Kentucky Wesleyan College will join the Owensboro Human Relations Commission and the Owensboro-Daviess County Education Community for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march and celebration on Monday, Jan. 18. The public is invited to join a march Monday afternoon with a keynote speaker event hosted at KWC’s Activity Hall the same evening. All participants are required to follow COVID-19 protocols including wearing face coverings and physical distancing. The keynote speaker will be available via live stream.
This year’s march is from Owensboro High School (OHS) to Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC). Those participating will gather at 11:45 a.m. in the Owensboro High School southeast parking lot on the corner of Ford Avenue and Frederica Street. The march starts at noon and heads south on Frederica Street to KWC. The march will close on the front steps of the Kentucky Wesleyan College Barnard-Jones Administration Building. Transportation will be provided by City of Owensboro Transit from KWC to OHS from 11:15 a.m. to noon and from KWC to Brescia from 12:45 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
On Monday evening at 6 p.m. Kentucky Wesleyan will host Dr. OJ Oleka as the celebration’s keynote speaker in Activity Hall (3300 Frederica Street). In order to comply with gathering protocols, a limited number of tickets will be available to the public for Monday night’s speaker. Please contact KWC Student Services at 270-852-3285 to reserve your ticket.
Current employment Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy with the Education Policy Program working on federal higher education policy at New America, a non-partisan think tank in Washington, D.C.
Senior Contributor for education with Forbes
Career “After working in the state legislature, I fell in love with public policy but knew I wanted to work in education, particularly higher education. Once I completed my master’s degree, I worked in institutional research at the University of Louisville before ending up back at Kentucky Wesleyan as the director of institutional effectiveness and research.
“Still, I wanted to work in education policy, and that’s how I ended up in Washington, D.C. I spend my days now advocating on Capitol Hill and to the Department of Education for public policies to make college more affordable and improve the quality of higher education for students. I provide technical assistance and legislative language to Congressional offices on a myriad of higher education issues.”
“I am currently employed at Elsevier, Inc., a global leader in health information and analytics, and my title is Nursing Faculty Manager within the Nursing & Health Education eSolutions Division. We assist researchers, institutions of higher education and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society through health education digital products. More specifically, I work with two product lines that assist nursing faculty and students across the United States meet outcomes of passing the NCLEX (national exam for nursing licensure).”
“I have been married to Rev. Dr. Jay F. Smith ’85 for 36 years. He is a Kentucky Conference United Methodist minister and currently is the Owensboro District superintendent.
“Our son, Jericho Smith, has a master of arts in education with an emphasis in student affairs and counseling from Western Kentucky University. He lives in Owensboro and works at Owensboro Community College and Mary Kendall Campus, United Methodist Homes for Children and Youth.
“Jay and I met at KWC. We were both very involved in campus life and Christian ministries. Our first date was Jan. 9, 1983. I received flowers every month on the 9th for a year. We were engaged on Jan. 9, 1984, and married June 9, 1984. Jay proposed in the chapel at KWC, and President Luther White was the first person to know. We came out of the chapel, and he was working late in the office – that was really fun to let him know first! We got married at my home church in Columbia, Ky. Rev. Dr. Phil Hill ’77, the chaplain at KWC, performed the ceremony.”
Kentucky Wesleyan College received $312,392 yesterday, its sixth Giving Tuesday, which exceeded the goal by more than $125,000 and shattered the school’s previous day of giving record by more than $100,000 ($211,999 in 2019). The College has realized $1.13 million in investments from alumni, friends and employees since its inaugural Giving Tuesday in 2015.
Included in yesterday’s gifts from 292 donors were an endowed scholarship from President Thomas and Rhonda Mitzel and 68 gifts of $1,000 or more. Donors generously invested in the Wesleyan Scholarship Fund, Panther Athletic Fund, individual athletics programs, academics and Campus Ministries.
“There are no words to accurately express our appreciation of the support provided by alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the College on Giving Tuesday 2020,” said President Mitzel. “We are acutely aware of the challenges faced by so many in this unusual year, but yet again donors have showcased their belief in our mission as a private, faith-based liberal arts institution. Rhonda and I are honored to join them in contributing to the opportunity of a KWC experience.”
Please share about your life as a pastor. “It has been a real joy to provide pastoral care to adults, to offer support and encouragement to children and youth, and to proclaim the message of God’s love through Jesus Christ for ALL God’s people. I entered ministry upon God’s call upon my life at a Loucon camp and at my local church (Cairo in Henderson County). I have had congregations in Nortonville, Henderson, Owensboro Trinity, Utica, Central City and Hopkinsville. I served as district superintendent of the Elizabethtown and Lexington districts.”
