Western Kentucky University

The fall semester begins Monday on the campus of Western Kentucky University. 

As new students ground themselves in their new home, Terrance Brown is doing the same as the new dean of the Potter College of Arts and Letters.

Brown is from a small town in Alabama and comes to WKU from the University of North Alabama in Florence. He served as the Founding Executive Director of the School of Arts. 

Brown says joining the Hilltopper family wasn’t exactly a planned move. 

“It just came out of the blue that this position was open, and one of my mentors encouraged me to apply, and I did so,” he explained.

Colin Jackson

A new mural on Western Kentucky University's campus is honoring the legacy of a historic Black neighborhood in Bowling Green. Currently on display at the Kentucky Museum, the opening coincides with the return of students to WKU for the beginning of the fall semester.

The fresco-style installation is a collaboration between WKU Professor Michael Nichols, local artist Alice Gatewood Waddell, and students Aisha Salifu and Riley O’Loane.

It's a time-honored way of working that artists have used in classic works like the Sistine Chapel.

"It requires that artists paint into wet plaster, and if they do that the pigment they put on to the permanently locked into the plaster. And it lasts as long as the wall does because it’s not a skin on the wall like most paint, like that’s just latex on metal that will eventually peel off, it’s actually part of the plaster,” Nichols said.

Western Kentucky University now has its first building on campus named in honor of an African-American. 

In a meeting , the on Friday, the WKU Board of Regents approved the renaming of Northeast Residence Hall in honor of Logan County native Margaret Munday

Following the desegregation of Kentucky’s public colleges and universities in 1956, Munday made history as the first African-American student to enroll at WKU.  After graduating with a music degree in 1960, she taught at the all-black Johnstown School in Olmstead. She later became the first Black teacher at Auburn High School, and eventually taught at every school in Logan County. 


Western Kentucky University is reinstating an on-campus mask mandate due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases across the state.

President Timothy Caboni sent an email to faculty and staff Wednesday afternoon that said everyone on WKU’s campuses will be expected to wear a mask while indoors starting Monday, Aug. 9.

Caboni said that he knows the news will be a disappointment to some, but that he hopes masking will increase the chance for a normal semester in light of the surging number of Delta variant cases of coronavirus.

“WKU’s highest priority has always been the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” Caboni said in the email. “Vaccines remain one of the strongest deterrents to viral transmission and serious symptoms or complications. If you have not yet been vaccinated, please schedule an appointment with GGC WKU Health Services by calling (270) 745-2272.”

Western Kentucky University

The president of Western Kentucky University announced in a statement Wednesday that he will not recommend the Board of Regents take action to remove or change the names of any of the university's buildings or academic colleges.

Caboni's statement was in response to the WKU Naming And Symbols Task Force Report and Recommendations.

Among the high-profile buildings and colleges Caboni said he would not recommend for name changes are Ogden College, named in honor of Robert Ogden; Potter College, named for Pleasant J. Potter; and Vanmeter Hall, named for Charles Vanmeter.

Kentucky Museum

An exhibit at the Kentucky Museum on the campus of Western Kentucky University reveals how women in the Bluegrass State expressed their artistic and patriotic vision more than 200 years ago.

The unique collection is called "Whitework: Women Stitching Identity” and features pieces created between 1790-1830.

The white bedcovers with hand embroidered designs were made from cotton and flax fibers grown in Kentucky. 

Textile researcher and one of the curators of the exhibit, Laurel Horton, said the bedcovers have intricate patterns, usually with flowers and vines. 


The Western Kentucky University Board of Regents has signed off on a budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

In a special meeting on Friday, members approved a $375 million spending plan that includes an increase in tuition for undergraduate students. The Board passed the 2022 fiscal year budget with one dissenting vote from Student Regent Garrett Edmonds. 

The budget also permanently removes the distance learning fee on classes taught remotely, which the university says will result in a tuition savings to students of about $2 million. 

After holding the line on tuition last year during the pandemic, Regents approved a 2% hike, which will help create about $2 million that will go into a compensation pool for faculty and staff raises.  Speaking to reporters following the budget vote, WKU President Timothy Caboni said the university is seeing the effects of salary compression.

Kevin & Remi Mays

Colleges and universities across the country recently celebrated graduates from the spring class of 2021. Those degree-holders are entering a job market that looks to be improving, given the wide availability of effective COVID-19 vaccines.

