Why I Give: Jim Griffin ’86

“I want others to have the same opportunities Wesleyan gave me. I had a full basketball scholarship, and I realize now what it meant to me. Kentucky Wesleyan is more than a school; it’s a special place, a community. I owe the College something. I think it’s an important responsibility to give back.”


“My Dad was an FBI agent, so we lived many places. I graduated from high school in Oldham County, Ky.”


Criminal Justice


Two sons, Noah (17) and Ryan (14)

Why did you choose Kentucky Wesleyan?

“I was recruited to play basketball by many schools. When I visited Wesleyan, I fell in love with the College, and I knew I had found the place for me. I never regretted it for one second. I came here for athletics, but the benefits of my choice are much bigger than athletics alone.”

What special memories do you have?

“I made life-long friends, and I talk to them all the time! I attended 11 schools when I was growing up, so my College friendships are very important to me.

I got to play in two NCAA Final Fours and am still close to my coaches, Mike Pollio and Wayne Chapman.  I got to tour Europe with the team. Former Wesleyan head coach Ray Harper was a teammate, and I became very close to his family.

President Bart Darrell and I were friends back then and remain close friends today.”

Who were your mentors when you were a student?

“In addition to my coaches, I think of Dr. Ken Ayers, my criminal justice professor. We stay in contact, and I spoke to one of his classes recently.

I also think of Gus Paris, who was in administration. He was tough, but he was helpful and fair. And I think of Dr. Bob Darrell, who was a great professor.

The small college environment is a good thing. When we didn’t attend class, the faculty missed us. They cared about us and looked out for us.”

Tell us about your career.

“I retired from the Kentucky State Police (KSP) in 2012 after 26 years employment. I worked undercover the last three years and was on loan to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to do everything I wanted to do with the KSP.

I founded Big Sky Solutions, a private detective firm, in 2012. We do investigative and executive bodyguard work from New York to Mexico.”

How did Wesleyan prepare you for your life and career?

“I know the value of a liberal arts education because I have experienced it. The liberal arts provide students with the opportunity to be well-rounded individuals. For example, Professor Marisue Coy taught me to write. In my career, I have always had to explain everything I do on paper, and she prepared me to do that. I know how to think on my feet, and I know how to get things done. I learned both of these valuable skills at Wesleyan.

When I applied to the KSP after graduation in 1986, a total of 5,000 people applied for 75 jobs. Three of those jobs went to Wesleyan criminal justice graduates – Terry Strong ’86, Greg Cox ’87 and myself. Terry later worked for the Jefferson County Police, and Greg became an FBI agent.”

What does The Wesleyan Way mean to you as an alumnus and as a trustee?

“The Wesleyan Way is a way of life and should impact everything we do. I wear my purple Wesleyan Way bracelet 24/7 as a reminder. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all lived it? Life is relationships, and The Wesleyan Way gives us guidance in making a difference.”

Where do you see our College in five years?

“We are a shining star. As I look to the future, I believe great things are going to happen. They already are, and I give the faculty and staff a lot of credit.”