Former university vice president, Facebook marketing leader, late local doctor to be honored alumni at upcoming homecoming event


Michael Crimmins and Lily Burris

Three alumni are being inducted into the WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni during this year’s homecoming celebrations.

Howard Bailey, Michelle James and the late Dr. Rebecca Shadowen will receive this honor for their various works done for the university.

Howard Bailey

Bailey is a retired vice president for student affairs. He held his position for eight years before his retirement in 2015, but his contributions to the WKU community date back to his time as a student at WKU in 1966. 

Bailey cleared the way for Black students in higher education during his time as a student as well as an alumni  He was one of the founding members of Kappa Alpha Psi, the first Black fraternity at WKU.

He has also served as a mentor and staff regent. He is also a founding member of countless organizations including the local NAACP. He has always believed in the power of education to change young lives, and his feelings are mirrored by his exceptional life. 

Michelle James

James currently works with Facebook Inc. as the head of their culture and community marketing team for Instagram. She is known for her leadership on campaigns that increase brand visibility and audience engagement.

She has been recognized for her work deciphering and utilizing complex data on the general market and multicultural audiences. 

James received a bachelor’s degree from WKU in broadcasting and psychology, a master’s degree from New York University in print and digital media and completed the Cable Executive Management Program at Harvard Business School. 

She also launched a podcast, “Cocktails and Cancer,” as part of the Google Podcasts creator program.

Dr. Rebecca Shadowen

Shadowen returned to Bowling Green in 1989 to open her practice, serving as one of the first infectious disease experts in southcentral Kentucky. Along with her 31 years of experience of treating HIV/AIDS patients, she also assisted those who were traveling obtain their vaccinations.

Her record of work in medicine is extensive. She worked with several investigational drugs and taught in the field at three different universities. She was also elected to both the American College of Physicians and the Society of Hospital Epidemiologists. 

Shadowen also ran experimental treatments for COVID-19 and helped establish the COVID unit at the local Med Center Health building, a unit she also directed. 

She was named Outstanding Woman of Achievement in Health and Science by the BG Human Rights Commision in 2011.

She is remembered by her husband, whom she met while a student at WKU, and her two children.

News reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @michael_crimm.

Editor-in-Chief Lily Burris can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @lily_burris.