Why I Give – Tom Major ’79

Kentucky Wesleyan tradition runs deep with the Major family. Trustee, Tom Major ’79, shares his Wesleyan experience and the reasons he gives back to the College in so many ways:

I attended Wesleyan because my brother Berry [Major ’60] was a graduate of the school. Our father was a member of Conference when the vote was taken to relocate from Winchester to Owensboro. As a little boy, I often looked at the Pophyrians from Berry’s time there and became acquainted with the College. As I approached my teenage years, I spent many evenings in the Sportscenter and Roberts Stadium watching my beloved Panthers. Unfortunately, as college decision-making time approached, I did not think I could afford to go to Wesleyan and opted for a community college. However, as I approached my sophomore year, I still wanted to attend Wesleyan and through scholarships, grants and work study (I call this Wesleyan Finds a Way), I made the move and never looked back.  Also, I am proud to say that Berry’s son, Mitch [Major ’92], and Mitch’s wife, Laurie [(Weida) Major ’92], are also graduates.

I have many good memories of my time at 3000 Frederica. I was fortunate to be instructed by some legendary professors such as Dr. Tom Rogers and Uncle Dub (Gus Paris). Dr. Ray Purdom allowed me to take a spot on the tennis team, and I enjoyed intramural sports and late-night runs to Sambo’s, the Royce or the Big E that strengthened friendships that last to this day. I was at the Sportscenter every time we opened its doors.

As an accounting major, I was blessed to have a professor extraordinaire in Jerry Trinkle. She equipped not only students from Wesleyan, but also from Brescia, with the tools necessary to enter their careers well prepared. I have used those tools in the finance portion of my career, and they have also been of great assistance in dealing with business owners and CFOs in my work in the insurance industry. I am pleased to say the excellence in teaching in the Accounting Department continues to this day, and we are recognized as an elite institution for preparing future accountants for the CPA exam.

During my student days, my work study job was in the Alumni Office. In this role, I was exposed to many of the greats from both the Winchester and Owensboro eras who made giving to Wesleyan a priority in their lives.  Also, during this time, I read a little blurb in the alumni newsletter about an alumnus from the Rockport, Ind., area who had given a gift to Wesleyan every year since his graduation, so that became an immediate goal of mine, and I have honored it faithfully for almost 40 years. So part of the reason I give is because I saw others do so in order that I could enjoy the Wesleyan experience.

I will continue to give and encourage others to do the same as it is an amazing time to be at Wesleyan.  While I could talk for days about our phenomenal leadership, our outstanding faculty and our excellence in programming academically, culturally and spiritually, the bottom line is that it is all about the students.  Our giving is needed not only to provide funds for general scholarship purposes, but to improve facilities, recruit and retain faculty and provide services that are a must on today’s college campuses.