History of LWC
The Early Years
Lindsey Wilson College was founded in January 1903 as Lindsey
Wilson Training School. The school was named in memory of Lindsey
Wilson, the deceased nephew and stepson of Mrs. Catherine
Wilson of Louisville, Ky.
Mrs. Wilson contributed $6,000 toward construction of one of the
school's first buildings, which now serves as the L.R. McDonald
Administration Building. Funding also came from the citizens of
Columbia and Mrs. James Phillips of Lebanon, Ky.,
for whom Phillips Hall, the women's residence hall, is named.
Mrs. Kizzie Russell of Columbia also made
substantial gifts, leaving in her will a $1,000 gift for the
The training school opened for classes in January 1904.
According to the minutes of the Louisville Annual Conference of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the new school enjoyed early
"The opening of (Lindsey Wilson Training School) on the 4th
of January was rather phenomenal. Before the carpenters and
painters could make their departure, in the rush to have the
building in readiness for the opening, pupils began to pour into
the dormitory and into the town, in numbers, until 222 had
matriculated the first session."
In its early years, LWC educated grades one through 12.
Concentration was on "normal work" to prepare students to be
teachers; many continued their education at Vanderbilt
In 1923, the school's curriculum was reorganized and a college
department offering a junior college degree was added. Columbia's
citizens responded to the challenge by donating $10,000 to assist
the institution's growing needs.
In 1934, LWC closed its academy and the school became
exclusively a junior college. The college, however, maintained a
Model Training School from 1933 through 1979.
To read "The Founding of Lindsey Wilson College: 1899-1904" and
to view historical pictures of the college, go to the Digital Library of
During its first two decades, LWC had several leaders who served
as the school's principal. Frank E. Lewis was the
school's first principal, serving during 1904. Lewis was succeeded
by S.L. Froggee, who served as principal for one
year until P.D. Neilson and R.R.
Moss assumed that responsibility in 1905. They directed
the school for eight years until J.S. Chandler was
named principal in 1913.
During World War I, the principalship was held by: Paul
Chandler, J.S. Chandler's son; G.R.
Crume; and R.V. Bennett, who later became
the first president of LWC in 1923.
The Early Junior College Years
Under Bennett's leadership, LWC was transformed into a junior
college in 1923 and was molded into a financially and academically
strong institution. A Methodist minister, philosopher and
mathematician, Bennett was a "splendid scholar," according to the late
Noma Dix Winston, a longtime history teacher at
LWC who worked under Bennett.
"President Bennett was a scholar in the area of mathematics and
Biblical studies, he was a distinguished minister in the church,
and he was a very respected leader throughout the Methodist Church
and in higher education as well," recalled the late Thomas
D. Everett, a longtime trustee
from Fairview, Ky. "During his presidency, he
provided outstanding leadership and helped established LWC as a
solid junior college in the Methodist church."
Bennett left LWC in 1932 and was replaced by A.P.
White. During the Bennett-White years, LWC experienced its
first building boom: a building that housed the college's
gymnasium, dining room and kitchen was added; a president's home
was built; a new training school for teachers was opened; and a
20-acre limestone farm was acquired.
White, who came to LWC in 1923 to teach history and social
sciences, served as the college's second president from 1932 until
his death in 1942. The college's Columbia Campus is named in his
"President White led Lindsey Wilson through one of its most
trying periods because most of his administration took place during
the Great Depression," Everett said. "During a time when many
colleges were forced to close their doors, President White made
sure that the doors of education remained wide open at Lindsey
Lindsey Wilson College's administration also expanded during the
Bennett-White era. In 1940, physics professor Asa
Shelton was named the college's first full-time registrar
and dean of the faculty. And in 1942, the LWC Board of Trustees
named Shelton the college's executive vice president to assist
White, who was fatally ill with cancer.
White died later that year, and he was succeeded by
Victor P. Henry. Henry, who served as president
from 1942-54, was brought in by the Louisville Conference of the
Methodist Church to close LWC.
A New Life
Henry fought to keep the college open by increasing enrollment
and serving four years without a salary and for five years as
superintendent of the Louisville Conference's Columbia District. By
one vote, the Louisville Conference voted to keep the college open
During Henry's 12-year administration, the college expanded its
library to a free-standing building and bought additional farmland.
The college was accredited for the first time. Also during his
tenure, the first international students enrolled at LWC, through
Henry's past work as a missionary in Cuba.
Many of the campus' buildings during Henry's presidency --
especially following World War II -- were furnished with government
surplus furniture. Henry acquired much of the furniture from
serving as chaplain with Kentucky's American Legion post.
"He sent the college truck out to bring the furniture back to
the campus," recalled Martha Henry Berry, Henry's
daughter. "Even some of the buildings were government surplus.
He never turned down a donation, whether it was monetary or
Also, during the early years of Henry's administration, some of
the college's professors served for half-salary.
