Chancellor and Sixth President of LWC John B. Begley To Give Founders' Day Keynote

COLUMBIA, Ky. -- The man who was responsible for transforming Lindsey Wilson College from a struggling junior college to one of Kentucky’s most dynamic liberal arts colleges will give the keynote address at this year’s Founders’ Day Celebration.

Chancellor and sixth president of Lindsey Wilson College John B. Begley will speak at 6 p.m. CT on Thursday, April 26, at LWC’s Roberta D. Cranmer Dining & Conference Center.

A member of the Lindsey Wilson community for more than 40 years, Begley came to Lindsey Wilson in 1977 as the college’s sixth president. During his 20-year presidency, Lindsey Wilson evolved from a junior college into a thriving liberal arts college with a nationally ranked graduate program.

“John Begley has been an incredible president and leader at Lindsey Wilson College. All you have to do is look around and see the buildings that weren’t here before his arrival,” said LWC President William T. Luckey Jr. “His most dramatic impact, however, was his vision. He understood this college needed a mission and he knew how to communicate and sell others on his dreams. He believed in Lindsey Wilson when no one else did.”  

Fueled by aggressive fundraising efforts, the college’s physical presence was dramatically expanded during Begley’s presidency as more than a dozen buildings were added to the campus landscape. Highlights include the Biggers Sports Center in 1984; the Cralle Student Union Building (1983 and ’87); Holloway Building, which houses the Katie Murrell Library (1987); J.L. Turner Leadership Center (1988); Roberta D. Cranmer Dining & Conference Center (1993); Henry and Mary Ellen Lilly Residence Hall (1996); W.W. Slider Humanities Center (1996); and the John B. Begley Chapel (1997).

“Let’s not forget that we were a struggling two-year college when Doc arrived on campus in 1977,” said Luckey. “He fought for this place and kept his vision alive during challenging times.”

LWC’s academic programs were expanded from three baccalaureate-degree offerings when Lindsey Wilson became a liberal arts college in 1986-87 to 14 by 1996-97; a permanent second campus in Scottsville, Ky., was opened in 1992; and a nationally ranked master’s program in counseling and human development was added in 1993. Consequently, the number of faculty increased from less than 20 in 1977-78 to more than 40 by the end of the 1996-97 school year.

“I believe LWC wouldn’t be here today were it not for his leadership and commitment,” said Luckey. “John’s capacity to help other people believe in his dream and his vision enabled us to grow into the thriving college we are today.”

A native of Harrodsburg, Ky., Begley received a bachelor of arts degree from Campbellsville (Ky.) College with a major in social science. His master of divinity degree from Louisville (Ky.) Presbyterian Seminary was followed by graduate work in counseling from Murray State (Ky.) University and a number of private courses and workshops offered throughout the United States. He is a 1985 graduate of the Institute for Educational Management offered through the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. Chancellor Begley is married to the former Lucretia Chilton of Burgin, Ky.

For more information about Lindsey Wilson College Founders' Day, contact the college at or 270-384-8400.