Kentucky Wesleyan College will celebrate Homecoming 2021 on campus and throughout the Owensboro community the weekend of Sept. 24-26. The weekend’s events surround the Panthers’ home football game versus William Jewell on Saturday, Sept. 25, at noon.
The 2021 Alumni Hall of Fame and Awards Dinner, hosted at the new Kentucky Wesleyan Activity Hall (3300 Frederica St.), will kick off the exciting weekend on Friday, Sept. 24. The event will begin with a 6 p.m. reception followed by dinner, the awards ceremony and Hall of Fame induction at 7 p.m. The celebration will honor the awardees and inductees originally chosen in 2020.
New events this year include the Panther Pride 5k, which will feature a unique, one-lap course that will also serve as a tour of Wesleyan’s beautiful campus and a picturesque finish line in Steele Stadium and the Back Together Bash on the Front Lawn, which will feature live music by Ariel & The Highwheels and Kalico, food trucks and family friendly activities. We will also be hosting a special “Commencement Photo Op” for members of the Class of 2020 where the alumni who graduated virtually will finally have the opportunity to walk across the stage and snap the cherished receiving-of-diploma photo.
College ranked as 2022 Best Regional College in the South and Top Performer in Social Mobility
Kentucky Wesleyan College has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Regional Colleges in the South for 2022, the highest ranking among regional colleges in Kentucky at #21 in the South. The College was also honored as one of the Top Performers on Social Mobility for 2022, again the highest ranking among regional colleges in Kentucky, at #30 in the South.
“We are honored to be so highly regarded by the prestigious U.S. News & World Report,” said President Dr. Thomas Mitzel. “These superior rankings are a testament to the commitment of our faculty and staff, who provide a high quality education with personal attention to each student.”
Associate Professor of Psychology Chair, Social Sciences Division
Hometown Born and raised in Laramie, Wyo., but considers San Diego to be “home.”
Education “I earned my bachelor of science in biology (emphasis zoology) at San Diego State University. My goal at the time was to be an animal trainer, so I picked up a minor in psychology, which is how I was first exposed to the field of cognition. I fell in love right away! All the topics we covered were so fascinating, but I was still determined to work with marine mammals.
“During a biology course my senior year, we read a journal article on cognition in dolphins and once I realized I could merge my two interests, that was that! I started to pursue graduate work in marine mammal behavior and cognition and ended up at the University of Southern Mississippi, where I earned both my master’s and Ph.D. in experimental psychology.”
Teaching responsibilities “My area of expertise falls under experimental psychology, so I tend to teach the courses that are more research-based rather than those that are applied (such as counseling). I have had the pleasure of teaching a number of courses in our program, including intro psych, human development, cognitive psychology, sensation and perception, learning theories, statistics, social psychology and research methods. I’ve also been able to create two new courses within our program: animal behavior, which I co-teach with a member of the zoology program, and animal cognition. I love being able to show students that psychology isn’t just about mental illness and therapy. There’s so much more to it!”
Why did you attend Kentucky Wesleyan? “I grew up in Nebo in Hopkins County, and I considered attending a large state university. But my high school basketball coach, Lyle Dunbar ’61, put me in touch with Guy Strong (KWC basketball coach), and he won me over. I have always been glad I made the decision to attend Wesleyan, which is still a big part of my life.”
Tell us about your years as a student. “Everybody knew everybody, and that was a good thing. Faculty knew students, and students knew all the faculty and other students. It was a great environment with a lot of support and fun, too.
“All of the coaches, faculty and staff were unbelievable. They wanted to help us, and they did. They gave us their time, which was the best thing they could give us. They were always patient and always available.
“Our professors taught us as individuals. They really got to know us. I particularly remember Joe (English) and Margaret (sociology) Britton, Dr. Robert Dalzell (biology) and Walter Beumel (education). There were so many outstanding faculty members that I hesitate to single them out, but they immediately come to mind.
“Our coaches wanted us to graduate. That was more important to them than winning games. They cared about winning, too, but most of all, they cared about us as students, not as athletes.
Kentucky Wesleyan College is one of the 143 best colleges in the Southeast according to The Princeton Review. The education services company lists Kentucky Wesleyan in the Best in the Southeast section of its “2022 Best Colleges: Region by Region” website. Kentucky Wesleyan has earned this recognition for 18 consecutive years.
“We are honored to again receive this prestigious honor,” said President Thomas Mitzel. “Our faculty and staff are deeply committed to our students, and this recognition reflects their dedication to providing a personalized quality education in a nurturing environment.”
