By Gerard Flanagan, news writer/photographer/social media, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Though Dr. Joseph Hopkins has been on the job as Campbellsville University’s 12thpresident for a little more than four months, he has become certain of one thing: the dedication of the Campbellsville and Taylor County communities to Campbellsville University throughout her rich 116-year history.
Hopkins spoke to members of the Campbellsville-Taylor County Chamber of Commerce at its monthly luncheon June 9 in the university’s Badgett Academic Support Center (BASC) Banquet Hall.
“On Feb. 1, 2022, I stepped into a brilliant opportunity and was welcomed into a great family—this community,” Hopkins told the chamber members.
He said the community has gone above and beyond to welcome him and his family into their new home.
Hopkins said the Campbellsville family has embraced him and his wife, Suzanne, along with their sons, Joseph and Vance, and their dog, Winston.”
Hopkins said, “You’ve helped us truly make this our home.”
Hopkins told the chamber members about the growth Campbellsville University is experiencing—such as the university’s new educational center in Windsor, Ontario. The university also has educational centers in Harrodsburg, Louisville, Somerset, Hodgenville, Liberty and two in California.
“It’s an exciting time to be at Campbellsville University, with the growth we are experiencing,” he said.
Even with this growth, Hopkins said the university’s focus remains in Campbellsville and Taylor County.
“The focus of our operations is in Campbellsville, most of our investment is in Campbellsville and the majority of our employees are in Campbellsville,” Hopkins said. “Our home is Taylor County.”
Hopkins told two stories of his interactions with students so far during his time as president.
In one story, a group of students were holding a basketball tournament to raise money for the Red Cross. Hopkins visited the students, and as he was talking to one of the students, Hopkins discovered they were from Russia but had family residing in Ukraine. Their interaction occurred just after Russia had invaded Ukraine.
“I was meeting with the administration, and I said we needed to check on our Russian students and Ukrainian students, but they said, ‘We’ve already checked on them, and we’ll continue to check on them,’” Hopkins said.
In the other story, which occurred just after he became president, Hopkins was cooking stir fry in Winters Dining Hall. An international student came up to him and asked what he was cooking, and Hopkins said he wasn’t sure.
“She asked what seasoning I was putting on, and I told her, ‘I don’t know,’” Hopkins said. “She said, ‘Step aside, and let me cook.’ It was the best food I ever had.”
Hopkins added, “Her life is being transformed here at Campbellsville University.”
The same is true for many other students at Campbellsville University.
“We are proud we are preparing students to make a difference,” Hopkins said. “Yes, they are building skills for the workforce, but our prayer is that also they are becoming salt and light to the world.”
According to Hopkins, nearly 40 percent of the university’s students are first-generation students.
“We are transforming not just that student’s life, but generations inside that family,” Hopkins said. “Incredible things are happening.”
In addition, nearly 30 percent of students are international students.
“People ask, ‘How do we do this?’” Hopkins said. “We do this on purpose. It’s incredible to walk around and hear 80 or 90 languages being spoken. You can meet the world right here. We reach in every direction for students. We come after you.”
Early in the history of Campbellsville University, the community came together to raise funds to build Stapp Hall and the old Administration Building. When the old Administration Building was lost to a devastating fire, the community rallied to rebuild the structure. The community also showed its strong support for Campbellsville University during difficult financial times, such as the Great Depression and in the 1980s.
“We will never forget what this community has done,” Hopkins said. “This is your university, and we are doing this together. We are grateful for you. We are grateful for your prayers.
“We will speak of Campbellsville University with pride, and we will seek to make you proud. We will do our best to honor’s God word and glorify Him in everything we do.”
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that has enrolled up to 12,000 students yearly. The university offers over 100 programs of study including doctoral, masters, bachelors, associate and certification programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.