WKU names building after long-time state Rep. Jody Richards

05/05/2017 09:13 AM

BOWLING GREEN – Western Kentucky University’s Mass Media and Technology Hall was officially renamed in honor of long-time Rep. Jody Richards in ceremonies on the WKU campus on Thursday.

Richards began his career as a faculty member at Western Kentucky University, teaching for seven years and serving as the adviser to the College Heights Herald and Talisman student publications before winning the 20th District House seat in 1975.

Richards has spent the last 42 years in the House of Representatives, serving as Speaker from 1995 to 2009, and has been instrumental in securing state funding to construct the hall and at least seven other buildings on the WKU campus.

Being a former communications professor, Richards was particularly happy to have the MMTH named in his honor.

“This beautiful and functional building would have been my choice to bear my name if I had had a choice,” Richards said. “This building was very important to me when I went to the legislature to have a permanent home for journalism and broadcast.”

Richards has a long history of sponsoring education legislation, including the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) in 1990, the Kentucky Higher Education Reform Act in 1997 and the Kentucky Innovation Act in 2000, which, among other things, established the WKU Center for Research and Development. Richards was also instrumental in securing funding to establish The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky at WKU in 2006 and sponsored the legislation to authorize The Gatton Academy in 2007.

“My passion throughout my legislative years has been education,” Richards said. “Education at all levels. It’s my hope and desire that future budgets of the Kentucky General Assembly will properly support education at all levels because we all know that every Kentucky child deserves a first class education.”

WKU President Dr. Gary Ransdell, who’ll be leaving WKU after serving 20 years as president, praised the efforts of Richards on behalf of the university.

“He liked to compete and he competed for us,” Ransdell said. “He said that we were going to get that done. We would not have doctoral degrees at this university if it were not for Jody Richards.”

The official new name of the building is Jody Richards Hall and President Ransdell announced that a bronze sculpture made in the likeness of Richards will be displayed inside the building in the near future.


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