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LCC Honors Revered Educator

By George Lewis

Photo of Lynn Molloy and her portrait of Helen Reed
Lynn Molloy and her portrait of Helen Reed.

Reed, who died last year, taught at UK from 1948 until 1965. During the 1950s, Reed had as her students former UK Athletics Director C. M. Newton, former UK football coach Jerry Claiborne and former UK basketball coach Joe B. Hall. Hall and Newton had fond remembrances of Reed, which they shared in 2000 on the occasion of the establishment of a book fund in Reed’s honor.

 

Jan. 8, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Lexington Community College recently dedicated the Helen Reed Writing Center by unveiling a portrait of the venerable educator. Created by retired LCC math professor Lynn Molloy, the portrait now hangs in the writing center, which serves some 1,600 students each semester.

Monday’s ceremony seemed a fitting capstone to a teaching career that began in a one-room Iowa schoolhouse and spanned seven decades.

Not even a world war could come between Reed and her students. In 1942, she joined the WAACs and spent her enlistment as education officer at Welch Convalescent Hospital in Florida.

Following her discharge from the service in 1946 at the rank of captain, Reed used the GI Bill to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from George Peabody College and a doctorate from Indiana University.

Reed, who died last year, taught at UK from 1948 until 1965. During the 1950s, Reed had as her students former UK Athletics Director C. M. Newton, former UK football coach Jerry Claiborne and former UK basketball coach Joe B. Hall. Hall and Newton had fond remembrances of Reed, which they shared in 2000 on the occasion of the establishment of a book fund in Reed’s honor.

“ I remember her well,” Hall said. “She was a credit to the university, and one of the really influential professors that I had while I was at UK. She had the total respect of her students. She gave us an excellent background for the future, and we all owe her a tremendous amount for any success we've had.”

" She was more than a professor," Newton said. "She genuinely cared about students, and it showed in everything that she did. She loved her work, which was working with students. That's what I remember about her."

Reed retired in 1970. But retirement brought anything but relaxation for Reed, whose service continued more that 30 years. She taught part time at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Georgetown College and LCC. She traveled abroad each year to work with disadvantaged and troubled young people. She volunteered with Hospice of the Bluegrass and an Alzheimer’s disease support group, and she took classes as a UK Donovan Scholar.

UK Provost Mike Nietzel, LCC President Jim Kerley and Reed’s nephew Danny McCormick praised Reed for her contributions to education. They characterized her as selfless and tireless in her service to students.

Nietzel quoted something Reed said a couple of years before her death: "We all owe something to society. If we don't have time during our working years, then we can make our payments during retirement."

Kerley recalled finding Reed at her writing-center post relatively late one evening. The reason? It was the only time one particular student could meet with her.

McCormick said Reed probably would have chastised him for taking his daughter out of her high school English class to attend Monday’s ceremony


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