne encourage more than 60 new nurses at the ceremony to make the most of their careers and to never stop learning. The pinning ceremony is a symbolic welcoming of recently graduated nurses into the profession.

"I'm very proud of the graduates of our nursing programs," she said. "I see them everywhere in western Kentucky. They provide nursing care in many settings. They are teachers in our program; they are school nurses; they are nurse practitioner; mid-wives, researchers, administrators and entrepreneurs. I've been a nurse for 41 years, and I know that the skills that we learn such as problem solving, communication, organization, collaboration, assertiveness, determination, compassion and understanding, go far in any field."

Donations to the Dr. Tena Payne Scholarship at WKCTC can be made payable to Paduach Junior College Inc., the foundation of West Kentucky Community and Technical College, PO Box 7380, Paducah, KY 42002-7380.