"So the move to improve the college's finances was a joint
resolution, a sacrifice from most, if not all, on campus," Berry
Because of those sacrifices across campus, the college survived
the 1940s and was poised for an expansion that began in the
Henry was followed by John B. Horton, who
served as president from 1954 to 1971. The Horton years marked the
second building boom for LWC. Four new buildings were added: a
science building (which later became the Elva Goodhue Science
Building), a student union building, and Horton Hall and Parrot
Also under Horton, a wing of Phillips Hall was added and the
dining center was enlarged with a music hall built over it.
L.R. McDonald assumed the presidency in 1971,
serving until 1977. Former LWC science teacher Garmoline
Carpenter recalled that McDonald came toLWC at a crucial
"When the storm (of the turbulent 1960s) seemed to have control,
along came a strong individual in the person of Dr. McDonald, with
a calmness that lifted the turmoil of the storm," she said.
The Begley Era
McDonald was succeeded by John B. Begley, who
had been vice president of Scarritt College in Nashville, Tenn.
During Begley's 20 years of leadership, LWC evolved into a
four-year college and developed a nationally ranked graduate
|John B. Begley
program. Begley transformed LWC from a struggling junior college
into one of the top four-year liberal arts colleges in
The college's budget grew from $600,000 in 1977 to $13.4 million
for the 1996-97 fiscal year, the last year of the Begley
One of the biggest transformations in the college's history came
in 1985 when theLWC Board of Trustees voted to make LWC a four-year
baccalaureate degree-granting institution. The move was approved by
the Louisville and Kentucky Conferences of the United Methodist
Church, and in 1988 LWC graduated its first four-year class.
Enrollment grew as well during the Begley years, breaking the
1,000-student barrier in 1987 and increasing to more than 1,300 for
the 1996-97 school year.
The LWC Endowment also grew -- from $600,000 in 1977 to more
than $12 million by 1996.
Also during the Begley era, LWC experienced its third building
boom. Highlights included:
- Biggers Sports Center, which seats 1,500, was added to the
campus in 1984.
- A major addition to the Cralle Student Union Building was added
The Holloway Building, which houses the Katie Murrell Library, was
opened in 1987. The Katie Murrell Library is an information-age
library that houses a multi-media collection of more than 350,000
items and 1,300 current periodical titles focused on the college's
curriculum. It also is home to the personal library of Kentucky
historian laureate Thomas D. Clark. Students, faculty and staff
also have access to millions of other books and journals throughout
- The J.L. Turner Leadership Center -- which houses the
management and computer information science division, the Learning
Center and a conference center -- was completed in 1988.
- The Roberta D. Cranmer Diningand Conference Center was opened
in 1993. In addition to serving LWC students, faculty and staff,
the dining and conference center is utilized by citizens and groups
throughout Southcentral Kentucky.
- The Henry and Mary Ellen Lilly Residence Hall was opened in
1996. The 102-bed residence hall was the first campus residence to
be wired with Internet access.
- The newly renovated W.W. Slider Humanities Center was opened
during the 1996-97 school year. The center houses an arts center,
classrooms and faculty offices, and it enhanced the region's
cultural and artistic offerings.
- The John B. Begley Chapel was dedicated in October 1997. The
chapel was designed by world-renowned architect E. Fay Jones, an
American Institute of Architects Gold Medal recipient and disciple
of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Lindsey Wilson College's academic programs experienced dramatic
growth under Begley's guidance. Baccalaureate degree offerings were
expanded from three to 14 and a master's program in counseling and
human development was added in 1994.
Lindsey Wilson College'sathletic program also flourished during
the Begley years. WhenLWC became a four-year college, it joined the
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The college --
which had been successful in men's basketball in the National
Junior College Athletic Association -- now offers 14 varsity men's
and women's varsity sports in the NAIA.
In 1995, LWC won its first NAIA national championship when the
school's men's soccer team brought home the gold from the national
tournament in Mobile, Ala. The team followed up their success in
1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2011 with eith more
national titles. The women's soccer team won its first NAIA
national title in 2004. They also won the 2006 and 2012 NAIA
In July 1996, President Begley announced that he would step down
as president of LWC effective July 1, 1997, and become the
Lindsey Wilson College Provost and Dean of the Faculty
Walter S. Reuling was named by the college's Board
of Trustees to serve as LWC's seventh president through June 1998.
Vice President for Administration and Finance William T.
Luckey Jr. was named the college's eighth president, with
his administration beginning July 1, 1998.
"The future of Lindsey Wilson College is brighter than it has
ever been during this institution's 93-year history," Begley said
when he became the college's first chancellor. "I'm at a place in
my life and Lindsey Wilson is at a place in its life where we need
each other in this new role. I look forward to my new role as
chancellor, and I will continue to work and pray for a greater
Lindsey Wilson College."
Reuling initially began his administration as interim president
to assist the transition from Begley to Luckey. In recognition of
his commitment to LWC, however, the college's trustees made him a
"Dr. Reuling was a selfless man who did much to improve the
quality of Lindsey Wilson's academic programs," trustee Everett
said. "He was a first-rate scholar, and he was concerned with the
development of young people as lifelong service-learners."
The Luckey Era
Luckey became the eighth president of LWC on
July 1, 1998. Luckey came to LWC in 1983 to work in the college's
admissions office. After working his way up to Director of
Admissions, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Vice
President for Development, and then Vice President for
Administrationand Finance, he was named the college's eighth
president on April 24, 1997.
|William T. Luckey Jr.
