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Founder’s Day has generally been celebrated with speeches, music, and the dedication of buildings. The quotes included here are excerpted from a few of the many Founder’s Day speeches, links are provided to the full text.

Cherry Hall and the statue of H.H. Cherry were dedicated on Founder’s Day after Cherry’s death in 1937. The Kentucky Building was dedicated on Founder’s Day in 1939.

“Six years after entering Southern Normal, Henry Hardin Cherry and his brother T.C. Cherry acquired the school. Then in 1906 when Western was founded as a state institution, H.H. Cherry became its first president. But not even a President Cherry could have founded Western by himself. He needed --- and he received --- the support of a dedicated faculty and staff. He needed --- and he received ---- the support of a dedicated student body. When a fire swept through the old building on College Street in 1899 classes were resumed the following day in make-shift quarters, and only two students went home. Townspeople, citizens of the region, state officials --- many of them shared in the vision that became Western. They were also founders of the school.” ~ Lowell Harrison, 1967

“One of [Cherry’s] favorite battle cries was that we must develop education and democracy until we shall have rung “the moral, intellectual, and industrial rising bell in the life of every child in the land.” I recall that he talked frequently about ringing bells, not just rising bells, but bells symbolizing progress, or bells calling children from play to their studies. So I like to think of him as a bell ringer, and if he had used a give-away gimmick, I think he would have handed out symbolic bell ropes indicating his campaign to develop a generation of bell ringers.” ~ Willson Wood, 1966

“To me, the word “style” more than any other in the English language, characterizes the individuals we have come to know as the founders of Western. I do not mean by this stylish or well dressed. I mean the composite of thought and action and purposeful effort which enable them to accomplish many of their goals of higher education against such great odds. What were some of these goals? First and foremost in the mind of President Cherry seemed to be that objective of providing an educational opportunity at reasonable cost for everyone; of creating an environment of opportunity for greatness for anyone, regardless of background or humble beginnings.” ~ M.W. Russell, 1964

“Our leaders and founders have erected here a magnificent physical plant, but long after the brick and stone and mortar of these buildings have crumbled and other bigger and better structures have risen in their places, I like to indulge the hope that those who climb these heights will still feel that “the spirit makes the master,” and that the only really good reason for a college is that people may have vision, and that they may experience the more abundant life.” ~ Finley Grise, 1960

. . . for Dr. Cherry believed that there are as many worlds as there are people and that each individual lives in his own world and makes his own contribution. “Dr. Cherry was a dreamer, and the motto now a part of the mural in the foyer of the Margie Helm Library describes him well: Back of the deed was the doer Back of the doer, the dream. It has been said that Dr. Cherry thought and dreamed in the future, but worked in the present.” ~ Julia Neal, 1965

“We can best honor Western’s past by meeting the challenges of the present. Present achievements are made on foundations of the past, but they also reflect adaptations to current needs. Traditions can live meaningfully only so long as they can be made adaptable to present-day conditions.” ~ James Davis, 1968

“The most beautiful physical experience of Mr. Cherry’s life was to watch buildings arising to the organized glory of God and service of man, to watch a campus fit its contour into the very specifications and details of beauty, to watch great groups of men come into convocation to consider the goals he envisaged. His finest spiritual experience was to watch with glowing eyes the unfolding of personality, to watch the weak growing stronger.” ~ Alfred Crabb, 1943


Western Kentucky University, Cherry Hall


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