Ron Rafferty asks to remember those who chose to do good at Campbellsville University’s Heritage Day

April 22, 2016
For Immediate Release

ron rafferty
Ron Rafferty reminds students, staff and faculty that by doing good they could play a positive
role in the heritage of future generations. (Campbellsville University Photo by Nathan Adcock)

By Jesse Harp, student news writer

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Ron Rafferty, adjunct instructor at Campbellsville University and a member of the Campbellsville University Board of Trustees, reminded students, staff and faculty recently in Ransdell Chapel for CU Heritage Day that by doing good, they could play a positive role in the heritage of future generations.

“I want us to remember all of the people who make up our heritage – who chose to do good rather than seek greatness,” Rafferty said. “Many of them did achieve greatness, but their primary focus was to do good.”
Campbellsville University has touched many lives directly and subtly. According to Rafferty, a 1969 Campbellsville University graduate, all of these lives are part of CU’s heritage in one way or another.

Rafferty used his time to shed a light on some of the faces of Campbellsville University who make significant, impacts on the campus and on others every day.

The CU Board of Trustees, community churches and custodians were among the members of Campbellsville University’s heritage who Rafferty made a point to recognize.

Rafferty shared the story of a former CU student named Joe. Rafferty said Joe was a poor student with whom an attentive dining hall worker shared the gospel. Joe surrendered his life to Christ and began following his call to ministry. This man is now known as Dr. Joseph L. Owens, who is chair of the CU Board of Trustees and senior pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Lexington. He has served as chair of the board for a record-breaking five terms.

The next people Rafferty spotlighted were former and current CU alumni. The first woman was one Rafferty called his “adopted daughter,” Debbie Nelson. When Rafferty first met Nelson, she was a shy student who worked long hours at a restaurant and slept through most of his classes. Years later, Nelson came back to school because the factory she worked at closed.

“I didn’t realize how smart she was,” Rafferty said. “I didn’t realize the work ethic she had. This young lady came from poverty – she came from hard work – she experienced abuse. Her life was no picnic.”

Dr. Kenneth W. Winters, who was president of the university at the time, and his wife, Shirley, took Nelson under their wing, lifting her up and helping her in any way they could. At one time, Rafferty said, Nelson was so shy that she couldn’t come to his house and look him in the eye.

“The night she graduated,” Rafferty said, “she addressed her class. This university changes lives.”

The next student Rafferty introduced was Amanda Lindsey. Lindsey is one of the students who scan people into the dining hall. She is pursuing a nursing degree. Rafferty spoke of how she could play a part in the heritage of Campbellsville University.

“She could be the loving nurse that holds your hand, or a family member’s hand, in some of the darkest hours of your life,” Rafferty said. “Her face is what you might see.”

The last student Rafferty recognized was Beckie Decker, who is visually challenged. Decker makes the much raved-over chocolate chip cookies provided at Winters Dining Hall, and she aspires to be a teacher.

“She’ll be a good teacher,” Rafferty said, “and through her teaching, and through her visual challenge, her dignity and her grace, she will inspire lots of people.”

Rafferty said Decker could go on to achieve greatness, but emphasized the goodness for which she would be remembered.

“We are Campbellsville University,” Rafferty said. “The people in this room will be a part of Campbellsville University’s heritage that some speaker, like me, will be remembering 110 years from today. May they remember us as good and faithful people. And most importantly, when the time comes for us to meet our creator, may he look at us with a loving smile on his face and say ‘well done my good and faithful servant.’”

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering over 80 programs of study including 24 master’s degrees, seven postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is


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