English Professor Bob Darrell first proposed to then-President William James that Kentucky Wesleyan develop a tutoring center, career counseling program, and a test center. The President suggested the school seek federal funds, and Dr. Darrell wrote the proposal. The PLUS Center opened its doors in the mid-1970’s.
Located in the north basement of the Administration-Classroom building, the new center consisted of four offices, a reception area, and three activities rooms. It was named Programs for Learning and Understanding Self or the PLUS Center.
Those initial years proved extremely busy and productive, offering students classes in reading, writing, and math as well as providing tutoring, career counseling, and psychological counseling.
Darrell served as the PLUS Center’s first director (working mostly out of his faculty office). The administration believed the Center needed a department-based faculty member to help it become accepted. In 1985, Marisue Coy became the second director and served in that position until Donna Hanley became director, carrying on the tradition of faculty involvement. She served until her retirement in 2016.
After federal funds expired within a few years, the PLUS Center discontinued the psychological counseling and career services component although eventually KWC did provide career assistance and private off-campus psychological counseling resources.
The Center moved to first floor Massie Hall several years later. A few years after that, it moved to second floor Massie Hall to make room for what was then a student lounge and snack bar on the first floor of Massie Hall.
Eventually, generous donations by friends and supporters honoring its founder, Dr. Bob Darrell, funded a PLUS Center suite in the library.
The PLUS Center continued to offer a variety of academic services to Wesleyan students including tutoring services, testing assistance, workshops, and assistance for students with disabilities until 2016 when it was integrated into the Student Success Center.