We offer our deepest thanks to Dr. Paula Dehn who will retire June 30 after 13 years as vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college. Dr. Dehn has been a steadfast leader who served with tremendous dedication to our students and the mission of the College.
Dr. Dehn, we appreciate your hard work, determination and sense of humor and wish you the best in your much-deserved retirement!
What were your greatest accomplishments as vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college?
Being able to hire great faculty and staff who are committed to educating the whole student
Developing new, while strengthening old, academic and co-curricular programs and opportunities – music, theatre, health sciences, online degrees
Creating the Wesleyan Fellows program to support students participating in undergraduate research, scholarly and creative work with faculty
Writing grants which funded the sophomore year experience, National Science Foundation S-STEM scholars, Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning, the campus fit trail
Building the new Center for Student Success with its wonderful faculty, who help students succeed academically
What challenges did you face, and how did you deal with them? “The major challenge has been financial. I grew up with the understanding that the Lord helps those who help themselves, so writing grants has created opportunities and led to new grants which have expanded opportunities for students and faculty. For example, once we had the new Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning, the director secured several grants to develop and expand service learning via the Bonner Leaders program.”
Country music fan Sydney Smith was thrilled when her favorite local radio station, WBKR 92.5 – The Country Station, featured an article about her May 4 social media post. Sydney had suggested to President Thomas Mitzel that the College celebrate Star Wars with a clever nod to “May the Fourth Be with You” featuring him as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
An Owensboro High School graduate, in 2018 she earned a B.S. in entertainment industry studies with a minor in public relations at Belmont University in Nashville. Following a stint as a Grand Ole Opry tour guide, she was a video licensing specialist in Nashville and helped people manage their viral videos to increase views and make money on their efforts. She returned to her hometown during the pandemic and joined the Admissions team at KWC in October 2020.
“I loved the close-knit atmosphere and opportunities I would not have had access to at a larger university. KWC was my first college visit. I knew after that visit I had found my home for the next four years!
“KWC is very near and dear to my heart! Ben and I give because we simply believe in giving back. Ben is an alumnus of WKU and NKU; however, he knows my love for KWC and is very supportive of our giving. My time at KWC was such an amazing experience, and Ben and I both want others to be able to share in that experience.”
Family “I am married to Ben Byers, who has a law practice in Owensboro focusing on elder law. We have two children. Jon-Hunter will be a senior at Apollo High School, and Sophia will be a fifth grader at Eastview Elementary. We stay busy with Jon-Hunter and Sophia’s activities including football, dance and golf.”
The Spring 2021 issue of the Kentucky Wesleyan Magazine is now in print and available online. Enjoy the latest issue, which includes a cover feature on “What Unites Us” along with features on the progress of our Three Pillars, Dr. Randy Capps ’57, Professors Nate and Molly Gross, Sashalia Ramirez ’23 and Panther football’s sophomore quarterback Wiley Cain ’23. The issue also has staff profiles and a special “Why We Give” with Camilla (Harreld) ’72 and Glenn Taylor, plus an endowment update Class Notes and more! Click below to view this issue online.
Kentucky Wesleyan College has received funding from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER), which is federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES). This funding was given to governors to provide emergency aid to combat state-specific needs resulting from the pandemic. Kentucky Wesleyan received $44,950.
Wesleyan will use the funding to enhance the Rising Scholars Program, which serves students who need additional assistance to help ensure they begin college with good foundations and continue their enrollment that progresses to graduation.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant, which will allow us to expand our Rising Scholars program to include a summer bridge program.,” said Rebecca McQueen-Ruark, vice president of student affairs and dean of student services. “The bridge program is an intensive week of sessions designed to assist students in the transition from high school to college, adjust to the academic rigor of college, build connections with their peers and establish mentoring relationships with student success coaches (volunteer staff members). We will equip them with tools they need to earn their degrees at Kentucky Wesleyan.”
The Kentucky Wesleyan College Zoology Program invites the public (ages 3 and older) to take part in a fun and engaging learning experience in the Nature Center Shelter in the Jim Lambert Pioneer Village at Yellow Creek Park on Saturday, May 8, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The event does not include purposely scary props or activities.
“Whether you like, dislike, or even fear spiders, they are an incredibly important part of the communities in which they live,” said Dr. Jeremy Gibson, zoology program coordinator and assistant professor of zoology. “They are often key members of food webs as they typically create linkages between many different organisms.
