Kentucky Wesleyan Baccalaureate and Commencement April 23 and 24

Kentucky Wesleyan College’s 153rd annual Commencement will take place Saturday, April 24, at 10 a.m. President Emeritus Barton D. Darrell ’84 will address the 163 members of the Class of 2021 and members of the Class of 2020 who will return to campus to take part in this year’s ceremony. The 2020 Commencement was virtual due to the pandemic.

Mr. Darrell was raised in Owensboro and graduated from Daviess County High School. He earned a bachelor of arts in business management from Wesleyan and a juris doctor from the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. He practiced law with Bell, Orr, Ayers & Moore in Bowling Green for many years. A former Wesleyan trustee, he became the thirty-fourth president of the College in September 2014 after serving his alma mater as vice president of external services for 11 months. He was president until May 2019.

He has earned recognition as the Kentucky Bar Association’s “Outstanding Young Lawyer,” was inducted as a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and served as president of the Bowling Green-Warren County Bar Association. He is committed to community engagement and has served in many civic and volunteer roles.

Mr. Darrell was the recipient of Wesleyan’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award in 2017 and was an inductee of the College’s Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2020. He practices law as a partner at Foreman Watson Holtrey, LLP.

Baccalaureate will take place on Friday, April 23, at 7 p.m.

The Rev. Dr. Jay Smith ’85, a native of Madisonville, Ky., will address the graduates. He earned a master of divinity from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a doctor of ministry, with a focus on spiritual formation, from Wesley Theological Seminary.

A United Methodist minister, Dr. Smith has served churches in Kentucky for 37 years, and he is currently district superintendent of the Owensboro District. He was previously district superintendent of what is now the Pennyrile District. He has served as a member of the Kentucky Wesleyan Board of Trustees for 23 years.

“We are honored to welcome these two distinguished alumni back to campus to address our graduates,” remarked President Thomas Mitzel, “and we look forward to welcoming family members and friends of our graduates as we recognize the accomplishments of the classes of 2020 and 2021. It will be a great weekend of celebration.”

Due to anticipated inclement weather, Baccalaureate will take place in Jones Gymnasium at the Woodward Health and Recreation Center. Commencement will be held at the RiverPark Center in downtown Owensboro. Both events will have COVID protocols in place including masks and social distancing. Two persons per graduate will may attend, and tickets have been provided to graduates for their guests. Overflow rooms will be available to allow other Commencement guests to view the ceremony remotely. Live stream links and further information regarding 2021 Commencement celebrations may be found at