Two Berea Alumni Named College Trustees


Rocky S. Tuan and Betty H. Olinger were elected to the Berea College Board of Trustees at the Board’s April meeting. Both are alumni of Berea College.

Dr. Rocky Tuan

Dr. Rocky Tuan

Dr. Tuan, of Pittsburgh, PA, is the Founding Director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine where he also serves as the Arthur J. Rooney, Sr. Chair Professor and Executive Vice Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, with a joint appointment as Professor in the Department of Bioengineering.

Tuan directs a multidisciplinary research program, which focuses on orthopaedic research as a study of the biological activities that are important for the development, growth, function and health of musculoskeletal tissues, and the translation of this knowledge to develop stem cell and biomaterials based technologies that will regenerate and/or restore function to diseased and damaged skeletal tissues, particularly related to trauma and injuries. He also is Co-Director of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, a nationwide research consortium committed to the development of regenerative therapies for battlefield injuries.

A native of Hong Kong, China, Tuan completed his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Berea College. He received his Ph.D. from Rockefeller University in New York and conducted his Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Medicine at Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, respectively, in Boston.

Dr. Tuan’s career has included professorial appointments at the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, George Washington University and Georgetown University, as well as leadership position at the National Institutes of Health. At the University of Pittsburgh, Tuan was honored with an appointment as Distinguished Professor of Orthopedic Surgery in 2014, and received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award in 2015. He is also a recipient of the Carnegie Science Award in 2016. Dr. Tuan has published over 450 research papers, has lectured extensively, and is currently Editor of the developmental biology journal, BDRC: Embryo Today, and Founding Editor of Stem Cell Research and Therapy.

“If ‘Home is Where the Heart Is,’ then being elected to Berea’s Board of Trustees is truly like coming home! It is both an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to give back to the institution that provided me with the most transformative experience of my career,” Tuan said. “I look forward with purpose to being an active member of Berea’s community as it furthers its Great Commitments in the 21st century.”

Dr. Betty H. Olinger, of Berea, KY, has an extensive background in higher education and nursing. Most recently she retired after a decade serving as Chair of the School of Nursing at Kentucky State University, with responsibilities for administrative operations, budget, policy, student records, and accreditation processes, among others. Olinger previously served as Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs at Kentucky State University, Division Director for the Department of Public Health, and Program Coordinator for the Science Focus program at Berea College.

Dr. Olinger has held teaching appointments and advised nursing students at Newport Hospital School of Nursing, Berea College and Kentucky State University, where she was Professor of Nursing. Her publications include topics on strategies for increasing nursing workforce diversity and the recruitment and retention of nursing students. During her career, Dr. Olinger has presented widely at regional and national nursing conferences and she has been successful in obtaining numerous grants for equipment for nursing education and scholarships for disadvantaged nursing students.

Dr. Olinger is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Nursing Association, the National League for Nursing, the Kentucky Nursing Association, and the Kentucky League for Nursing.  She has held numerous offices on the state level.  She is active in community and civic engagement locally and regionally. She has served as a member and chair on the Berea Hospital Board of Directors and member and president of the Berea Kiwanis Club. In 2004, Olinger was appointed by the Mayor to the Berea Planning and Zoning Board on which she continues to serve. She also is currently serving as Chair of the Berea Housing Authority, a post she has held since 1991. 

Dr. Olinger is the recipient of a number of academic and community awards and recognitions.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Berea College, completed her MSN, EdD, and post-doctoral studies at the University of Kentucky.

“I am excited and humbled by the appointment to the Berea College Board of Trustees,” Olinger said. “As a high school graduate from Lancaster, KY, I had very limited resources to obtain my baccalaureate degree in Nursing. Berea College provided me with a foundation for critical thinking, a love and passion for learning, and a tremendous work ethic. This foundation provided me with the skills to help others and to recognize the obligation for giving back. As a product of Berea College, I – and countless other graduates – have been able to touch the lives of many students.  This was and continues to be ‘the Berea Way.’”

Categories: News, People
Tags: alumni, Betty H. Olinger, Rocky Tuan, trustees

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 40 states and 70 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.