Alumni in the News
Congratulations to COL (Ret.) Micky Riggs for being inducted into the 2014 WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.
Retired U.S. Army Col. Gary “Mickey” Riggs, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Rick Loomis and musician David “Doc” Livingston entered the Western Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni on Friday.
Riggs, 83, who resurrected a declining ROTC program at WKU and who also worked with Jimmy Feix to help save the football program in the 1990s, said he was just doing his job, sandwiching his WKU duties with a 27-year career in the U.S. Special Forces that took him around the world.
“I love Western. I told my boys that they could go to any school that we could afford to send them to as long as it was in Bowling Green, Kentucky,” Riggs told about 600 audience members at the Sloan Convention Center.
Riggs, who received an undergraduate degree in 1958 and his master’s in 1974, said one of the reasons he loves WKU is how the university reached out to him when his stepfather died. The university provided train tickets and money for him and his high school sweetheart, Margaret, to attend the funeral.
He and Margaret were married for 59 years. As a young couple, they made the move with one child from Duke University to WKU, where Riggs played football. Margaret got a job at Holley Carburetor, and Riggs swept out the dorm for Coach E.A. Diddle.
“When you’ve got a little one and you are 19 years old, the most important thing was your kid and your wife,” said Riggs, who referred to Margaret as “The Boss.” He said that trip from North Carolina to Bowling Green started his second love affair. “I fell in love with this place – big time. I cherish this university on the hilltop.”
WKU ROTC has established a Pershing Rifles Chapter as of August 2014.