WKU-Glasgow celebrates 25th anniversary

Christian Marnon

WKU’s main campus may be situated on a hill, but it is WKU-Glasgow that has faced an uphill battle.

WKU-Glasgow turned 25 this year, and nearly 200 guests assembled at the regional campus on Thursday to commemorate its journey and transformation.

In its beginning in the 1980s, WKU-Glasgow had limited course offerings and only one staff member. Today, the regional campus houses a faculty of 100 and more than 2,500 enrolled students.

Sally Ray, director of WKU-Glasgow, spoke at the commemoration and reflected with guests, many of whom were instrumental contributors to the success of the school.

“This event is a celebration of the people who made WKU-Glasgow what it is today,” she said. “The success of WKU-Glasgow exemplifies the fact that regional campuses are dynamic and relevant.”

President Gary Ransdell, who shared a role in trail-blazing WKU-Glasgow, also spoke at the event.

“WKU-Glasgow reaches 14 counties and has the richest blend of students of all secondary campuses,” he said. “I’m very proud of the leaders who have come from this university, and I have a bold vision for what we can become here.”

Ray said WKU-Glasgow provides academic opportunity for thousands of students in the region who otherwise would not have had a chance.

WKU-Glasgow alumna Callie Christian validated that assertion.

“College wasn’t something talked about in my family,” she said. “I was working mediocre jobs after high school and eventually I had had enough.”

Christian said WKU-Glasgow opened the academic floodgates.

“I decided to start small at the Glasgow campus,” she said. “This school helped me to realize college was something I could do.”

James Estes, another WKU-Glasgow alumnus, had a similar story.

“The convenience of the WKU-Glasgow campus helped me to take those first uncertain steps towards my degree, a goal I had previously thought was out of reach,” he said. “I’m extremely grateful this campus was established.”

Office coordinator Judy Parker was at one point the only staff member for WKU-Glasgow.

“Initially, I did a little bit of everything, but mostly I was an official adviser,” she said. “Prior to 1986, classes were only offered at libraries.”

Parker said eventually the campus earned enough support to start a center in a Glasgow shopping plaza before becoming an official campus by offering classes at a local elementary school in January 1988.

The current WKU-Glasgow building was constructed in 2002 and is a state-of-the-art facility.

Dean Emeritus Elmer Gray said the 25th anniversary is only a stepping stone for the future of WKU-Glasgow.

“A milestone isn’t an endpoint, it’s something you pass through,” he said. “It was inevitable we would do some good things, and we’re still on our way.”

To close the commemoration, guests participated in the E.A. Diddle-inspired tradition of each waving a red towel placed on the back of their seats and singing the “College Heights” alma mater.

Although WKU-Glasgow is nearly 30 miles away from main campus, this moment made it clear that the two campuses are truly one and the same.