Why We Give – Cindra Stiff and Jimmy Ray

Cindra Stiff and Jimmy Ray have made an investment in the Faith in Action campaign to renovate Tapscott Chapel with an initial gift and a generous pledge. Will you join them? You can make an online gift at kwc.edu/give (specify “Chapel Renovation” in the designated space) or by sending a check.

“I am blessed now to be enjoying retirement, while Jimmy still has a few more years until he joins me. I was with Wesleyan long enough to see so many students enter college and then find their way while they were students. We treasure the opportunities education provided us to build a great life together, and we feel it is our responsibility to share financially so others can have educational opportunities.

“I knew I wanted to pursue higher education as a career after an internship at my alma mater, Eastern Illinois University. As a first generation college graduate, I felt I was suited to a career focus that supported and encouraged young people through education.

“I wanted to be directly involved with making a difference by using the training and tools of my business education. Initially, I didn’t plan to stay at Wesleyan as long as I did, but even in challenging times, I felt privileged to be there with many chances to impact students and hopefully have a positive impact on their college experience.

“I worked with teams of colleagues over the years who were motivated, committed and persistent and wanted to help our students and the College thrive. I cherish my memories of Gus Paris, who served as registrar, on the faculty and in many other capacities. He made such an impact on my life as a fine example of a higher education professional.

“I remember Shawn Tomes ’94, too. I was able to help guide him through some challenges as a first generation student. He found his way at KWC, and now serves as director of campus ministries and is giving back in such a significant way.

“I also think of the competitiveness of college recruitment and the challenges institutions confront regularly, plus managing the recovery from the tornado in 2000, Hurricane Ike in 2008 and the ice storm in 2009. In addition, we transformed the campus with the Winchester Center, Yu Hak Hahn Center for the Sciences and renovation of the fourth floor as the Center for Business Studies and of the Ralph Fine Arts Center. A strong team met those challenges together, and it was very gratifying to be a part of that.

“In my retirement, I’m focusing on family time as well as serving as chair of the board of the Eastern Illinois University Foundation. Wesleyan will always be a part of both of us, and we will continue to support Wesleyan’s mission. Jimmy is very interested in the College and was very supportive of my work – Wesleyan remains a personal priority for both of us. We’ve seen for decades the immeasurable impact Kentucky Wesleyan has had on so many lives.”