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Born in St. Bernard, Ohio, Raymond L. Cravens obtained his A.B. in 1952 and his M.A. in 1955 from Western. During his college career he worked as business manager for the College Heights Herald where he was also a staff cartoonist. He earned his Ph.D. from University of Kentucky in 1958. Upon graduation he began teaching political science in WKU's History Department and continued up the ladder into administration being named Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1959. He served as Dean of Public Service & International Programs from 1977 to 1980 when he went back to teaching full time. The 1962 Talisman was dedicated to him and the Kentucky Junior Chamber of Commerce named him one of its "Outstanding Young Men in Kentucky" for 1963. He retired from WKU in 1991. Cravens received a special recognition of 50 years of service to WKU in 2007. The Board of Regents approved the naming of the building on July 8, 1969.

Oral history conducted by Lisa Miller regarding Raymond Cravens' life and work at WKU as well as information regarding the Margie Helm Library, Gordon Wilson Hall and Cravens Graduate Center & Library.

  • 0:00-5:00 Cravens' early life and father's biography
  • 5:00-6:20 Cravens' experiences as a student and discussion of Kelly Thompson
  • 6:20-9:00 Cravens' graduate work at University of Kentucky, working in WKU's History Department and James Poteet
  • 9:00-11:30 creation of Political Science minor and teaching experiences
  • 11:30-14:00 creation of the Political Science Department and being named college dean
  • 14:00-17:33 experiences as dean succeeding Finley Grise, course catalog revisions
  • 17:33-18:30 discussion of professors
  • 18:30-22:30 Gordon Wilson Hall library architects Arrasmith & Wilk
  • 22:30-25:19 Margie Helm Library
  • 25:10-29:00 Health & Physical Education building, architecture
  • 29:00-33:00 naming library for Margie Helm, her personality
  • 33:00-34:00 Cravens' thesis research
  • 34:00-37:00 faculty rank system at WKU
  • 37:00-41:00 Faculty Wives Club, enrollment, new faculty recruitment
  • 41:00-45:00 university status, Bowling Green Business University
  • 45:00-49:00 Grise Hall, construction plans, students & elevators
  • 49:00-54:00 Cravens Graduate Center & Library, funding and construction
  • 54:00-56:00 faculty status for librarians
  • 56:00-end office in library, study abroad program


Western Kentucky University, Margie Helm Library (WKU), Helm-Cravens Library (WKU), University Libraries (WKU), Health & Physical Education Building (WKU)


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