WKU

WKU

WKU has announced the names of four individuals who will make up the 24th class of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. The quartet will be inducted during WKU’s homecoming weekend, Nov 7-9.

The four are:

  • Dan King/ Men’s Basketball 1952-54; Baseball 1952-54

King helped the basketball team win 85 percent of its games during his time on the Hill, and a star on the school’s 1954 team that won 4th place in the NIT. Coach E.A. Diddle oncecalled King, a 6’5” power forward, the fastest player he ever coached.

King also once pitched both games of a doubleheader and won both contests. He helped lead the WKU baseball team to two Ohio Valley Conference championships, in 1952 and 1953.

  •  Darnell Mee/ Men’s Basketball 1991-93

Mee was named an All-America selection in 1993, the same year he helped lead the Hilltoppers to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Mee scored 1,253 points during his career, ranking him 18th all-time on that list. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1993 and played in Denver from 1993 to 1995.

WKU Athletics

WKU basketball fans who watch Saturday’s U.S.A-Mexico FIBA World Cup game will recognize one of the Mexican players from his time on the Hill.

Guard Orlando Mendez-Valdez played at WKU from 2005 to 2009, and was a key member of the Hilltoppers’ 2008 team that reached the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16. Mendez-Valdez plays in a professional league in Mexico, and has been a key contributor to the country’s World Cup team.

The U.S. team went 5-0 in the tournament’s group stage, and is led by a group of NBA stars including James Harden, Derrick Rose, and former University of Kentucky standout Anthony Davis.

The U.S. takes on Mexico in the knockout stage of the FIBA World Cup Saturday at 9 a.m. central. The game is being televised on ESPN 2.

Flickr Creative Commons

WKU wants to convince more middle and high school girls to pursue classes in the STEM fields. More than 200 area girls in grades 5-12 will be on campus Saturday, Sept. 6, for the Girls in Science Day event.

The effort will focus on helping girls explore fields of study in science, technology, engineering, and math. Program coordinator Melissa Rudloff says many girls who initially excel in science-related classes take fewer of those courses as they get older.

“Research tells us that going back to elementary and middle school, many of those girls who may have entered those professions definitely had interest and ability in those fields. But somewhere along the way they become channeled in different directions. And many may do that themselves, or maybe it’s through the lack of experiences they have,” said Rudloff, who is the Professional-In-Residence at WKU’s SKyTeach program, which instructs future middle and high school math and science teachers.

One of the events at the Girls in Science Day gathering will be a talk led by Cheryl Stevens, Dean of the Ogden College of Science and Engineering. Rudloff believes it’s extremely important for girls to meet women who have succeeded in science-related fields.

Emil Moffatt

The Good Samaritan Foundation has once again awarded WKU’s Institute for Rural Health a $50,000 gift to purchase equipment, supplies and flu vaccines. It’s the second year in a row the IRH has received the money. 

The Institute provides medical and dental services for low-income patients in rural areas of south-central Kentucky. It allows students to gain real-world experience working with patients.

Director Matt Hunt says the IRH was able to vaccinate 1,500 patients across the area last year.

The Good Samaritan Foundation Inc. is a ministry of the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

WKU

One game and WKU's quarterback is already in the Conference USA record books. 

Brandon Doughty threw a school record six touchdown passes Friday night leading the Hilltoppers football team to a 59-31 win over Bowling Green State in the season opener. The six touchdowns tied a Conference USA record and his 569 total passing yards was 23 short of the conference record. 

“I’ll be honest I didn’t really notice it until the fourth quarter," Doughty said of his performance. "They were trying to tell me and I just didn’t even want to know. I wanted to stay locked in and didn’t want to get too high on it. I just tried to play my game and was in a really good rhythm early."

The victory was the first for WKU's Jeff Brohm as a collegiate head coach. WKU has now won three straight home openers. 

Clinton Lewis/WKU

WKU is celebrating the grand opening of its newly renovated student center.

