Alumni center new home for campus tours

Katherine Sproles

Despite the “Welcome Center” sign still posted in front of the Kentucky Museum’s doors, the Augenstein Alumni Center has taken the museum’s place as the location where potential Hilltoppers will start their tour of WKU.

Hao Yuan, coordinator of campus visits, said the move was initiated by President Gary Ransdell after the alumni center was completed in April.

Yuan said the $8 million alumni center is a better facility that “enhances the WKU spirit.”

There will no longer be a tour stop at the Kentucky Museum, Yuan said. Instead, it will be pointed out like the other buildings on campus.

“There’s never any reason to go back,” Yuan said.

Potential students can experience WKU history, museum exhibits, information about academic programs and a view of the Wall of Distinguished Alumni at the alumni center, Yuan said.

Ransdell said the building was made as a showcase for WKU tradition.

“We want a student’s first impression to be made in a place where that history and those traditions are on display,” Ransdell said.

“To marry a prospective student with a concept of an alumni center is a marvelous synergy.”

Even Timothy Mullin, head of the Library Special Collections in the Kentucky Museum, said the alumni center was built with the intention of making it the new welcome center.

While Mullin said that while he loves the museum, the alumni center is impressive.

“I think it’s a good thing for them,” Mullin said. “What a better space for future WKU students to see on their visit.”

Rick Dubose, assistant vice president and executive director of Alumni Relations, agreed that the move was necessary.

He said the Kentucky Museum was a great location until this year.

“There’s a lot more space for exhibits (in the alumni center),” Dubose said. “There’s a Hall of Inspiration and the Hall of Distinguished Alumni where potential students will start their tour. It gives them a better feel of what it means to be a Hilltopper.”

Dubose said future WKU students can expect to see a lot of WKU tradition at the alumni center.

“Wherever you look, there’s a piece of WKU,” Dubose said.