Why I Give: Rev. Dr. William Bowling ’56

“I give because Wesleyan first gave to me, and I have an obligation to give back. I have remembered Wesleyan in my will, and I have also recommended youth to attend the College. 

I encourage all who have attended Wesleyan to do three things. First, make an annual gift to Wesleyan – whatever you can do regardless of the amount. Also, do your part to encourage students to attend Wesleyan, and remember Wesleyan in your will regardless of the amount.”

As a junior at Louisville Male High School, I visited Kentucky Wesleyan College when the campus was located at Winchester. There was never any question about my college choice.

My memories of my college years are all good. I had many fine professors including Katie Peterson, Gus Paris, Walter Lisanby, Fred Pfisterer, Pauline Peeples and a host of others.

I enjoyed involvement in drama and was in “Our Town.” I also wrote a play that was produced on campus and later taken on the road as a way to promote the College. I worked on the Panogram with Frankie Scott Hager ’57, and we did the layout.

I served as associate pastor at Beaver Dam Methodist Church while I was a student and worked with the youth.

In 1956 I was appointed to the North Elkton Circuit, and I married Dorothy that September. I had never lived on a farm, but I was named Rural Pastor of the Year at Annual Conference in 1958, along with Wesleyan graduate Charles Bennett ’57.

I was appointed to a church in Atlanta in 1958 and attended Emory University Candler School of Theology.

Later I was appointed to begin a new church in Louisville, the Watkins Memorial Church on Westport Road. While there, we began a drive-in church service in addition to our regular service. It was very well-received. After the first drive-in service, the Courier-Journal ran a photo of the service on the front page. The photographer came back about once a year and took a photo, and he told me after one service that he always appreciated the opportunity to be there.

After 15 years at Watkins, I served at Fourth Avenue in Louisville and was chaplain to the Jefferson County Police Department for 18 years. I was director of the Conference Council on Ministries, superintendent of the Owensboro District, and pastor of First United Methodist churches in Madisonville and Greenville.

Following my retirement in June 1996, I became the program director at Jeffersontown United Methodist Church in Louisville, where I still serve today.

I look back on my years as a Wesleyan student with gratitude. The College prepared me academically and socially for my ministry and for life.