"The trustees felt that it is crucial for this college to
continue to have a clear mission and direction for the long-term
future," Cal Turner Jr. of Brentwood, Tennessee,
then-chairman of the LWC Board of Trustees, said following the
announcement. "This decision will ensure a smooth transition from
President Reuling's administration through the administration of
Luckey took over the presidency on July 1, 1998, andwas
inaugurated as the college's eight president on Oct. 5, 2000. Since
then, the college hit several highlights:
- The college received its largest commitment in school history
in April 2004 when James R. and Helen Lee Fugitte of Elizabethtown,
Ky., pledged $8.6 million. The $8.6 million commitment included $3
million that was used to build the Jim and Helen Lee Fugitte
Science Center, which was dedicated on Oct. 6, 2006.
- Announced in April 2004 the $33 milllion "Changing Lives
Campaign." The campaign's goals are to: build a science center;
build a new learning center; transform the college's current
science building into a multi-use classroom building; add $15
million to theLWC Endowment; and raise $3.5 million for the Lindsey
Wilson Fund. The campaign ran through June 30, 2007,and it raised
almost $37 million. The LWC Board of Trustees voted to extended it
through June 30, 2010, and raise its goal to $53 million. The goal
was exceeded by more than $3 million.
- The college received its largest foundation gift when the James
Graham Brown Foundation of Louisville, Kentucky, gave $500,000 to
renovate the Cralle Student Union Building. Combined with a
$250,000 gift from the Cralle Foundation of Louisville, the college
added a 3,800-square-foot expansion to the SUB, making it the first
building to be opened during the Luckey administration. In December
2004, the Brown Foundation gave the college another $500,000 -- to
be used for the new science center.
- For the first time in college history, LWC closed enrollment
early for the 1998-99 school year when 1,463 students enrolled at
the college. The college's 2006-07 enrollment was 1,791
- A 10,000-square-foot addition to the Holloway Building -- which
houses the Katie Murrell Library -- was opened in August 2002,
doubling the size of library space.
- A campus quadrangle, which includes a 150-seat amphitheater and
park area, was opened during the 2002-03 academic year.
- The college opened Walter S. Reuling Stadium in September 1999,
a European-style soccer field.
- The Lindsey Wilson Sports Park opened in 2010. The Sports Park
includes Blue Raider Stadium for football, and track and field;
Egnew Park for baseball; and Blue Raider Park for softball.
- The 73,232-square-foot Doris and Bob Holloway Health & Wellness
Center opened in April 2010.
- Three residence halls have been built: Richardson Hall (2000),
Harold J. Smith Hall (2010), and Jerry and Kendrick McCandless Hall
- Dr. Robert and Carol Goodin Nursing and Counseling Center,
a27,100-square-foot, two-story building, which is home to LWC's
baccalaureate nursing program and School of Professional Counseling.
At his inauguration on Oct. 5, 2000, Luckey told an audience of
more than 700 in Biggers Sports Center that LWC has "never been
"I stand before you today knowing that we are on the right
path," said Luckey, who is a Louisville, Ky., native. "In fact,
this college has never been stronger than it is today."
Luckey, who has been at Lindsey Wilson since 1983, said he was
"humbled" by the opportunity to lead the college.
"As former Vanderbilt University Chancellor Alexander Heard once
said, 'If ever I have a claim to boldness in this life, it is the
willingness to follow in this wake. For if I happen to see further
into the future than my predecessors, it is because I am standing
on the shoulders of giants,'" he said.
For the college to continue its impressive growth, Luckey said
that LWC must strengthen its commitment to its mission,
undergraduate teaching and the advancement of the liberal arts.
Luckey noted that Lindsey Wilson's mission is a big reason the
college has been the fastest-growing liberal arts college in
Kentucky during the last 20 years.
"One of our greatest strengths as a college is that we know who
we are and who we serve," he said.
Luckey said that Lindsey Wilson must continue to provide
outstanding undergraduate teaching because "we live in a society
today where education is going through radical changes."
"We hear about distance learning, online courses, virtual
universities and living in the information age," he said. "But
education is not about information, it's about transformation,
changing lives - and that is the role the faculty play in students'
Finally, Luckey said Lindsey Wilson must also reaffirm its
commitment as a liberal arts college.
Lindsey Wilson College is one of only 223 -- or six percent --
of U.S. colleges and universities that the Carnegie Foundation for
the Advancement of Teaching has classified as a
Baccalaureate-Liberal Arts college. (The other four Kentucky
Baccalaureate-Liberal Arts institutions are Berea, Centre and
Georgetown colleges and Transylvania University.)
"Clearly, we must teach our students to think critically, to
reason, to speak and write effectively, but it goes much deeper
than that," Luckey said. "We must prepare our students to be
values-centered parents, employees, volunteers committed to serving
others. We are preparing them for professions in the future, many
of which are yet to be invented."
To see more pictures from LWC's formative years and read a
research project about the college's founding posted at Digital
Library of Appalachia, click here.
For President Luckey's official biography, click here.