Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

October 19, 2011

WKU-Glasgow focuses on retention

Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — New students at Western Kentucky University-Glasgow Campus were treated to food, music and door prizes during the WKU freshmen assembly Monday afternoon, but that was just a small part of the activities campus director Sally Ray and her staff had prepared for them.

The ceremony was conducted in the auditorium of Barren County High School and brought some of the university’s top administrators to Glasgow for the event. WKU President Gary Ransdell, provost Gordon Emslie, associate vice president Brian Meredith and university college dean Dennis George were all present to speak to members of the Class of 2015.

This is Ray’s first year at the campus as well as the freshmen who were listening in the audience. She urged them to take full advantage of the experiences and opportunities a college education affords them.

“Today’s assembly marks the beginning of an exciting new journey in learning and discovery for you,” she said.

A common thread in the comments of the university’s leadership team was the importance for the freshmen to not only begin college classes this semester, but to persevere and complete their degrees.

Speaking on the theme of “The Value of a College Education,” Meredith said higher education gives students a better quality of life and a diversity of life choices.

“The only thing more expensive than getting a college education is not getting one,” he told the freshmen.

Students have to work hard and will be challenged while pursuing a college degree, according to Ransdell. He encouraged the students to stay focused and finish their coursework because college graduates have 75 percent more earning power and can triple their lifetime earnings by completing a degree.

“Finish because of the money if nothing else,” he said. “It’s expensive, but it’s more expensive if you don’t.”

College is an adventure of the mind, but also an adventure of the heart, according to Ransdell, and students have to blend those two things to be successful and they also have to develop both intellectual and intangible abilities during their academic and social experiences.

Even though college is an expensive undertaking, the amount should be kept in perspective, Ransdell said.

“At some point in your lifetime, you will probably pay more for an automobile than you did your college degree,” he said. “Don’t blow it by failing to finish.”

WKU-Glasgow freshmen may have many reasons for attending the local campus, but convenience for Barren County and Glasgow students seems to be a major motivation.

Jessica Akin, a freshman who wants to study psychology, is one of those students.

“I live in Glasgow and it was really close and it’s just convenient. I think they provide just as well an experience as the Bowling Green campus does,” she said.

Lindsey Humphrey, Akin’s friend, is another new student. She is considering a photojournalism degree and thinks WKU-Glasgow is a good place to transition from high school to college.

“I’m from Glasgow as well. ... I don’t drive yet, so I have to depend on (Akin) or someone else to bring me. They have the same level of experience as the Bowling Green one, even though it doesn’t really feel like a college campus because it’s right next to my old high school. I feel like I’m still going to high school, but I feel more independent,” she said.