Dr. Gibson added, “All spiders rely on substrate-borne vibrations to sense the world around them and depending on the type of spider, they may rely on a web or whatever they might be standing on to listen for prey. Here in Kentucky, our forests, fields and even our houses are homes to several different types of spiders. We will share some of their world through crafts, an interactive activity and a scavenger hunt.”
Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Internship Grant funds position
Kentucky Wesleyan College was awarded an Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Internship Grant by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II in April 2021. The grants are designed to enhance ethnic minority and gender representation in intercollegiate athletics administration and assistant coaching positions. For example, ethnic minority females, typically underrepresented, comprise less than 7% of the population of athletics professionals at member institutions in all three divisions. The grant opportunity was created to provide member institutions with financial support to increase diversity in athletic departments while giving amateur administrators and coaches needed experience.
The Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Internship Grant funds a full-time, entry-level athletics administrative position for one academic year. The grant provides exposure to strategic planning; budget management; fundraising; campus and NCAA compliance; sport oversight; student-athlete welfare issues and initiatives; academics; diversity and inclusion initiatives; and staff oversight/management.
The College is now accepting applications for a Compliance and Student-Athlete Development Coordinator, a full-time 10 to 12-month position that is funded by the grant.
“We are honored to receive this competitive NCAA grant which will help us toward our goal of increasing diversity on our staff while providing valuable experience for the coordinator and much needed assistance in our Athletics Department,” said Mark Shook, senior associate athletic director for internal operations/compliance.
During Kentucky Wesleyan College’s 153rd Annual Commencement on Saturday, Apr. 24, the College honored Dr. Yu Hak Hahn ’58 by awarding an Honorary Doctorate of Business. Dr. Hahn was unable to attend, but rightly recognized for all of his career accomplishments and commitment to his undergraduate alma mater.
Born in Seoul, Korea, Yu Hak Hahn came to the United States as a teenager in 1954. He spoke very little English and had no money to support himself. He and his mother and siblings were victims of the North Korean invasion of Seoul, and they lost their husband/father, home and livelihood. Mr. Hahn persevered and was awarded a tuition scholarship to Kentucky Wesleyan. He earned living expenses by working in the College cafeteria with full-time jobs during the summer months.
He earned a bachelor of arts in mathematics from Wesleyan, a master’s degree in physics from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. from Penn State.
Dr. Hahn accepted a position as a senior scientist with Bausch & Lomb in Rochester, N.Y., and in 1967, he founded his own company, Laser Energy, Inc., and manufactured high power lasers.
Education “I am a graduate of Wofford College where I studied business economics, mathematics and authentic southern hospitality. I earned my master’s degree in economics at the University of Kentucky, where I discovered an unexpected passion for teaching college students and earned the Nomination for the Most Inspirational Woman of Gatton Award. I have since published research papers in peer-reviewed journals in the field of economic education, as well as presented at many Economic Association conferences.”
KWC responsibilities “I have served as assistant professor of economics for the last two years, developing and instructing economics courses ranging from introductory principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics to managerial economics and money, credit and banking. Prior to this, I taught at the University of Kentucky and survived the blizzards of Upper Iowa University.”
Where did you grow up? “I am a native of Louisville, home of the world famous Kentucky Derby. I first visited the KWC campus when I was about 11 years oId. I was on a traveling halftime basketball show called the Mini-Pros, and we did tricks like the Harlem Globetrotters.”
KWC program again achieves national recognition as fourth in country
Kentucky Wesleyan College’s online bachelor’s degree program in graphic design has earned recognition as a 2021 Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Program in Graphic Design by BestColleges.com, which aims to connect individuals with institutions that will best prepare them for the future. Tuition costs, financial aid availability, general student success, retention and graduation rates were all ranking factors. According to BestCollees.com, the Kentucky Wesleyan program exceeded expectations.
The Wesleyan online bachelor’s degree program in graphic design was also recognized in February by Study.com as fourth in the country among colleges and universities.
“We focus on providing personal attention with the added value of practical experience through internships, and our students thrive and excel,” said Dr. Rebecca Francis, director of adult and online education and associate dean of the College. “We are thrilled that our online bachelor’s degree program in graphic design is being recognized again.”