John H. Heick
A 1950 graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, John Heick grew up on his family farm in Prospect. Heick followed in his father’s footsteps and chose to attend UK and major in agriculture. After completing one semester, Heick joined the Air Corps and served in World War II. Upon returning from war, he came back to UK in 1946 to complete his degree.
Heick was a part of a dramatic change in the college during the post-war years. With the introduction of the GI Bill, enrollment of undergraduate men in agriculture jumped from 62 in 1944 to 884 in 1948.
During his time at UK, Heick was elected president of his fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau. Upon graduation, Heick returned home to manage several farms, including his family farm. After 15 years, Heick began work as a field assigned farm appraiser for Federal Land Bank. Heick became president of the Federal Land Bank Association in Lexington in 1977 and remained in the position until his retirement in 1985.
Heick was an active member of what was known at the time as the Agriculture Alumni Association. He was elected president of the association in 1985, after serving several years on the board. Heick was a strong advocate for agriculture and the college. He and his wife, Betty Jo, established an undergraduate scholarship and the John H. Heick Professorship in Soil Science.
The Heicks provided the funds to renovate a portion of the E. S. Good Barn to create the John H. and Betty Jo Denton Heick Agriculture Alumni Board Room. John believed the association needed a permanent home to hold meetings and activities. Through their generosity, the current alumni board of directors has a place to call home and the college has a facility to use for meetings and events involving students, faculty and alumni.
Heick also served as the president of the Bourbon County Soil Conservation Board; chair of the Licking River Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council; was a member of the Burley Cooperative board; and served in many leadership roles with the Paris First Christian Church including chairman of the board.
John and Betty were charter members of the college’s Scovell Society and were UK Fellows. John received the Agriculture Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1975.