By Ariel C. Emberton, student news writer, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “CU is and will always be a part of who and what we are, whether we are a student, faculty, staff or alumni. So, embrace your heritage and history as you make your mark,” Ginny Flanagan, part-time special assistant to the president of Campbellsville University, said.
Flanagan, a 1965 alumna who served as Campbellsville University’s director of the Virginia Ponser Flanagan Technology Training Center and director of alumni, public relations and TV, was the Heritage Day chapel guest speaker Sept. 5.
Flanagan welcomed the students back from their summer, filled with mission trips, work and athletic practice. She spoke about how heritage is important to who we are and how heritage can mean a lot to people.
“We need to understand our heritage in order to understand who and what we are,” Flanagan said. She said, “Heritage can mean a lot of things. It can include dates, major events and people.” Flanagan said those who came before us helped to shape the world we live in today, including Campbellsville University.
She talked about how we cannot forget that the heritage we have today has been passed down to us and what we create will be handed down as well.
When Flanagan thinks about the heritage of CU and what she has given to the world, many things come to mind. The academics provided by the university have allowed people to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, theologians, musicians, civic and industrial leaders, photographers, artists and journalists.
“There is another aspect to our heritage, one that is really not proclaimed on the college brochures or admission advertisements,” Flanagan said. She called it Christ-like humanity and said it also plays a role in the heritage of CU.
Flanagan shared stories from her time at CU where herself, or another faculty or staff member, helped a student in some way. Flanagan told 12 stories during the service. She said, “They are about Campbellsville University and College students and about how these people got to be here and what some of them are doing today.”
One story talked about a man who worked a minimum wage job in another country but knew he could do better. He came to CU, disowned by his family and without financial or emotional support. He was able to complete his degrees and is practicing medicine. By coming to CU, he was able to receive support and guidance.
Another young man came to CU and met the Lord. He came from a troubled background but decided he wanted to become a Christian. He now says he wants to raise his family in a place like Campbellsville.
When Fruit of the Loom closed in Campbellsville, around 4,000 people lost their jobs overnight. CU was able to put dislocated workers funds into place that were supplied by the state. A two-year degree and computer training was offered to those unemployed workers who wanted it.
A World War II vet came home and was unsuccessful in enrolling in various colleges. Campbellsville Junior College welcomed him, and he not only graduated but went on for advanced degrees. Flanagan said he became a university president and to this day is a strong supporter of the university.
Flanagan told another story of a woman who recently enrolled and was blind. The Baptist Student Union organized a group of people to walk with her to and from her residence hall and class. “She is now a successful teacher,” Flanagan said.
“These stories have helped form our heritage here at Campbellsville University,” Flanagan said. “The stories don’t fully encompass the support our faculty and staff has given through the years,” she said.
“Most of the time this was done in secret and only God knows how much has been given to students over the years.”
Flanagan said the university’s academics, sports and campus are all amazing but what is truly important is the “loving, compassionate and accepting community.”
“It is this heritage that has enabled us to say that CU is truly the place to ‘find your calling.’”
Flanagan served as alumni director and in many other positions. She is married to the Rev. Dan Flanagan, Campbellsville College alumnus and former campus minister.
They have two sons, Will, a veterinarian in Elizabethtown, Ky., and Matt, pastor of discipleship at Parkway Baptist Church in Bardstown, Ky., and four grandchildren.
Campbellsville University is a widely-acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 10,000 students offering over 90 programs of study including 20 master’s degrees, six postgraduate areas and seven pre-professional programs. The university has off-campus centers in Kentucky cities Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville, all in Kentucky, and one in Costa Mesa, Calif., and a full complement of online programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.