The colleges included in the “Best in the Southeast” listing are located in 12 Southeastern states, and Princeton Review honors a total of 655 colleges in five U.S. regions and internationally.
The Kentucky Wesleyan College Theatre Department presents “A Doll’s House Part II” on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m., Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. and on Sept. 16, 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. The play will be presented at Activity Hall at 3300 Frederica St.
Director Jordan Blake Key ’18, returning to his alma mater to direct his former professor, Nate Gross, says, “We are offering an engaging experience as we will perform in the round with the stage surrounded by a giant birdcage and the audience surrounding that. Audiences will have an intimate look at the most heated, most tender, and most awkward moments provided by the play. Additionally, there will be a talk back with the actors following the play about the character viewers sided with and why.”
Award-winning playwright Lucas Hnath continues the story of the groundbreaking classic 1879 play by Henrik Ibsen in which Nora Helmer makes the shocking decision to leave her husband and children and begin a life on her own. This climactic event—when Nora slams the door on everything in her life—instantly propelled world drama into the modern age. In “A Doll’s House Part II,” many years have passed since Nora’s exit. Now, there’s a knock on that same door. Nora has returned. But why? And what will it mean for those she left behind?
Kentucky Wesleyan College announces a significant series of upgrades to its campus network infrastructure in preparation for the new academic year. The improvements will greatly enhance the residential and commuter student experience with greater connectivity across campus for all members of the College community.
“This is an important step and investment into our campus infrastructure,” said President Thomas Mitzel. “With improved connectivity and fiber infrastructure, students, faculty and staff will have better ability to utilize virtual learning environments. Students will enjoy uninterrupted streaming of entertainment on all devices and we have provided additional room for growth in our capacity as we move forward.”
The campus has upgraded its fiber by replacing the existing 1 GB maximum capacity to a fiber optic network with 10 GB maximum capacity. This can be further enhanced to 40 GB capacity with alterations to the network switching. In order to accomplish this massive upgrade, approximately 2.78 miles of new fiber was run throughout the campus, and fiber replacement has taken place in 15 building locations.
The Ralph Gallery of Fine Arts at Kentucky Wesleyan College will feature “ART FOREVER” by local artist and art educator Brian Murphy Aug. 12-Sept. 3. The Ralph Center is located at South Griffith Ave. and College Dr. The exhibit will feature a variety of artworks focusing on enlightenment of the community through sharing of visual stories. Murphy will offer a “Meet The Artist” as he works on his art at the gallery on Aug. 21 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Masks are required for all gallery visitors and “Meet the Artist” attendees with a distance of three feet requested. Gallery visits are free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Why did you attend Wesleyan, and what were the results of that choice? “I grew up in Louisville, and because my family was Methodist, my mother suggested I attend Wesleyan. I was familiar with the campus because I attended the WSCS [Women’s Society of Christian Service, a former Methodist organization] School of Missions several summers as a child with my grandmother and had great memories of those events. In particular, I recall Elizabeth Munday, a phenomenal person, carrying around a big black bag full of toys for the children. I always made a beeline for that kind lady.
“I took Mother’s advice and enrolled. Her advice and my decision changed my life. I graduated in 1973 with a degree in elementary education and later earned a master of education at Western Kentucky University. I taught one year in Horse Branch in Ohio County and then came back to Owensboro and taught in the Daviess County Public School system. After retiring from there, I taught pre-school at my church, St. John United Methodist. KWC formed me. I knew I wanted to become a teacher, and KWC gave me the experiences and skills to enter the workplace with confidence.
Kentucky Wesleyan College has announced another significant investment in student success with the inclusion of textbooks into full-time, on-campus tuition costs beginning in fall 2022.
“At Wesleyan, student success is our top priority, and this effort is another step toward ensuring students have all the tools they need to be successful from day one,” said Matthew Ruark, vice president of admissions and financial aid. “For many first-time college-going families, textbook costs are a barrier to make the successful transition to higher education. We are proud to introduce this tuition model and provide equal access to academic resources.”
This follows the announcement of the Commonwealth Commitment, an unprecedented scholarship investment by Wesleyan into high performing, first-year Kentucky students who need additional scholarship support to achieve a college degree.
Wesleyan has long been innovative in providing student success services to students including no-cost tutoring, study sessions and placing course materials in the Greenwell Library and Learning Center for students. This effort advances those efforts to ensure that students are equipped and resourced to be successful in the classroom.
“Students without course materials fall behind, struggling to keep up with and fully engage in course subject matter,” said Ruark. “Additionally, because the institution is purchasing materials in bulk, the actual per student cost of textbooks is decreased, providing savings across campus that individual students would not individually be able to realize.”