As the Alumni Association prepares for thousands of alumni to return to campus, it is also expecting an increase in the association’s activity and membership, according to association employees.
Ginny Hensley, director of Alumni Programming, estimated approximately 30,000 people would be on and around campus for homecoming weekend. She said, as a result, there is an “elevation” in Alumni Association activity.
“In relation to membership and more activities, homecoming always produces,” Hensley said. “We’re always going to see an elevation in membership, in giving, in engagement, in all those pieces.”
Hensley said many students and alumni are excited to celebrate President Gary Ransdell’s time on campus through the theme “Oh the Places You’ll Go: A Ransdell Story.”
“We’re truly celebrating what President Ransdell has done this entire year,” Hensley said. “Not just celebrating him, but celebrating the transition and so many things about campus has changed in his 20-year tenure. We’re celebrating all of those things, not just the person, but WKU as a whole.”
The Alumni Association will induct three WKU alumni at one of the biggest Alumni Association events,the Hall of Distinguished Alumni Luncheon. Tracy Morrison, associate director of the WKU Alumni Association, said it’s expecting anywhere between 500 and 600 attendees this year.
“It’s a very large event,” Morrison said.
Morrison said the luncheon has 39 corporate sponsors who “help offset the cost of the event,” as well as a large amount of community support. Franklin Bank and Trust Company also serves as the presenting sponsor of the luncheon.
“It’s a special tradition,” Hensley said. “It’s a very ceremonial event, and it’s been years since our crowd has been below 500. It’s a popular one, and it’s truly heartwarming to see what alums can do once they leave here.”
Morrison said they had seen a “surge” in interest from alumni and community members around homecoming events this year.
“The community is very excited about celebrating [Ransdell’s] 20 years on campus,” Morrison said.
Joe Morel, a WKU alumni and volunteer chair of the homecoming parade, said the parade draws alumni back to campus, both to watch and volunteer with the parade.
Morel said he felt Homecoming is a time when WKU’s students and alumni demonstrate the motto that “The Spirit Makes the Master.”
“In that one week out of the year, that spirit really seems to shine,” Morel said.
Morel said homecoming is when he sees “how the school comes together that one week to show the sense of pride and spirit for the university.”
“It might be cliché, but you really see how ‘The Spirit Makes the Master,’” Morel said.
Reporter Monica Kast can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @monicakastwku.