Why I Give – Walter Lee ’75

Why did you attend KWC?
After graduating from high school, I was offered a few athletic scholarships (tennis and basketball) from other schools. After touring the KWC campus, meeting other students, and spending time with the athletic staff, my parents and I decided Kentucky Wesleyan College was the best place for me with the small student/teacher ratio. The distance from home (Princeton, Ky.) made it easier for my family to attend my athletic events.

What are special memories of your years here as a student?
Winning the 1973 National Basketball Championship and celebrating with the whole community was great. The special memories of creating a bond of brotherly love between the 18-20 of us on the championship squad. That bond continues today, and the friendships continue to make life happy for all of us.

The dormitory life with all of my friends and teammates created a lasting memory. We had so much fun together trying to make the moments fun at KWC! Some of my Kendall Hall roomies will remember my morning song on my way to the shower!

How did KWC prepare you for your life and career, and who served as mentors to you?
Like all successful high school athletes, my goal/dream was to become a professional in sports. During the second semester of my sophomore year, I decided I would probably need a backup plan or a career field. I always wanted to coach some day, and a professor by the name of Dr. Walter Beumel, my academic advisor, sat me down one day and informed me if I wanted to be a coach, I needed to go into the educational field. He enrolled me into all the required courses and introduced me to all of the educational staff at KWC. One of those staff members was Dr. Bob Cockrum (to some of us, DC). DC and Dr. Beumel became my mentors, and I could go to them for anything, including social advice. They enrolled me in the right classes and really prepared me for my teaching career.

Tell us about your career.
KWC helped me to have a very successful educational career. I retired 11 years ago from the Owensboro Public School System, where I was a teacher/coach/school administrator for 33 years. Kentucky Wesleyan College prepared me to achieve many accolades including leading the state’s largest principals’ association, the National Association of Elementary School Principals as president. I was named to the Educational Leadership Summit for the U.S. Dept. of Education. I was appointed by the governor of Kentucky to lead an educational commission in Frankfort. Many opportunities have been bestowed on me because of the education and preparation I was given at KWC.

What does the college mean to you today?
Kentucky Wesleyan College means the world to me. Without KWC, I would not be where I am today. The College staff and faculty took a teenage boy and made him into a successful man!

Why do you give to KWC and why do you encourage others to give?
Why not give? Without this great institution, where would most of us be today? KWC presented me with four great years of education, including scholarship funds to help me financially. I can only continue to help fund the school so others can be helped and develop a career and successful life. If you are an alumnus or attended KWC, you were helped in some way and benefited from the lifelong skills you developed from this educational institution. Why not give back? it’s a great way to say “thank you!”