Kentucky Wesleyan College Board of Trustees Chair Rev. Dr. Tom Grieb announced today that President Barton D. Darrell has accepted the board’s offer of a five-year contract extension. Darrell has served as president of the College since September 16, 2014.
“We could not be happier with the direction of the College under the visionary leadership of President Darrell,” said Dr. Grieb, senior pastor of Centenary United Methodist Church in Lexington, Ky. “His energy, enthusiasm and passion for Wesleyan, along with his ability to think strategically and work collaboratively with other great talent at the College, is taking us places Wesleyan has not seen before. He has a unified team of outstanding faculty and staff working with him who deserve our accolades as well.”
Dr. Grieb explained that President Darrell introduced four core values – known as The Wesleyan Way – immediately upon assuming the presidency, which have guided the College’s decisions and actions: (1) We succeed with honor, (2) We support one another, (3) We compete with integrity, and (4) We love one another.
Under President Darrell’s leadership, the College’s fundraising and recruiting efforts have increased significantly, and over $8 million in charitable gifts have been invested in the College in less than two years of his presidency. He has also helped create innovative academic partnerships. The Rogers Foundation in Las Vegas will send students from Clark County, Nev., to Wesleyan, beginning this fall, on full scholarships over the next decade. Apus Air Flight Training from San Diego will soon relocate to Owensboro and refer its students to Kentucky Wesleyan to pursue their bachelor’s degrees.
Additionally, through a collaborative effort announced last year, Kentucky Wesleyan and Owensboro Public Schools, with support from Owensboro Health, are building a new state-of-the-art track and field complex on South Griffith Avenue. The facility, which will open in 2017, will be a tremendous community asset and will enable Wesleyan’s track and field program to bring NCAA track and field meets to Owensboro while infusing tourism dollars into the Owensboro/Daviess County community.
“I am humbled by the board’s wish that I agree to extend the length of my service to my alma mater,” remarked President Darrell. “I owe Kentucky Wesleyan College so much for what it did for me personally and professionally. I am privileged to work with an incredible team we have put in place to create for others the same opportunity I had to receive a Wesleyan education. It is an education filled with academic excellence, the development of lifelong learning and personal engagement – all grounded in faith. This type of education has never been more relevant than it is now. Kentucky Wesleyan College is a great school with amazing students, faculty and staff. I look forward to our continued success.”
President Darrell graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1984 and earned a juris doctor from the University of Louisville School of Law in 1987. He has served the College as a trustee, a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, president of the Alumni Association and as an adjunct professor of business law. He enjoyed a successful law practice with the firm of Bell, Orr, Ayers & Moore in Bowling Green from 1987-2014, becoming a partner in 1991. During his legal career, Darrell was recognized as Kentucky’s “Outstanding Young Lawyer” by the Kentucky Bar Association in 1994, was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2010 (limited to no more than 1 percent of the lawyers in any state), served as president of the Bowling Green-Warren County Bar Association, and was appointed by Kentucky Governor Paul Patton to the Council on Postsecondary Education, on which he served four years and was its vice-chair. Darrell also represented school districts throughout Kentucky, including the Daviess County Public Schools.
President Darrell serves on the board of directors for the following organizations: Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport, RiverPark Center, Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center and the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church.