WKU President Gary Ransdell satisfied with his 20-year tenure leading his alma mater

02/28/2017 02:22 PM

BOWLING GREEN – After 20 years, Dr. Gary Ransdell is retiring as president of Western Kentucky University, and admits that it has been a special experience leading his alma mater for the past two decades.

Ransdell, a 1973 WKU grad, says one of the things that he’s most proud of during his tenure, is the unprecedented growth that WKU has seen.

“When I started in 1997, I think we were at 14,500 students,” Ransdell said. “We’ve grown to something over 21,000 students and with the ebb and flow coming out of this recession now, slightly over 20,000 students, so we’ve grown by nearly 50 percent during my time on the job and that’s been important.”

Ransdell believes that the growth of WKU has been responsible for the great growth that Bowling Green and Warren County has seen over the decades.

“This university is one of the largest employers in our region, but more important than that, we produce intellectual capital for this community,” Ransdell said. “Many of our graduates do stay here and go to work. Many stay in Kentucky and go to work and that gives this community a great advantage.”

While Ransdell admits that he has enjoyed his time leading WKU, but there’s one thing in particular that he’s most proud of.

“We’ve got about 120,000 living alumni, 60,000 graduates have graduated since I’ve been president, so half our living alumni have earned their degrees while I’ve been president,” Ransdell said. “That’s satisfying.”

Effective January 1, 2018, Ransdell will be the president and CEO of the Institute for Shipboard Education Semester at Sea Program, a global study abroad program that uses a ship as a traveling campus.


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