Alumni Helping Alumni

by | Feb 2024

“WE ARE stronger together” has become a motto used to encourage individuals to band together to accomplish a greater good for the entire community. In keeping with this growing momentum across the nation, Western Kentucky University (WKU) is expanding its mission to connect its alumni with opportunities to pay it forward, especially with other alumni. 

“One of our board members, Toby Crafton, experienced firsthand a fellow alumnus in need after the tornadoes in December 2021. While there are resources available in times of disaster, they are not always going to cover everything, so Toby brought forward the idea of creating an Alumni Assistance program. We are excited to be launching this program in conjunction with our member-funded scholarship program so we can not only support students but also help alumni. We talk about the lifelong relationship you have as part of the WKU Alumni family, so this program will show that we mean it when we call ourselves a family,” said Executive Director Anthony McAdoo.

According to McAdoo, the WKU Alumni Association has existed since the early days of Western Kentucky’s history, dating back to its founding as Western Kentucky State Normal School in 1906. Seven years later, the Alumni Association was chartered and has been working to involve all members of the WKU family in the life of the institution ever since. Though the programs and services offered have evolved, their core purpose in connecting alumni and friends to WKU and to build a stronger community has remained the same. The addition of this new endeavor of Alumni Helping Alumni guarantees graduates will always have a support system in place when they need it most.

“Not having grown up in this region or attended WKU, I was unaware of how special this institution and community were until I visited for a job interview. I immediately saw a community of compassionate, caring individuals who were committed to helping others and living by the motto, ‘The spirit makes the master.’ Now, I get the honor of working every day to build a community of individuals who help serve as the guardians of that spirit and are constantly looking for new ways to welcome new ‘hilltoppers’ to our community and support them during their climb to the top of the hill and beyond.”

In 2018, the official census of Warren County showed a 75% population increase from 2000, with the city reporting a steady 2% increase annually. Much of the growth can be attributed to WKU’s high rate of student retention and the career opportunities its fostered within the community.

“The growth of the Bowling Green area is impressive and to see how WKU and Warren County benefit each other is exciting to witness,” said McAdoo. “There is such a diverse community of individuals who call this area home, and everyone takes pride in being a part of this community. We want to see WKU continue to grow and to introduce students to the opportunities that exist right here for them beyond graduation, so they call it their ‘forever home’ as well. WKU provides access to education and opportunity to build a better living and life. Becoming a ‘hilltopper’ is not just about completing the degree, but it’s about becoming part of a community of individuals who support each other during their climb to the top. Throughout the year, we have a number of events and programs to bring alumni and friends together to strengthen our community, pursue lifelong learning and growth, and to pay it forward. Our strength is determined by the size of our community of alumni and friends connected to our cause and invested as volunteers, members, and donors.” 

Membership contributions help support the Alumni Association, and provide funding for scholarships and assistance grants such as the Alunni Helping Alumni initiative. Membership is open to anyone who believes in their mission and is not limited to alumni of WKU. 

“If we were able to grow the size of our community and those invested in our mission, we will be able to pay it forward at greater levels. Our goals are to continue to build this community and strengthen its bond so that WKU and its alumni are successful in the future. When alumni apply for an assistance grant, a committee reviews the request and will make a decision depending on the funding available. The funding comes directly from a designated portion of membership contributions, so we are only limited by the size of our membership.” GN 

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