A musical composer, performer and teacher, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, and a decorated military veteran and former commander of the WKU ROTC will join WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni this fall.
Dr. David “Doc” Livingston, Rick Loomis and Retired Col. Gary “Mickey” Riggs will be inducted during WKU’s 2014 Homecoming celebration. The 23rd class of noted alumni will be inducted during a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 7. For information, contact the WKU Alumni Association at (270) 745-4395 or visit alumni.wku.edu.
Dr. David “Doc” Livingston (’51)
One of the most famous musicians ever to work in Kentucky, Dr. David “Doc” Livingston is a noted composer, performer and former teacher in both public schools and at WKU. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from WKU in 1951, his Master of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky in 1952, and completed his doctoral work in 1971 at Ohio State University.
Dr. Livingston began his professional career in music at age 15 when he arranged and played for a dance band in clubs and on radio. After graduating from high school, he joined the Army infantry but was later transferred to the Air Force to play with the 4th Air Corps Band at March Field in California, where he ultimately was assigned to play jazz saxophone.
After his military service, Dr. Livingston began his long teaching career, starting as a band director. Following an 18-year stint in public schools, he began his tenure at WKU, where he became a Professor and taught until his retirement in 1990. While at WKU, Dr. Livingston served as Director of Bands and taught courses in theory, composition and woodwinds.
A noted composer, Dr. Livingston’s works have been performed by the Ohio State Symphonic Band, the Ohio All-State Band, and the Detroit and Oklahoma City symphonies. He also composed music to commemorate the University of Kentucky’s Commonwealth Stadium dedication in 1976 and for the Kentucky Bicentennial.
As a top jazz performer on saxophone and keyboard, Dr. Livingston made two overseas tours with Billy Vaughn’s Hollywood Orchestra, and he has performed with some of the greatest jazz artists of our time, including Louis Armstrong and David Brubeck. In 1997, Dr. Livingston, along with singer and actress Rosemary Clooney, received the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Instrumental Music. He was again honored in 1998 by his induction into the WKU Music Wall of Fame. In 1999, Franklin County High School named the Dr. David Livingston Band Room in his honor.
Dr. Livingston, who lives in Bowling Green, has been married for 62 years to his wife, Joyce, and they have two children, three musical granddaughters, and nine great-grandchildren. Dr. Livingston’s influences as a musician and teacher have touched and changed the lives of thousands of students and music lovers alike throughout out the world.
Rick Loomis (’94)
Rick Loomis is an award-winning photojournalist with the Los Angeles Times. Having first become interested in the field through a high school internship at the Palm Beach Post, Loomis earned a Bachelor of Arts in Photojournalism with a minor in Latin American Studies from WKU in 1994, after which he joined the staff of the Los Angeles Times.
Loomis spent a month covering the aftermath of the September 11 attacks before following the United States Marine Corps as they invaded Afghanistan. In the following decade, he covered the war in Afghanistan extensively for more than two years. During that time, he also worked as an embedded journalist with the United States Army and Special Forces.
In 2003, Loomis again embedded with the United States Marine Corps to document the invasion of Iraq. In 2004, he covered the First Battle of Fallujah, also known as Operation Vigilant Resolve, and he has made several subsequent trips to report on the ongoing situation in Iraq.
Loomis has traveled the world documenting conflict and other issues in places like Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Vietnam, Kuwait, Mexico, Haiti and Cuba. Having worked in nearly 50 countries covering war, famine, earthquakes, political upheaval and the environment, a major career highlight for Loomis was being honored with the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for a series about the world’s oceans in decline.
He has also received the Robert F. Kennedy Award (2013, 2014), The Hillman Prize for Photo Journalism (2005, 2013), the Scripps Howard Foundation’s National Journalism Award (2007, 2012), and the NPPA’s Photographer of the Year. Loomis’s work has also been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, and is a recipient of the John B. Oakes Award for Outstanding Environmental Journalism.
A professional with varied teaching and lecturing experience, he has presented his work at USC, WKU, UCLA, Elon University (North Carolina), Northern Arizona State University, Cal State Fullerton, San Jose State, Indiana University and Ohio University. With a dedication to giving back to young photojournalists, Loomis has served as a faculty member for both the Eddie Adams Workshop and the Mountain Workshops in Kentucky.
He has been married to fellow Los Angeles Times photojournalist Liz. O. Baylen since 2011.
Retired Col. Gary “Mickey” Riggs (’58, ’74)
Retired Col. Gary “Mickey” Riggs is a distinguished U.S. Army veteran and former leader of the ROTC Program at WKU. A member of the football team, he earned his Bachelor of Science in English from WKU in 1958 and his Master of Arts in Education in 1974. After graduation, Riggs entered the U.S. Army in 1960, where he served as a member of the elite Special Forces known as the Green Berets, and completed four combat tours in Vietnam and Laos.
While Riggs was completing his Master’s Degree at WKU before taking his next assignment with the Special Forces, WKU President Dero Downing asked then-Maj. Riggs to take over the floundering ROTC program. Under his leadership, the program went from 63 cadets to 432 top-quality young men and women in just three years. His leadership, innovation and determination saved the program, which was in danger of termination.
Following his tour with WKU ROTC, Riggs continued his distinguished career with the Army. He commanded the 3rd Brigade, 2nd ROTC Region at Fort Knox and later commanded Camp McCall Training Facility at Fort Bragg where all U.S. Army Special Forces are trained. Riggs commanded the B Company Special Forces unit in Panama and the U.S. Military Group in Venezuela. He was personally requested by the Venezuelan Minister of Defense whom he had trained 20 years earlier. He also led a number of classified clandestine operations in foreign countries.
Riggs’ decorations include the Legion of Merit, eight Army Air Medals for gallantry in aerial combat, six Bronze stars for valor and bravery in combat, multiple Purple Hearts for combat wounds, the Combat Infantryman Badge, two Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, the Airborne Master Parachutist Badge, and many other foreign awards for bravery and service. He is a member of the WKU ROTC Hall of Fame.
He and his high school sweetheart, Margaret, were married for 59 years. Riggs resides in Bowling Green and has three sons and five grandchildren.
Contact: Tracy Morrison, (270) 745-4395.