The Downing Student Union has undergone a $58 million facelift that includes new dining facilities, lighting, plumbing and HVAC systems. The building formerly known as the Downing University Center, or “DUC”, first opened in 1970.

Renovations began in 2012 after a group of WKU employees and students toured other university student centers to gather ideas about what they would like to see in DSU.

The center of the building is open from the first floor to the third floor, with solar tubes that allow natural light in.  In addition, murals of campus scenes by artist David Jones are painted throughout the building.

A new partnership between WKU and the University of Pikeville will offer new opportunities for students in eastern Kentucky to earn three master’s degrees in health-related fields. The deal announced Thursday will also open up Pikeville’s College of Optometry to WKU students

WKU President Gary Ransdell and UPIKE President James Hurley announced what they’re calling the “East Meets West” partnership. Speaking at the Pikeville campus, Dr. Ransdell said he began conversations with his Pikeville counterpart about a year ago over how the two schools could work together.

WKU will begin offering to UPIKE students this fall an online Speech-Language Pathology pathway program that includes all of the pre-requisite courses students needed to qualify for a master’s in Communication Disorders.

Also available to UPIKE students will be the WKU Master of Healthcare Administration degree, starting in the fall of 2015. The online program will allow current UPIKE medical students and those completing their residency program to finish both a master’s degree and their medical degree at the same time.

Clinton Lewis/WKU

WKU President Gary Ransdell says it’s every employee’s job to help the school retain as many students as possible.

Addressing faculty and staff at Friday morning’s convocation at Van Meter Hall, Dr.Ransdell cited examples of academic progress, including an increase in the average ACT score of first-time baccalaureate students.

But he added that the school is still allowing too many students to leave campus without finishing their degrees.

“We are graduating just over 50 percent of our students in six years and we are still losing 25 percent of each freshman class within one year of their initial enrollment. So, for our students’ sake—if not for our own financial stability—please become part of the solution to keeping our students at WKU until they graduate.”

The WKU President said he was concerned about the value of the school’s remedial courses that many freshmen take. Ransdell added he’s worried the school is losing students who return home after their first semester with only three to six credit hours.

Clinton Lewis/WKU

Earlier this summer, Dave Tatman was named the first executive director of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association. Now he’s joined WKU’s Center for Research and Development. The university says Tatman will act as an interface between the newly-formed association and WKU.

“Dave is a very talented leader and he wants to give back to education,” said Dr. Gordon Baylis, WKU’s Vice President of Research. “WKU has been interested in economic development and in providing technical assistance for industry. And that’s what we’re doing through the Center for Research and Development and our applied research programs. We need people with real manufacturing experience to help us help industry.”

Tatman spent 34 years with General Motors before retiring as plant manager of the Corvette Assembly Plant. 

WKU

The WKU men’s basketball team will open its first season as a member of Conference USA with 18 league games, as well as home contests against Louisville and Belmont.

The Hilltoppers start the season at E.A. Diddle Arena Nov. 14 against Austin Peay, and will play home-and-home series against Conference USA opponents Marshall, Charlotte, Old Dominion, Florida Atlantic, and Florida International.

The rest of WKU’s first-ever Conference USA league schedule features home games against Texas-El Paso, Texas-San Antonio, North Texas, and Rice. The Hilltoppers will go on the road to take on Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, Alabama-Birmingham, and Middle Tennessee.

You can see the entire 2014-15 schedule here.

WKU hosts Belmont Nov. 22, and the Louisville Cardinals Dec. 20.

WKU

The overwhelming majority of in-state students who get bachelor’s degrees from Kentucky’s public universities are remaining in the commonwealth.

A new report from the Center for Education and Workforce Statistics shows over 80 percent of Kentucky students who got a four-year degree from a state-funded school were working in the commonwealth a year later. On the other hand, only 30 percent of out-of-state students who graduate from Kentucky’s undergraduate programs stay in the commonwealth to work.

The report also gives a school-by-school breakdown of how many graduates stay in Kentucky versus those who leave the state, as well as a comparison of the average wages of each school’s degree holders.

