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View From The Hill: Spirit Masters will celebrate 40th anniversary at WKU Homecoming October 30th

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 5:51 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Spirit Masters are the official student ambassadors for Western Kentucky University.

Founded in 1981, the organization is celebrating its 40th anniversary at homecoming this year.

It all started when Dr. Carl Kell attended a conference at the University of Alabama and was impressed by a group of student ambassadors. He brought the idea back to the Hill and the rest is Spirit Master history.

It’s been more than forty years since a committee of students worked with WKU’s administration to establish Spirit Masters.

“They respected us as student leaders in this process and we certainly respected them and I see that has evolved over the years with the Spirit Master program.”

Founding member Nada McGinnis Fountain even helped choose the name, derived from the university’s motto: The spirit makes the master. “They took charge of what the organization was about. They were the ones in those early years who wrote the constitution and bylaws.”

Dr. Carl Kell, who brought the idea to the hill, says the spirit masters blazed a trail that other ambassador groups on campus have followed. “The one everybody turns to and says if I wanted to start an organization to serve my department or my end of campus, they’re the ones I want to study.”

Continuing the long legacy of tradition, hospitality, and excellence, current chair Claire Linder says promoting WKU as a Spirit Master provides an education in itself.

“If you would have talked to me spring of freshman year you would be talking to a completely different person.”

“I’ve learned so much from Spirit Master Alumni and our advisors, of just kind of how to interact with people and how to kind of share something that you’re passionate about.” “I hope the Spirit Masters today and this point forward will take with them their experience and realize how much it will prepare them for life ahead be it personal life or professional life.”

A few years ago, Fountain’s husband surprised her with a scholarship certificate that he had endowed in her name for a Spirit Master who’s also a member of her sorority.

“It’s so special to know that I still have my finger on a little piece of the Spirit Master Program.”

Spirit Master alum will be recognized on the field after halftime of WKU’s Homecoming game on October 30th.

For more information on the Spirit Master’s 40th-anniversary visit www.wku.edu\spiritmasters.

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