Kentucky Wesleyan College receives $150,000 gift to name Panther Room in Wells Center

Additional investments have named a Campus Ministries Office, Prayer Room and Food Pantry/Professional Closet

Kentucky Wesleyan College has named the Panther Room in the Jack T. Wells ’77 Activity Center for Dr. J. Charles ’62 and Margaret (Heltsley) Schertzinger ’59 following their commitment and generous investment of $150,000 in KWC’s newest facility. Dr. and Mrs. Schertzinger have been vocal, visible and transformational leaders of Kentucky Wesleyan College for more than 60 years.

“We are humbled and thankful to the Schertzingers for their continued investment in our students and campus,” said President Thomas Mitzel. “They have been generous beyond measure throughout the years and have shown true commitment as loyal alumni of KWC. The Panther Room is a space that has and will continue to be enjoyed and used for multiple purposes by internal and external audiences.”

Dr. Schertzinger is a retired optometrist who established and practiced at RiverPark EyeCare in Owensboro for over 40 years. He began his higher education at Western Kentucky University, then left to serve his nation in the United States Marines. He then enrolled at Kentucky Wesleyan College, where for a year and a half he studied and prepared for optometry school, eventually finishing his bachelor’s degree at Indiana University. After completing his graduate work, Dr. Schertzinger joined the practice of his father-in-law, Dr. D. D. Heltsley ’28, and Dr. William H. Speer in Owensboro.

The Schertzingers have always been active in the community, including extensive board memberships and support. Dr. Schertzinger has served on the Kentucky Wesleyan College Board of Trustees for over 20 years, and the couple are members of the College’s President’s Circle (leadership donor society), Minerva Society (perennial donor society) and Heritage Society (planned giving society). Charlie and Margaret have both served tirelessly as volunteers for the Athletics Department for decades and were inducted into the KWC Alumni Hall of Fame in 2019.

“We are passionate about supporting the opportunity provided by an educational experience at Kentucky Wesleyan College,” said the Schertzingers. “We encourage others to follow our lead in investing in the mission of KWC. We have seen first-hand how it changes the attitude of families and impacts the outcomes for them and future generations.”

The Panther Room provides a space that can be utilized for a number of activities and events, meetings and gatherings, and the adjacent kitchen is convenient for groups and organizations.  They can host professional meetings while student organizations have already utilized the space for celebrations and socials as well as choir and theatre rehearsals, Panther wrestling practice and Campus Ministries events. Community events hosted in the space include a recent wedding, the display of bowls and meal distribution for attendees at the Empty Bowls of Owensboro event, and a non-profit collaborative for the Owensboro community hosted its launch meeting hosted by KWC in conjunction with the Wendell Foster Center.

In addition to the Panther Room, recent investments totaling $20,000 have been made to name several other Wells Center spaces:

  • Prayer Room – Named with generous gifts from classmates, friends and loved ones in memory of Cochran Dorsey ’73
  • Campus Ministries Office – Named with generous gifts from the Major Family
  • Food Pantry/Professional Closet – Named with generous gifts from Chuck ’72 and Nancy (King) Schmeal ’71 and Jeff ’72 and Susan White

To learn more about the Jack T. Wells ’77 Activity Center at Kentucky Wesleyan College, including further opportunities to make an impact via remaining naming opportunities, please visit