You can see what the report had to say about the employment outcomes of WKU graduates here.

Charles McGrew, the executive director of the group behind the report, said schools can use the information to get a better idea of where their graduates are, and how they are doing.

“I think it’s difficult for faculty to know where all of their students go. Sometimes colleges do alumni surveys, but they may not be able to catch many of their alumni after the fact. So they don’t necessarily know how well they’re doing in the workforce, or possibly how long it takes to find a job, or whether they go on to graduate school,” McGrew told WKU Public Radio.

WKU

The new school year brings a new leader for one of Western Kentucky University’s most prestigious programs.   

For 24 straight years, the program has won the Kentucky Forensic Association State championship. The speech and debate program has also won numerous national and international awards.

But the person who has overseen that program for the last four years, Jace Lux, was recently named the Director of Recruitment and Admissions at WKU That opened the door for Ganer Newman IV to return to the university as Director of Forensics. 

He spent the last year at Illinois State University, but before that earned his degree from WKU and was an assistant coach for the forensics team. Newman starts Monday.

Photo by WKU Public Radio photojournalist Abbey Oldham

"It's an exciting time to be a Hilltopper."

That's how first year head coach Jeff Brohm started off WKU football media day inside Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium Saturday morning, just hours before the first of the team's 23 scheduled practices that afternoon.

Besides a new head coach, the third in the past three years, the Tops begin the season in a new conference, moving to Conference USA this summer after decades in the Sun Belt Conference. They finished 8-4 last year, their eighth season in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

"We're excited about joining the new conference," Brohm said, "It'll be a challenge for us and we'll have to earn respect but that's what college football is all about if you want to become the best."

Brohm said the team had a good summer working on strength and conditioning to get in the best shape possible so a lot of players can see game action on both sides of the ball and they can stay fresh. But right now, all the team is thinking about and working towards is the first game of the regular season.

PBS

A former PBS star known as “The Science Guy” and one of America’s most famous jazz musicians highlight the 18th season of WKU’s Cultural Enhancement Series.

Here is the lineup for the 2014-15 Cultural Enhancement Series, released Friday by the university:

Sept. 30: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, 7:30 p.m. at Van Meter Hall. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, comprising 15 of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today, has been the Jazz at Lincoln Center resident orchestra since 1988. (Note: CES Premier Event; tickets available Aug. 25.)

Oct. 15: Bill Nye, 7:30 p.m. at E.A Diddle Arena. The scientist, engineer, comedian, author and inventor is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. (Note: CES Premier Event; tickets available Sept. 15. Co-sponsored by the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky.)

Oct. 28: National Dance Company of Ecuador, 7:30 p.m. at Van Meter Hall. Performance is part of WKU’s celebration of the International Year of Ecuador. (Note: No ticket required; free seating on first-come, first-served basis.)

Nov. 18: Kentucky Glory: Gospel Music from the Commonwealth, 7:30 p.m. at Downing Student Union Auditorium. Performance will feature John Edmonds, Paul Moseley and The Northern Kentucky Brotherhood. (Note: No ticket required; free seating on first-come, first-served basis. Co-presented by the Kentucky Folklife Program at WKU.)

WKU Collaborating on Space Project

Jul 29, 2014
Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky scientists and engineers are collaborating on a project involving research aboard the international space station.

The University of Louisville says a NASA grant is making possible the joint project with scientists and engineers from the University of Kentucky and WKU.

The research involves experiments on colloids, mixtures of microscopic particles suspended throughout a substance. U of L mechanical engineering assistant professor Stuart Williams says the space station setting will help scientists explore how particles interact in zero gravity. U of L says results may include advances in solar energy, advanced manufacturing and other fields.

Williams is the principle scientific investigator. UK's Suzanne Smith is the managing principle investigator. Also involved are U of L's Gerold Willing, WKU's Hemali Rathnayake, UK's Janet Lumpp and NASA partner Ronald Sicker.

Pages