Kentucky Wesleyan College to celebrate Homecoming and Family Weekend 2023 presented by Owensboro Health Sept. 21-24

Kentucky Wesleyan College will celebrate Homecoming and Family Weekend presented by Owensboro Health on campus and throughout the Owensboro community the weekend of Sept. 21-24 surrounding the Panthers’ home football game versus Ohio Dominican on Saturday, Sept. 23. at 6 p.m.

Signature events for the weekend include:

  • A Taste of the Arts, presented by Wonder Boy Media, will kick off the weekend on Sept. 21. The sold-out event will feature live performances by KWC choir, theatre and band, exhibits from graphic design and radio students as well as delicious “tastes of Owensboro” and an art show by 2023 Outstanding Alumnus of the Arts K.O. Lewis ’08.
  • The Pillars Lecture Series on Saturday, Sept. 23, will include three TED Talk-inspired lectures by George Tinsley ’68, Jeff Jones and Dr. W.L. Magnuson.
  • The 3rd Annual Panther Pride 5K, presented by Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, on Sept. 23,  will offer a unique behind-the-scenes tour of Kentucky Wesleyan’s beautiful campus and a picturesque finish line in Steele Stadium (day-of registration will be available)
  • The Bash on the Front Lawn will return for its third year and feature live music by Brad Fleming ’98 and Soul N The Pocket, a variety of food trucks, free inflatables, bumper cars, games and more.
  • The 2023 Alumni Hall of Fame and Awards Celebration, presented by Independence Bank on Sept. 22, will honor the 2023 Alumni Award recipients with the induction of Dallas Thornton ’68 into the Alumni Hall of Fame.
  • The 2023 Athletic Hall of Fame Celebration on Sept. 23 will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Panther football in the modern era and induction of Jamie Duvall ’90, Brenda (Britt) Cason ’84, Stacey (Baxter) Bischoff ’97 and Jordan White ’12 into the Athletic Hall of Fame.

Other events include the Golden Jubilee 50th Reunion celebrations for the Class of 1973, the Silver Jubilee 25th Reunion celebrations for the Class of 1998, a special One-Year Reunion for the Class of 2022, a Homecoming Worship Service, numerous home athletic events and much more.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our alumni and friends to campus this year for Homecoming and Family Weekend 2023,” said Summer (Crick) Aldridge ’14, senior director of engagement. “We hope members of the community will join us on campus to enjoy the events and will welcome our alumni back to town when they spot them throughout the city this weekend.”

2023 Alumni Award Winners
Outstanding Alumnus – Lilburn “Ray” Harper ’85
Alumni Achievement Award – Dr. Gwendolyn Lynch ’86
Outstanding Young Graduate Award – Adrian Christopher ’13
Roy Pickerill ’75 Alumni Service Award – Scott Kramer ’87
Gus E. Paris Distinguished Service Award – Betty Adams
Honorary Alumna – Kathy Rutherman
Honorary Alumnus – Keith Sharber
Alumni Board Director Emeritus Award – Sam Taylor ’97

Kentucky Wesleyan College Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2023
Jamie Duvall ’90 – Soccer
Brenda (Britt) Cason ’84 – Basketball
Stacey (Baxter) Bischoff ’97 – Volleyball
Jordan White ’12 – Baseball

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 2023 features one uniquely successful individual who has gained distinction in his career and made a significant impact on the lives of others.


Kentucky Wesleyan College Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2023
Dallas Thornton ’68

The basketball career of Louisville native Dallas Thornton ’68 spanned 27 years at Louisville Male High School, Kentucky Wesleyan College, the Miami Floridians of the American Basketball Association and the Harlem Globetrotters. 

He was an All-American and All-State selection at Louisville Male High School in 1964. Dallas shared that while his mother loved sports, his father wanted him to get a job after graduation and gave him a job application. Dallas understood his father’s reasoning but sneaked off to college instead. He shared that his mother was happy he decided to get a college education. His father was not as thrilled, but Panther Basketball Coach Guy Strong made a phone call to him to calm him down and to hear Dallas tell it, that’s how he finally arrived at Kentucky Wesleyan College.  

Dallas was a four-year starter and led the Panthers to two NCAA Division II National Championships in 1966 and 1968, plus a third-place finish in 1967. He averaged 17.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in his career. He earned first, second and third team All-America honors and accumulated 1,929 points and 903 rebounds.

During his basketball career at KWC, the NBA Baltimore Bullets and the ABA Miami Floridians drafted Thornton. He played two seasons for the Floridians before joining the Harlem Globetrotters. Dallas had quite a career with the Globetrotters, playing 17 years with the most famous players: Marques Haynes, Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal and ‘Geese’ Ausbie. His time also included serving as a player-coach and team representative. They played in 75 countries, traveled the globe three times and performed before the Queen of England on her 25th Silver Jubilee Anniversary. 

Thornton shared that his most memorable moments as a Globetrotter were visiting the White House three times. President Gerald R. Ford and First Lady Betty Ford invited the team to the Oval Office to celebrate their record milestone of games played in 1974. A few years later, President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter asked them back twice. The first time, Dallas taught Mrs. Carter how to spin the ball on her finger! On the next trip, they performed for the Vice Premier of China and his wife in 1979.

Thornton appeared in several TV shows as a Globetrotter including a two-hour made-for-TV-movie, “The Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island.” In 1982, Thornton and the Globetrotters were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their worldwide entertainment.  

At every appearance in America and the other 75 countries he visited, Dallas told everyone about his alma mater, Kentucky Wesleyan College, his education and love for the institution. 

Following his retirement from the Globetrotters, Thornton returned to KWC to finish his bachelor of science degree and served as an assistant coach for the Panthers. While he has plenty of memories to be proud of, Dallas shared that walking across the stage in his cap and gown in front of his parents was his proudest moment in life.  

Still not ready for a relaxed retirement, Dallas spent seven years with the Job Corps, five years with the Department of Labor as a youth recruiter through the Louisville Youth Opportunity Network and 11 years with the Jefferson County Public School System Adult Education Program. Through these positions, Dallas Thornton gave back to his community by assisting young adults find jobs and good careers, education and training. He also helped employers meet their workforce needs by connecting them with skilled, qualified employees.

In addition to his Alumni Hall of Fame induction, Dallas has previously been honored with induction into the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame in 2022, the Small College Basketball National Hall of Fame in 2021, and the Kentucky Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural Class of 2013.

Dallas currently resides in Louisville with his bride, Diane Reese-Thornton, and continues to find ways to give back to his community.