Why We Give – Rev. Tom ’68 and Susan Eblen

Please share about your life as a pastor.
“It has been a real joy to provide pastoral care to adults, to offer support and encouragement to children and youth, and to proclaim the message of God’s love through Jesus Christ for ALL God’s people. I entered ministry upon God’s call upon my life at a Loucon camp and at my local church (Cairo in Henderson County). I have had congregations in Nortonville, Henderson, Owensboro Trinity, Utica, Central City and Hopkinsville. I served as district superintendent of the Elizabethtown and Lexington districts.”

Why did you choose to attend Wesleyan?
“I decided to become a minister in high school, and I knew Wesleyan offered the focus on religion classes I wanted, as well as being a liberal arts college that would give me a well-rounded education. I was a religion and philosophy major with a minor in English. My KWC education made it possible for me to have a full scholarship to Vanderbilt Divinity School, where I earned a master of divinity degree in 1971. I also did post-graduate work at Lexington theological Seminary.”

What are special memories of your years at Wesleyan?
“I had a fabulous experience my four years at Wesleyan. I was active in several organizations and was elected vice president of the Student Government Association my junior year. I came to Wesleyan as a young, impressionable student, and Wesleyan shaped my life. I had great classroom experiences as well as feeling I had a new family of friends with students, faculty and staff. I experienced the ‘Wesleyan Way’ a long time before we called it that.”

Tell us about your family.
“Susan supported my role as a 20-year KWC trustee and my involvement in alumni activities. We have two daughters (Camille and Catherine) and three grandchildren (Robbie, Benjamin and Allie Kate). The grandchildren are all are teenagers now – yikes!! Camille attended Wesleyan for a few semesters, so she got a taste of our campus. Catherine graduated from KWC in ’95 and served on the Wesleyan staff two different times, as an admission counselor right after her graduation and later as assistant dean of students with Scott Kramer. We are so happy that Catherine has recently joined the KWC Board of Trustees.”

How do you spend your time in retirement?
“I volunteer with an after school ministry called Common Good which reaches 80 kids – kindergarten through high school. I’ve been a mentor with these kids, and I serve on their board. I’ve had two pastoral interims in the past nine years. I teach Sunday School and sing in our choir at Andover United Methodist Church. Susan and I have enjoyed travels, spending three weeks in Italy last October. Of course, my role as ‘Poppie’ brings me the greatest of joys!!!”

Why do you give to KWC?
“We give because I am so grateful for how Wesleyan has blessed my life and helped develop my gifts and skills for ministry and for life. How could studies in religion have any better start than with Dr. Beavin and Dr. Rogers? Just a few weeks ago, as I taught my Sunday School class, I referenced Ms. Forgy, who taught my speech and oral communications classes. She turned a shy, timid boy into one who could stand on his feet and project a coherent message!  Margaret (Baggett) Britton ’56, Don Davenport, Dean Joe Roop ’56 and Chaplain Lewis Ricketts ’52 all impacted my life. I give back because these people gave so much to me, and I want future students to have these same opportunities for an outstanding education.

“We have been annual donors for decades and are proud President’s Circle members. We have KWC in our will, and we will continue to give, financially and otherwise.”

We are so grateful for the beautiful patio. Where did your inspiration come from to enhance our campus in this way?
“Conversations with Scott Kramer and Eddie Kenny led to this project. I’ve often thought of doing something like this for the campus, and the fact that the Eblen Family Patio is just outside the Chaplain’s office made it an even more special project for me. I’ve walked by that space so many times, starting with my freshman year in 1964, during my chaplaincy years from 1976-1981, and as I walked to Board meetings for many years.

Why do you encourage others to give to KWC?
“I know KWC is still impacting lives in a very positive way. The College is a special place where young adults can grow up, learn about life and service and get a great education. Graduate schools gladly welcome KWC graduates.

“Giving to Wesleyan means sharing in the future of the College and helping provide an excellent faith-based liberal arts education for generations to come. What an opportunity to make an impact on our world.”