KWC celebrates investors at 2024 President’s Gala

The 2024 President’s Gala was hosted April 19 at the Owensboro Convention Center. It was another memorable even, celebrating the impact of Kentucky Wesleyan, the generosity of our donors, the joy of relationships forged on our beautiful campus, and most of all, our remarkable students. They are the only reason KWC exists.

We raised $40,000 through live and silent auctions, and every penny goes to the Wesleyan Scholarship Fund to benefit our students.

Jaxen Miller ’24 eloquently reflected on his KWC experience to Gala attendees with passion and gratitude and his words were a reminder of why Wesleyan exists and why gifts to the College are a significant investment.

View Jaxen’s speech in full below along with highlights from another spectacular evening of saying thanks and making The Wesleyan Way possible for future generations. CLICK HERE to view photos from the evening.

Jaxen Miller ’24 Speech Transcript

I would like to start by reading one of my favorite bible verses. Psalm 106:1 says, “Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the lord for He is Good; His love endures forever.”

Hello everyone, my name is Jaxen Miller, and I have the honor of speaking to you all this evening about the tremendous impact KWC has had on me academically, personally, and socially. This is my second year at Kentucky Wesleyan. I am a Political Science and Criminal Justice double major, and I am expected to graduate in December 2024. Following graduation from KWC, I will attend Law School where I plan to become an attorney for children who are dependent, neglected, or abused. I am on the Men’s Soccer Team, a Resident Assistant, the newly elected Vice President for the Student Government Association, a Student Ambassador, a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, the representative for the Men’s Soccer team for the Fellowship of Christian Athlete, and a Peer Tutor for Writing and Political Science: so, I’m not really involved in much.

 I grew up in a middle-class family in Sebree, KY, and for those of you who don’t know where that is, I don’t blame you. It is a very small, rural, and traditional Western Kentucky town that is agriculturally driven. Although I am blessed to have grown up in a small community that strengthened my faith in Jesus Christ, my opportunities and resources to pursue my dreams of becoming a lawyer were limited. My parents worked diligently to provide me and my sister with a happy and comfortable life, but I am a part of that odd demographic where my parents make too much for me to be considered for governmental aid but make too little to help financially pay for my college education. The responsibility was on me to find ways to pay for my college education. I was offered an athletic scholarship during my senior year of high school, and when I took a tour of the campus, I knew this was the place where I would thrive and succeed. However, the hefty tuition of a private college caused me to hesitate in selecting KWC as my home.

However, God’s plan always prevails. Donors like yourselves of the Wesleyan Scholarship Fund aim to reward and honor academic and leadership success in and out of the classroom so that more students may have the opportunity to attend KWC. A major question I would expect donors to have is if their donations are going toward an institution that encourages academic enrichment and instills practical skills in their students so that they are successful post-graduation. I am here and can confidently tell you that Kentucky Wesleyan completely achieves these goals through personable staff and challenging yet rewarding academic and personal opportunities. To emphasize these qualities, I would like to highlight an influential faculty member for my success: Dr. Eric Schmidt (Professor of Political Science).

Dr. Schmidt is my academic advisor and professor for many of my Political Science courses. He offers intellectually challenging and engaging courses aimed at strengthening your thinking and writing capabilities. For example, Dr. Schmidt had us track the lineage of philosophical thought and theories from foundational thinkers like Socrates, Hobbes, and Locke and apply them to American institutions. Beyond getting me academically ready for Law School, he is also an exemplary mentor in guiding me through the application process. Surprisingly, Law School applications are complicated, so having an experienced, adamant, and available mentor is a critical tool for my success.

Another staff member whom I would be doing an injustice not to highlight is Mrs. Laura Rudolph, who is our Director of Career engagement. I give tours to prospective students, and I always make it a point to stop at Mrs. Rudolph’s office and explain the valuable resources she provides for students. She helps students find jobs following graduation and also helps students find internships, externships, and practicums so that students may apply the knowledge they acquire in the classroom and apply it in a practical setting. She has recently helped me get an internship with the Department of Public Advocacy this summer. She allows further growth and development in students by providing them with opportunities to apply their skills in real-world settings.

KWC also offers extracurricular activities aimed at strengthening the practical leadership skills that students take with them post-graduation. Through my positions in SGA, RA, Student Ambassador, and the other positions I hold, I have been able to develop and refine my communication skills, conflict resolution, and innovation, which will help me succeed in Law School and ultimately in my daily life.

God has blessed me to have the opportunity to come to KWC, pursue my academic goals, and acquire the necessary skills for success post-graduation nearly debt-free all while strengthening my faith. However, this experience would not be available to me without the generosity of donors to the Wesleyan Scholarship Fund. This is why I highly encourage every one of you to consider donating to the Wesleyan Scholarship Fund. Your donations are the determining factor for many students, like me, to gain a valuable and enriching college education and position themselves for a successful life.

I would like to end like I started this speech: with a bible verse. 2 Corinthians 9: 6-10 says, “Remember this – a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must decide in your heart how much to give, and don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’ And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.”

Even more, if you continue to give right now, you have my word that I will go to law school and come back one day to pay it forward. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to all of you this evening, and I hope God blesses each of you in amazing ways and that you have a fun night.