Kentucky Wesleyan to Celebrate Homecoming 2021, Sept. 24-26

Kentucky Wesleyan College will celebrate Homecoming 2021 on campus and throughout the Owensboro community the weekend of Sept. 24-26. The weekend’s events surround the Panthers’ home football game versus William Jewell on Saturday, Sept. 25, at noon.

The 2021 Alumni Hall of Fame and Awards Dinner, hosted at the new Kentucky Wesleyan Activity Hall (3300 Frederica St.), will kick off the exciting weekend on Friday, Sept. 24. The event will begin with a 6 p.m. reception followed by dinner, the awards ceremony and Hall of Fame induction at 7 p.m. The celebration will honor the awardees and inductees originally chosen in 2020.

New events this year include the Panther Pride 5k, which will feature a unique, one-lap course that will also serve as a tour of Wesleyan’s beautiful campus and a picturesque finish line in Steele Stadium and the Back Together Bash on the Front Lawn, which will feature live music by Ariel & The Highwheels and Kalico, food trucks and family friendly activities. We will also be hosting a special “Commencement Photo Op” for members of the Class of 2020 where the alumni who graduated virtually will finally have the opportunity to walk across the stage and snap the cherished receiving-of-diploma photo.

View the Full Schedule of Weekend Events

Other events include the Golden Jubilee 50th Reunion Celebration for the Classes of 1970 and 1971, a One-Year Reunion for the Classes of 2020 and 2021, Panther Football Tailgate, Panther Baseball Golf Scramble, Panther Basketball Open Practice, Sunday Chapel and a fine arts showcase titled “In Meeting We Are Blessed.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our alumni back home to campus this year for Homecoming 2021,” said Summer Crick ’14, Director of Alumni Relations. “We hope members of the community join us on campus to celebrate and welcome our alumni back to town when they spot them throughout the city that weekend. Just as this year’s theme suggests, being reunited will feel so good.”

2020 Alumni Award Winners
Outstanding Alumnus – Mitch Major ’92
Alumni Achievement Award – Adam Hancock ’05
Outstanding Young Graduate Award – Dr. Kyle Blackburn ’10
Roy Pickerill Alumni Service Award – Dr. BC Childress ’05
Gus E. Paris Distinguished Service Award – Dr. Gene Tice
Honorary Alumna – Jennifer “Miss Jennifer” Taylor

The Kentucky Wesleyan College Alumni Hall of Fame perpetuates the memory of those who have brought honor and distinction to the name and reputation of Kentucky Wesleyan College.  The Class of 2020 features two individuals who have gained distinction in their careers, become uniquely successful and made a significant impact on the lives of others.

Kentucky Wesleyan College Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2020
President Emeritus Barton D. Darrell ’84, J.D.
Joel Utley ’74

Barton D. Darrell, J.D. is a 1984 graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College. Bart earned his law degree from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in 1987 and joined the Bowling Green lawn firm of Bell, Orr, Ayers & Moore. He became partner in 1991.

Bart was named “Kentucky’s Outstanding Young Lawyer” by the Kentucky Bar Association, one of 40 “New Leaders for the 21st Century” by the Louisville Courier-Journal, Lexington Herald-Leader and the Shakertown Roundtable. He was appointed by the governor to serve on Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education for four years and was the vice-chair in 2004. He also served as president of the Bowling Green-Warren County Bar Association.

While certainly busy with his career, Bart’s service to Wesleyan always continued. He served as president of the Alumni Association, on the Board of Trustees (executive committee) and as an adjunct professor of business law. He was the recipient of the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2017.

In 2013, Bart was named vice president of external services at Kentucky Wesleyan College before being appointed as the 34th president of Kentucky Wesleyan College in 2014. Bart continued to be a changemaker for the College, establishing new academic and community partnerships, leading a complete overhaul of the campus ministries program and increasing student enrollment. Perhaps most notably, he introduced The Wesleyan Way to the campus, local and global Wesleyan community, which became part of the overall brand and culture of the College.

In 2019, Bart stepped down from his role as president, but continues to be a regular at Wesleyan events and the reinvigoration he introduced during his tenure is still shining bright.

Joel Utley is a 1974 graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College. Widely known as the “Voice of the Panthers,” Joel has the distinction of being the only broadcaster in the nation to call 12 NCAA Basketball Championship games, including eight Division II titles, and ranks in the top five in longevity for college basketball radio broadcasters.

Joel began his broadcasting career in 1961. Coaches and players have come and gone over six decades, but Utley is still here. He was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016 – an honor that was also given to recognizable names like Muhammad Ali, Adolph Rupp, Secretariat and Pat Day. Joel was the recipient of the Alumni Service Award in 1999 and the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2019. He was also inducted into the Kentucky Wesleyan College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.

“You can always count on him to still spell the player’s last name in the pregame show,” according to sports information director emeritus and special assistant for college relations Roy Pickerill ’75. “He still does it the old school way and people appreciate that. Joel Utley is a legend in sports broadcasting and Kentucky Wesleyan College Athletics.”

For more information on Kentucky Wesleyan College’s Homecoming 2021 celebrations, including the most up-to-date schedule and registration links, please visit  For information about the Kentucky Wesleyan College Alumni Association including event schedules and registration, visit, call the Kentucky Wesleyan College Office of Alumni Relations at (270) 852-3140 or email  Stay connected with the Kentucky Wesleyan College Alumni Association by following @kwcalumni on Twitter and Instagram, and by liking the “Kentucky Wesleyan College Alumni” Facebook page (