Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2004 (2)

Inducted April 24, 2004




Bishop Edward Lewis Tullis '39


bishop tullis

Edward Lewis Tullis is the only graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College to be elected to the Methodist Episcopacy. Made a Bishop in 1972, Tullis presided over the Columbia, South Carolina, Area and then the Nashville, Tennessee, Area until his retirement in 1984. He served on the Board of Managers, the General Board of Missions, the Board of Managers of the Board of Discipleship, and the General Council on Finance and Administration.

Before being elected a Bishop, Tullis served 35 years as pastor in Methodist churches in Kentucky during which time he was also a Chaplain in the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Tullis has served as a trustee of twelve colleges and seminaries and is now serving a 40-year term as a director of the Magee Christian Education Fund.

Tullis remains active in retirement and has authored several books – First Sermons, Shaping The Church from the Mind of Christ and The Heart of Evangelism. His latest book, The Birth of The Book, evolved from his experience teaching adult Sunday School for the past twenty years at Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.


Luellen Pyles '44


luellen pyles

Luellen Pyles was successful in her business career with Burke Marketing and rose to the position of executive vice-president. She never distanced herself from her alma mater, however, regardless of her professional or personal life. She kept in touch, participated at every opportunity and continuously cultivated her classmates, keeping track of their whereabouts and nurturing her relationship with them.

As a result, alumni from the Winchester-era are extremely faithful and loyal to the programs and needs of the college. Pyles has made a lasting impact on the college and is one of the most influential graduates of KWC. Her student recruitment activities and the annual student send-off dinner she hosts, led to the establishment of the “Adopt-A-Freshman” program.


Betty McWhorter Gissoni '50


betty gissoni

Betty McWhorter Gissoni taught English at Paint Lick High School following graduation and became one of the first blind teachers in Kentucky. In 1952 she began graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania in connection with her studies at the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, to become certified as a home teacher of the adult blind.

Relocating back to Kentucky in 1956, Gissoni established a home teaching service for the blind, and in 1960 the Commonwealth instituted a state home teaching service based on her model. As a result, she became the first certified home teacher of the blind in Kentucky.

Gissoni served on the board of the Midwestern Conference of Home Teachers of the Blind and on the graduate council of Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Among her many awards were the Handicapped Professional Woman of the Year given by the Pilot Clubs of Kentucky and the Community Service Award for service to the blind awarded by the National Federation of the Blind.


Dr. Edward Lee Beavin '50


edward beavin

Edward Lee Beavin had a profound impact on hundreds of students as professor of Hebrew Bible. As an Old Testament scholar, his research and writing brought distinction to himself and national recognition to the college.

In 1961, Beavin wrote "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Teaching of Old Testament to Undergraduates," which was published in The Journal of Bible and Religion. Two years later he authored two essays – "The Wisdom Literature" and "Ecclesiasticus" – that were included in the new Interpreters One Volume Commentary On The Bible. These scholarly works so impressed Harvard University that they asked him to become a visiting Old Testament scholar.

Through academic visitations to teach and research at Harvard and other educational institutions, Beavin quickly became recognized as a biblical scholar. To add to his reputation, Beavin was chosen as second alternate for the first-ever Annual Distinguished Teacher Award from the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church. The annual KWC Beavin Lectures memorialize his legacy.


Dr. Douglas Reid Sasser '52


douglas sasser

Douglas Reid Sasser was a professor and administrator, and served as president of three colleges – Young Harris, a private, Methodist-affiliated two-year college located in the Appalachian mountains of Georgia; Pfeiffer University, a comprehensive United Methodist university with multiple campuses and delivery systems in the Charlotte, North Carolina area; and United Methodism’s Scarritt College in Nashville, Tennessee.

He is a well-known college administrator with a reputation for leadership in higher education. During his tenures as college president, he took an active leadership role in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the American College Association, the American Association of Junior Colleges, and the National Association of Methodist Colleges and Universities. Sasser chaired the continuation committee of the drama division of the National Council of Churches and the Regional Board of the Appalachian Adult Basic Education, and was elected to the executive committee for the Georgia Council of Private Colleges and Universities.

He is the author of The Urban University and the Arts, published by the University of North Carolina Press, and is a frequent lecturer on college and university campuses.


David E. Hocker '59


david hocker

David E. Hocker is chairman and chief executive officer of David Hocker & Associates, Inc. and has developed and managed real estate and shopping centers since 1959. His first shopping center – Wesleyan Park Plaza – opened in 1964, and since that time he has developed more than 40 shopping centers in 13 states containing more than 14 million square feet of retail space.

Hocker is a member of the board of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the trade association for the shopping center industry with more than 40,000 members in the United States and 40 foreign countries. He serves on the ICSC board of trustees and executive committee and was active many years as the ICSC Kentucky state director. He was elected vice-president of the organization in 1985 and chairman in 1989. He is also the recipient of Inc. Magazine’s “Arthur Young Entrepreneur of the Year” Award in the Real Estate Industry.

Hocker has served continuously on the KWC Board of Trustees since 1975 and holds the longest tenure as its chair with 12 years.


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