Dr. Gary A. Ransdell has participated in numerous dedication ceremonies as the campus has been transformed in his nearly 14 years as WKU’s president, but none may have been more special than Friday afternoon’s dedication of Gary A. Ransdell Hall.
“I want to thank the Board of Regents and specifically Board Chair Jim Meyer for this high honor,” Dr. Ransdell said. “The confidence and trust in me, and the leadership team we have assembled, is important, appreciated and humbling. Going forward, our shared commitment to achieving a full and lasting transformation is deeper and stronger than ever.
“I fully realize that the board’s decision to name this building now, with so many years yet to serve, is a vote of confidence and a salute to the achievements we have shared; but it is also a challenge to me, and those with whom I work, to not slow down and to not mess it up. The next 11 years will be marked by achievements built solidly on the foundation we have laid over the last 14.
“Thank you for this high honor.”
In a ceremony attended by hundreds on a sunny afternoon, Dr. Ransdell acknowledged the support of his wife, family, friends, regents, legislators, elected officials, education leaders, administrators, faculty, staff, students, donors and others who have helped transform WKU during the past 14 years and who have helped make the new home of WKU’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences a reality. (Read Dr. Ransdell’s remarks)
“WKU drives education in Kentucky,” Dr. Ransdell said. “I could not be more pleased that the building which will bear my name will also be the home of our College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.”
The Board of Regents voted last October to name the building in recognition of Dr. Ransdell’s efforts to transform the WKU campus and for his vision to make WKU a leading American university with international reach.
Rep. Jody Richards said naming the building for Dr. Ransdell was fitting and appropriate given his contributions over the past 13½ years – enrollment growth, campus improvements, endowment growth, new academic programs (including engineering and the addition of doctoral degrees), the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky and the Honors College.
Senate President David Williams said Dr. Ransdell has built his life and legacy in serving his alma mater and his native state. “We deserve at least another decade of your leadership,” Williams said.
Robert L. King, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education who represented Gov. Steve Beshear, noted that the classical look of the 120,000-square-foot, $35 million facility reflects the importance and value that WKU places on the teaching profession.
Board chair Jim Meyer, a graduate of the education college, agreed. “Education is the foundation of WKU,” Meyer said. “This is a grand place for a grand and noble profession.”
WKU graduate Lauren B. Martin, a school psychologist in Bullitt County Public Schools, spoke on behalf of students as part of the dedication ceremony. Martin, a native of Muhlenberg County, said the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences has provided her and many others with a wealth of opportunities.
Martin received her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2004 and specialist in education degree and Rank I in school psychology in 2007. She is pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership at WKU.
Gary A. Ransdell Hall celebrates WKU’s rich history of education, creates a state-of-the-art learning environment and incorporates numerous sustainable design elements.
More than 3,000 students are served by the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences’ academic programs, including elementary education, which is WKU’s largest undergraduate program. More than 200 faculty and staff work in the building. (Gary A. Ransdell Hall floor plan)
The building includes classrooms, administrative and faculty offices, conference areas, media resource center, auditorium, research laboratories and clinical space for literacy, psychology and counseling, and the international headquarters of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children.
The facility was designed by RossTarrant Architects of Lexington. A&K Construction of Paducah served as general contractor.
The building was designed to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by utilizing low-flow plumbing fixtures, recycled materials, regional materials, highly insulated walls, highly efficient heating and cooling, native plantings, reflective roof, reflective coating on parking lot, open green space near the facility, energy efficient lighting and abundance of natural light.