Why did you choose to attend Wesleyan? “I decided to become a minister in high school, and I knew Wesleyan offered the focus on religion classes I wanted, as well as being a liberal arts college that would give me a well-rounded education. I was a religion and philosophy major with a minor in English. My KWC education made it possible for me to have a full scholarship to Vanderbilt Divinity School, where I earned a master of divinity degree in 1971. I also did post-graduate work at Lexington theological Seminary.”
What are special memories of your years at Wesleyan? “I had a fabulous experience my four years at Wesleyan. I was active in several organizations and was elected vice president of the Student Government Association my junior year. I came to Wesleyan as a young, impressionable student, and Wesleyan shaped my life. I had great classroom experiences as well as feeling I had a new family of friends with students, faculty and staff. I experienced the ‘Wesleyan Way’ a long time before we called it that.”
When Josh Baldwin returned to KWC as a member of the Admissions team in November 2019, he was flooded with memories of his experiences as a student. “I saw familiar faces and enjoyed catching up with folks,” he remembers. “My office is where Classroom 101 used to be and my desk is just about where it was when I took U.S. History with Dr. Dan Bradshaw.” He has also enjoyed working with people new to him, and appreciates updates on the campus since he left in 2005 – from the Luellen Pyles Enrollment Center to Winchester Center renovations to the addition of online degree programs.
Josh’s position as online enrollment counselor is a new one at KWC. He works closely with Dr. Rebecca Francis, associate dean and director of adult and online programs, and recruits online students, evaluates their transfer credits, assists with financial aid needs and serves as academic advisor in every online students’ first semester.
According to Josh, the oldest online KWC student is 49 years old, the youngest is 18 and the average age is 28. The nearest student lives one block from campus, while the student the farthest distance from campus lives in Seattle. “I love working with people who are ready to finish their degrees,” says Josh. “It is very rewarding to help them make their dreams a reality.”
The Kentucky Wesleyan Singers will present The Festival of Lessons & Carols on Dec. 4 in a virtual program streaming via Facebook Premiere at 7 p.m. CT giving our alumni and friends around the country the opportunity to enjoy this beloved event. Now in its 10th year, Lessons & Carols is the perfect way to begin the Christmas season. Associate Professor of Music Dennis Jewett will direct the Wesleyan Singers. James Wells ’14, director of music at St. Stephen Cathedral, will provide accompaniment.
The immensely popular Festival from King’s College, Cambridge was first broadcast by the BBC in 1928, and except for 1930, has been broadcast every Christmas Eve since then. Even during Word War Two, and despite the removal of the stained glass and a lack of heating, the broadcasts continued. Millions around the world listen to the broadcast each year.
Kentucky Wesleyan College can realize a $1 million milestone on Dec. 1 if donors invest at least $183,600 on Giving Tuesday, the College’s sixth year of participation in the global day of philanthropy. Donors are encouraged to give what they can on Dec. 1 at kwc.edu/give. Alumni and friends have invested a cumulative $816,400 in KWC the past five Giving Tuesdays.
Money invested in Wesleyan on Giving Tuesday, as on any other day, helps Wesleyan students achieve and receive a quality faith-based education, which includes academics, as well as social and spiritual growth.
“The outpouring of support from alumni and friends of Kentucky Wesleyan College on Giving Tuesday is simply amazing,” said President Thomas Mitzel. “As a small private College, financial investment is critical to our success and that of our students. Whether investing in student scholarships, academic programs, campus ministries, the athletic department or a specific team, it all makes a tremendous difference in the experience and life of a Kentucky Wesleyan student.”
“I chose KWC for its size and its church relationship. I was a founding member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and enjoyed the fraternity immensely. My roommate, Willie Jackson ’61, was elected president of the Student Government Association. Favorite experiences were Wednesday chapel, the convocation and vespers, as well as the knock-down-drag-out of intramural sports.
“Religion professors Drs. Tom Rogers and Ed Beavin challenged me and opened a vision for understanding the world with reverence for its disciplines.
“I am married to Ann, a nurse practitioner and former state director of women’s health in the Kentucky Department of Health. We met in Owensboro, where she was completing her clinical work at Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital. We have two sons, a daughter and six grandchildren.”
We are excited to welcome our first-ever full-time grant writer, Kelly Flick, who arrived on Oct. 12. She joined us from Dream Riders of Kentucky, where she served as executive director and represented the agency in a variety of roles including grant writing and fundraising, board governance, program development and technical writing. She has 18 years of experience in governmental, public and faith-based social service agencies in Kentucky, Minnesota and Alabama.
What have you found most rewarding about your career: “I have spent the past 20 years of my career working in various leadership roles across the social service industry. I’ve primarily worked, by choice, with smaller nonprofit agencies where I gained experience in a multitude of things including fundraising, financial management, community collaboration, marketing, volunteer recruitment, human resources, strategic planning, etc. This was not only fulfilling to me, but it gave me the opportunity to make positive changes in just a few years in the communities where we resided.”