|Reginald and Nora Bethel and Herman and Betty Hardesty receive Servant Leadership Awards at the “Campaign for the Commonwealth” event in Lexington, Ky.. From left are: Dr. Michael V. Carter, president; Reginald; Nora; Paula Smith, director of alumni relations; Herman; Betty; and Benji Kelly, vice president for development. (Campbellsville University Photo by Drew Tucker)|
By Drew Tucker, communications assistant
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “Campbellsville University is changing lives and we want to continue changing lives,” Paula Smith, director of alumni relations, said at the fourth Campbellsville University Campaign for the Commonwealth alumni event in Lexington on May 22.
During the event, Herman Hardesty, graduate and Board of Alumni member, along with his wife Betty, and Reginald and Nora Bethel, graduates, with Reginald being a former trustee, received special Servant Leadership Awards for their service to CU.
|Ellie McKinley expresses her love of Campbellsville
University and how important the low student-teacher
ratio is to her. (Campbellsville University Photo by
Ellie McKinley, a senior from Campbellsville, Ky. who is majoring in public relations and Spanish, said that CU is “my home away from home.”
“It’s a great place to find your calling and I’ve been able to find mine through the endless possibilities I’ve been able to have,” she said.
She said at the end of her high school career she was ready for college. She had visited many campuses around Kentucky, but nothing felt right to her. Her parents suggested Campbellsville University.
“I had an open mind and prayed and felt God was leading me there,” she said. “I fell in love with it and can’t imagine being anywhere else because of that warm atmosphere – that family atmosphere.”
McKinley said the professors are “absolutely wonderful.”
“I feel like I am a person,” she said. “I’m not just a number.”
She said she is on a first name basis with many faculty members. She mentioned Benji Kelly, vice president for development, and Smith as examples, but told Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of CU, that he will always be Dr. Carter to her.
“I am studying public relations and Spanish, and I don’t think I would have pursued those degrees if I hadn’t come to Campbellsville,” she said.
On her first day on campus with the other freshmen, there were many international students, she said.
“It’s wonderful because your eyes are open,” she said. “You see the diversity. It really encouraged me and made me want to pursue and learn about different cultures and the way that people think and that we’re all connected in some way.”
She said she will be studying abroad in Spain this summer, and she has a few friends who will also be studying abroad in different countries, teaching English as a second language.
“Campbellsville is being represented all around the world; spreading everywhere. It’s beautiful,” she said.
“I’m also studying public relations. Part of the reason for that is because a faculty member really encouraged me to pursue that, saying ‘I see gifts in you,’ and that’s a great thing that we have a small classroom size where our professors can see who you are and what your strengths are and try to build you up and find something that works with you.”
McKinley said she was able to work at the Derby Rose Gala, serving as the TV co-host, where she was broadcast live on CU’s WLCU television and radio stations, and said she couldn’t have done that at other schools. The Derby Rose Gala is a fundraising event for student scholarships.
“Campbellsville really is a great place,” she said. “You cannot come to Campbellsville and not get connected and not experience that warm, loving, family feeling. Thank you for your support. A lot of us [students] were able to come to Campbellsville and receive this higher education and it’s building us toward our futures.”
Carter gave an update on the campus.
“There are so many good things happening at CU, you’ve only caught the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “There is a tremendous amount of momentum – a great spirit across our faculty, staff and coaches. And that translates to the student body.”
He said CU has over 90 different programs of study, with 450 graduate students studying at CU.
“The face of CU is changing,” he said, “and yet, as we enter into Vision 2025 [an extensive self-examination process and presents a blueprint of what the institution aspires to become over the next nine years], we want to keep that value of always having a low student-to-faculty ratio.
“When we look at a student, we can call her Ellie and genuinely know her. We’re been able to enlarge the opportunities, and at the same time, still keep that personal touch that is absolutely essential to who the spirit of Campbellsville has been now for 108 years.”
Carter said CU graduated over 600 students in the past year, and that CU has one of the most diverse student bodies in the country, with 25 percent being minorities. He said over 300 students have traveled overseas, representing 40 different countries in the last academic year.
“We’ve been able to maintain that sweet Christian spirit and at the same time give a window to the world to the students that are coming to study at Campbellsville so they’re prepared for the world in which they’re about to enter,” he said.
Students from CU graduate with less debt than any other university in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, he said, and said this campaign is for the future of Campbellsville.
“We often say,” he said, “we have failed our mission as a Baptist-related Christian university if we haven’t touched the heart as much as we’ve touched the head.”
He said Dr. Ted Taylor, director of the Big Maroon Club, heads up the FIRST CLASS program which is centered on building character in students.
“We take the words of Christ literally to mean that if you want to find yourself, you have to lose yourself serving others,” he said. “CU is about creating the type of Christian character that is going to mold and develop individuals for a lifetime.”
He said students want to come to Campbellsville University and the institution wants to help them because Christian servant leaders are needed today.
“Thank you for loving and caring about CU,” he said. “You’re a part of the family. Help us carry the mission of Campbellsville even further.”
Kelly gave an update on the campaign’s progress, and said they’re taking CU to their alumni base and “sharing all of the exciting things that are happening on campus.”
He said in 2009, the Board of Trustees voted to adopt the Vision 2025 plan. In 2011, the Board voted to enter into the silent phases of the Our Time: This Place campaign, from which the Campaign for the Commonwealth derives. The first goal was set for 2013.
“I am pleased to announce that we have reached that goal two months ahead of schedule,” he said. “Thank you for that. Campbellsville University is better because of your support.”
Kelly said there are 19 new endowed scholarships due to the campaign, and the scholarships support many different types of programs, including theology, music, education and athletic programs.
“This campaign is still allowing us to keep that small student-to-teacher ratio,” he said. “Our professors are taking the time to invest in the lives in their students. You’re not just a number – you’re a person. This campaign is about the lives of the students that are coming to Campbellsville to receive a quality Christian education.”
Photos from the event can be found on CU’s Flickr page.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.