Ruthie (Hutton) Hume ’62 loves to travel, and one of her best trips was from her childhood home in Bowling Green, Ky., to Massie Hall at KWC in the fall of 1958. “I chose Wesleyan because of the Methodist connection, but like all new students, I wondered before I arrived if I had made the right decision,” she remembered. “That choice changed my life, and I can’t imagine my life without the influence of KWC.”
An elementary education major, she soon became acclimated to her new surroundings. “The students were friendly and connected to one another, and I felt at home quickly. We didn’t have cell phones or social media, and we spent a lot of time getting to know one another in the SUB (Student Union Building), where there was one TV that no one watched – and it was the only TV on campus. The SUB had a jukebox and snack bar. It’s where I made friends and learned to play bridge, and I still play today.” She also pledged Kappa Delta and enjoys lifelong friendships with many sorority sisters.
Ruthie described her professors, Drs. Ed Beavin (Old Testament) and Tom Rogers (New Testament), as intellectual giants who impacted countless lives. “I’ve never known anyone like them. They didn’t tell me what to believe, but they forced me to think and reach my own conclusions. Their classes meant so much to me, and Wesleyan was so fortunate to have them on the faculty.”
In addition to fun in the SUB and learning in the classroom, Ruthie discovered Billy Pat Hume ’60 from Glasgow, Ky. Their first date was to a basketball game at the Sportscenter. (They have had season tickets since 1967). They were married in August 1960, after Ruthie’s sophomore year, at State Street Methodist Church in Bowling Green. Ruthie was a cheerleader her sophomore year, but married students were not allowed to be cheerleaders then, so she joined Billy Pat in the stands the next year, where she has cheered the Panthers on ever since.
The new couple moved into a Reynolds Village apartment located where the Woodward Health and Recreation Center now stands. Reynolds Village consisted of army surplus Quonset huts that were moved to Owensboro from the Winchester campus. Their first home contained a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom. “The rooms were very tiny, and we paid $37 a month rent,” Ruthie recalled. “We loved it there, and we didn’t care that snow blew into the bathroom around the window. We had so much fun with other couples and made many good memories with them.” She still uses a chili recipe from Rhoda (Chism) Bell ’61.
Billy Pat worked part-time at E.M. Ford in Owensboro as a student and was an insurance agent there for 38 years before his retirement. Ruthie was a teacher for five years and then stayed home to raise their two children. In 1995, she returned to KWC as the administrative assistant to Rebecca Rightmyer in the Alumni Office.
Dr. Wes Poling began his presidency about the same time, and he and Carol planned a trip to New York and Florida with Rebecca to meet alumni. They said “trip,” and Ruthie said, “I’ll go, too.” She paid her own way and met several generations of graduates and got to know the Polings. “Carol confided in me that she had warned President Poling that the two of us would have a lot of luggage,” Ruthie explained. “After all, we had to pack for cold and warm weather. He took just one small bag and kidded me for the 10 years he was here about how much luggage I took. Good laughs.”
Ruthie and Billy Pat will celebrate their 60th anniversary this month. They have a daughter, Holly, who is a 7th grade math teacher in Lebanon, Tenn., a son, Pat, who is a guidance counselor and golf coach at Owensboro High School, and six grandchildren.
They have taken all the grands to New York City for Yankees games and other adventures for their 10th birthdays. “My grandparents took me there as child, and I’ve loved the city ever since. They started a family tradition.”
The Humes made a remarkable trip several years ago to Bury, England, a mill town, where her grandfather was born and raised. “We had a flat tire on that trip, and Billy Pat had to get all of my luggage out to get to the spare. It’s a good thing Dr. Poling wasn’t with us.”
They visited the courthouse in Bury and learned that Ruthie’s great-grandfather owned a pub, and her great-grandmother was a velvet weaver. “We also found my grandfather’s childhood home. That meant a lot to me, as he was such an influence on my life. He immigrated to the U.S. and became a naturalized citizen. Granddad gave me his love for travel and exploring new places.”
Ruthie celebrated 25 years as a Wesleyan employee earlier this year. “The College means a lot to me, both as a graduate and as an employee. I’ve seen many changes over the years, in campus buildings and in faculty, staff and leadership. I enjoy the students; they are the only reason we are here. I love KWC, and after all these years, I still enjoy being a part of day-to-day happenings and connecting with alumni. It is a very special place.”
Thank you, Ruthie, for your hard work and loyalty to Kentucky Wesleyan!