New Board of Regents appointee is active in the WKU community

Taylor Harrison

The new member of the Board of Regents appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear on Monday has been a part of the WKU community for quite some time.

Phillip Bale, a physician who lives in Glasgow, will replace Rob Wilkey, who moved to Florida and is unable to fulfill board duties. Bale’s first Regents meeting will be April 26. Bale said he believes he will finish out Wilkey’s term, which expires on June 30, 2015.

Bale said he looks forward to interacting with the WKU community.

“The stimulating atmosphere of a university, from an intellectual standpoint, is exciting to me,” he said.

He said he cares about education, and as a physician, spent a lot of time in school. He also served on his local school board for 12 years, eight as chairman.

“It’s at a time in my life where being able to serve on a university board feels right and I think my past experience will position me to hopefully have something to contribute to it,” he said. “But education really has been central to my life, all my life.”

Bale’s wife, Kristen, previously served on the Board of Regents for 13 years, and served as chair of the board from 2000-2002. She said she was excited about her husband’s appointment.

“I was thrilled,” she said. “That will reconnect us with the Western community, whom we both enjoy, and it’s another way to give back to our community and the Western community.”

Kristen said during her time serving on the board, she enjoyed serving the university population first and foremost, but also enjoyed working with the administration, faculty and students.

“After you serve for 13 years, you develop a lot of good, solid friendships,” she said.

Kristen left the board after serving two terms, as that is the most someone can serve consecutively. While she said this is a good system, she was sad to go.

Kristen and Phillip did not attend WKU, but they had a son who attended as an undergraduate and another who got a Master’s degree at WKU.

“We’ve written a few tuition checks, in other words,” he said.

Growing up in Elizabethtown, Phillip said he knew a lot of people that attended WKU, and living in Glasgow, WKU is a big part of the community.

“Western is the closest major university to us that has a significant presence in Glasgow and is extremely important to our community, where we’ve lived the last 34 years,” he said.

Phillip said he put his name in the hat for the position several years ago, but he had to wait until there was an opening and the governor had to choose from the three candidates a panel recommends to him.

President Gary Ransdell has known Phillip for quite some time, and is pleased with his appointment. He said Phillip and Kristen are active in the WKU community, having donated to WKU and often attended events.

“He knows the university, he’s bright, he’s interested,” Ransdell said. “He’ll be a superb board member.”