Three new members will be inducted into WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni

Elliott Pratt

Three new members will be inducted into the 22nd class of WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni on Oct. 25.

Dan Cherry, John Minton Jr. and Greg Smith will be inducted during WKU’s 2013 homecoming celebration at a luncheon at the Sloan Convention Center.

Brig. Gen. Dan Cherry is the grandson of WKU founder Dr. Henry Hardin Cherry and is a retired Commander of the United States Air Force demonstration air team, The Thunderbirds. 

Cherry has served on the WKU Board of Advisors, Boards of College Heights Foundation, WKU Research Foundation, and the Center for Information Technology Enterprises (CITE).

Cherry has earned multiple military awards such as the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with one oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with nine oak leaf clusters, and the Air Medal with 34 oak leaf clusters.

Cherry has written book titled My Enemy, My Friend – a Story of Reconciliation from the Vietnam War, about reuniting with a Vietnamese pilot whom he shot down during the Vietnam War. Cherry was inducted into the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame in October 2000.

John Minton Jr. is the son of WKU’s fifth president Dr. John Minton. Minton Jr. serves on the board of Conference of Chief Justices and the Council of State Governments.

He was elected to the Kentucky Supreme Court in 2006 and was sworn in as Kentucky’s fifth chief justice in 2008, then was elected for a second term in 2012.

He was honored in 2003 by the Kentucky Bar Association with the Outstanding Judge Award and was named Distinguished Jurist in 2012 by the UK College of Law Alumni Aossociation.

Greg Smith was a basketball standout at WKU in the 1960s. Smith was a crucial part of breaking the racial barriers as one of the first African-American players to integrate in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Smith was drafted in the 1968 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks and won an NBA championship with the team in 1971, making him the only WKU alumnus with an NBA championship ring.

Smith spent time with the Houston Rockets before finishing his career with the Portland Trail Blazers and taking on a career in media sales.

Smith was one of 15 members on the WKU Centennial Basketball Team in 2006 and was inducted into WKU’s Athletic Hall of Fame the same year. Smith was also honored at halftime of WKU’s ‘70’s night’ in Diddle Arena last season when the Hilltoppers defeated Louisiana Lafayette.