Canadian ambassador plans to visit WKU

Emma Collins

A Glasgow native serving as the U.S. ambassador to Canada is scheduled to visit the Gatton Academy and WKU this week.

Kelly Craft was appointed as the ambassador to Canada by President Donald Trump in fall of 2017. Cecile Garmon, director of the Center for Leadership and Excellence, said Craft’s sister contacted Garmon and said Craft would like to visit Gatton Academy. Craft co-founded the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, a residential high school at Morehead State University similar to Gatton Academy.

Garmon said she was excited after learning the ambassador was interested in visiting campus. The visit is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 15.

“I don’t know when we’ve had a sitting ambassador here before,” Garmon said.

Craft’s visit includes breakfast with President Timothy Caboni, an interview with WKU media, lunch at the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, a discussion with a group of WKU women faculty and a presentation for students in Gary Ransdell Hall Auditorium, according to a tentative agenda.

Craft attended the University of Kentucky and graduated in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts in topical international law, according to the UK registrar’s office. She founded a marketing and business advisory firm and has served on the UK Board of Trustees, according to the website for the U.S. Embassy in Canada. Craft also served as an alternate delegate to the United Nations General Assembly after former-President George W. Bush appointed her as one in 2007.

Craft and her husband, Joe, are well-known Republican donors, according to the Glasgow Daily Times. The Federal Election Commission’s October 2016 third quarter report of receipts and disbursements for the committee named “Trump Victory” shows Craft and her husband donated over $430,000 to Trump’s campaign between July and September 2016. The Crafts were also co-chairs of Inaugural Committee for Kentucky’s Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. They chaired the Kentucky campaign for 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to the Glasgow Daily Times.

Garmon said she was surprised when Craft’s sister contacted her to set up a visit. Garmon said she was friends with Craft’s mother and knew Craft when she was a young girl, but she never envisioned her coming to Bowling Green as an ambassador.

Garmon said she never imagined the young Craft growing up to be the ambassador to Canada.

“It was exciting when I saw that President Trump had appointed her,” she said.

Garmon said she thinks it’s good for young people from the area to see they have a wide range of opportunities.

“It’s really exciting for us to see that can be the future,” Garmon said.

All students are invited to hear Craft speak at 2:20 p.m. Thursday in Ransdell Hall Auditorium. The hour-long event will include a presentation and a question-and-answer session, according to the schedule. Garmon said the event is designed for students, but is open to anyone.

News editor Emma Collins can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow Emma on Twitter at @_mccain_emma_.