“I have seen an increase in memory and sharpness.”

Durell, 61

For going on four decades, Durell has dedicated himself to teaching communications to students at both the university and the high school levels in Boone County, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

A particular focus of Durell’s teaching has been how to communicate in a world that’s increasingly defined by our differences more than by our commonalities, or as his college course in electronic media broadcasting is officially titled, “Media in a Diverse Society.”

“I learned a long time ago that you can’t judge pass judgment on people,” he says. “It’s hard to do because everybody is different in some shape or form. But it’s so easy to draw a collective conclusion about other people based on our judgment of some individual, and I’ve never been one to do that.”

He adds, “I’ve been a teacher for 36 years and the success I’ve had is first and foremost because I know in this world of ours, not everyone is on the same page.”

In 2010, he was named Kentucky Teacher of the Year, a recognition of his dedication to the education of young people in the Blue Grass State. That award included a trip to the nation’s capital and a ceremony at the White House and opportunities to shake hands with the President and rub shoulders with other outstanding educators from all across America.

It may be just a coincidence that a guy who has received that kind of recognition and lectures students on subjects like “cultural pluralism” is actually not known as Durell but by his nickname, “Butch.” But that’s what his parents decided to call him instead of his given name that was his father’s name. His father passed away several years ago, and these days Butch keeps an eye on his 81-year-old mother who now lives next door to him in Florence, Kentucky.

About a year ago, he began to notice some changes in his mother. “My mom would lose her train of thought or just wasn’t as sharp or clear minded,” he relates. After seeing Prevagen commercials on TV he decided to give it to his mom. “Both my mother and I have been taking it now for six months. We both have seen an increase in our memory and sharpness. She seems quicker to recall information.”

Whether you call him Durell or just Butch, this is a teacher who has built a career and a life on the principle that good communications always begins with listening to the person who’s talking.