That’s very different from the job market seen by those who graduated last year, as an unchecked pandemic was wreaking havoc on the economy. Many graduates from the class of 2020 have had their job prospects curtailed by the pandemic and are still figuring out how to move forward. 

One class of 2020 graduate from Western Kentucky University has been focusing on the positives during what she called her unexpected hiatus. 


Lisa Autry

Western Kentucky University will offer this fall’s freshman class a new living-learning community aimed at keeping them on a path toward graduation. 

Members of the media were given a tour on Tuesday of the new First Year Village at the south end of campus.  It includes two new residence halls constructed unlike typical dormitories.

Normal Hall and Regents Hall will both contain ten pods of 15-25 students each, housing more than half of the incoming freshmen this fall.  WKU President Timothy Caboni says students will live in small groups with other classmates who share similar majors and interests.

“What we know is that students don’t succeed alone," Caboni said. "They’re most successful when they’re surrounded by support systems from their advisors, instructors, and staff to their roommates, classmates, and student organization peers.”

Scott Chacon via Flickr Creative Commons

The uneasy issue of genocide is in the news. 

President Joe Biden on Saturday became the first U.S. President to call the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during WWI an act of genocide

Someone with a keen interest in the subject of genocide is Marko Dumancic, an associate professor of history at Western Kentucky University, who teaches courses on the subject. 

He's giving a talk on Monday, April 26, to the Owensboro Area World Affairs Council called, "Never Again, and Again, and Again: Debating and Recognizing Genocide in the 21st Century." 

He spoke to WKU Public Radio about whether the world has gotten any better over the decades at recognizing genocide as it's happening, and intervening. 

Bowling Green area environmental activists celebrated Earth Day Thursday night with a rally and march from the campus of Western Kentucky University to the Warren County Justice Center.

The Sunrise Movement-organized event called for collective action against climate change in the form of policy changes, increased recyling, and decreased reliance on fossil fuels, among other steps.

Co-organizer De'inara Carter said she's encouraged by the Biden Adminstration's move to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, but wants more steps taken on the local level.

"I would like to see more recycling away from WKU," Carter said. "We do need to start mandating things within the city. Going green, solar panels...really getting our rural community together, getting them in on the conversation."


Western Kentucky University has placed a fraternity on interim suspension after one of its members was arrested and charged with rape.

A statement emailed to WKU Public Radio Friday afternoon by WKU Media Relations Director Bob Skipper came after the school’s police department released the arrest report involving the incident at the Sigma Nu fraternity house.

Fraternity member Benjamin Massingille, 21, of Tompkinsville, was placed under arrest Monday, and has been charged with 1st degree rape; 1st degree sodomy; and 1st degree unlawful imprisonment, after a woman reported Massingille attacked her following an early-morning argument on Feb. 27.

According to the arrest report, a friend of the woman told police she received a text message from the woman saying she was “in distress and that she was being assaulted”.


The governing body of Western Kentucky University has approved a contract extension for President Timothy Caboni

After 3.5 years leading the university, President Caboni would stay at the helm through 2025, under terms of the new extension.  The WKU Board of Regents on Friday also agreed to boost his base salary to $450,000 a year, an increase of  $34,000.  Caboni will also be eligible for yearly performance bonuses equal to 10% of his base pay.

Regent Dr. Phillip Bale called Caboni an "overachiever" who has positioned the unversity to be one of the success stories in higher education.

Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University has announced a program aimed at buying out certain workers who want to end their employment. The goal is to adjust the school’s operating budget.

In an email sent to faculty and staff Wednesday, WKU executives said the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program is to “make appropriate workforce  adjustments and create opportunities for organizational renewal and invention.” 

WKU leaders said the incentives for separation or retirement are a result of “the COVID-19 pandemic, declining state support, enrollment changes and other evolving dynamics affecting higher education.”

Lisa Autry

If you eventually get vaccinated against the coronavirus, a Western Kentucky University professor had a small hand in helping researchers learn more about how to create an effective vaccine.

Psychological Sciences Professor Matt Woodward took part in biotech company Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trials

In an interview with WKU Public Radio, Woodward said he's been touched personally by the virus.  His parents and one set of grandparents, living in different states, contracted the virus at the same time shortly after he began participating in the trial.

Woodward took part in the study through Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.  He says he got two injections one month apart this fall, and has had no side effects.  He's unaware of whether he received the actual vaccine or was in the placebo group.