BY: CHRIS McGEE
President Doug Whitlock was recognized at a reception held in honor of his service to the university and his approaching retirement.
Members of the Eastern community gathered March 29 at Walnut Hall in the Keen Johnson Building for his banquet. After the reception, a $50 plate dinner was held. The proceeds from the dinner went to the Doug and Joanne Whitlock scholarship fund.
Whitlock was the first in his family to attend college. He worked at The Progress as sports editor, managing editor and editor-in-chief before graduating.
After graduating Eastern, Whitlock answered the call of “Uncle Sam” and served in the U.S. Army for a brief period.
During his time at Eastern as an administrator, he served as executive assistant to the president and as an instructor in computer science and journalism.
Kishore Acharya, project manager for Capacity Planning and Engineering Services, said he was impressed with Whitlock’s character from the first time he met him.
“I was a graduate assistant in the computer department from 2002-2004,” Acharya said. “He was the guest professor I was working with, and he was a gentle guy to work with and talk to. I was afraid that when he became president he wouldn’t remember a ‘low on the totem pole’ graduate assistant, but he did.”
Acharya said Whitlock has led the university through adversity adding that the next president’s job will be easier because of Whitlock’s work.
“Because of him [Whitlock], we are on the right track,” Acharya said.
Gary Barksdale, executive director of human resources, also praised Whitlock’s service.
“I have enjoyed working with him,” Barksdale said. “He has always been very supportive of our department. The next president will have some big shoes to fill, particularly when it comes to relating with people.”
Whitlock said he couldn’t pinpoint one aspect he enjoyed the most during his tenure as president, but he did comment on the impact students have had on him.
“I’ve enjoyed the contact with students,” Whitlock said.
Whitlock said he has enjoyed watching students be successful both in college and after graduation. Additionally, he said he has enjoyed working with the alumni.
“The whole experience has been outstanding,” Whitlock said.
Whitlock will officially retire July 1.