SPECIAL REPORT: Meet WKU's new first family

Published: Aug. 1, 2017 at 7:17 PM CDT
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The residents at 1700 Chestnut Street have changed, but the love and passion for everything WKU is still present.

"For me, it is very much like coming home," says WKU's new President Timothy Caboni. "Born and raised in the south, and having lived in Bowling Green in 1993 and '94, it's been amazing to come back and see the progress that the city has made, the county has made and that the institution has made."

Kacy Caboni is the other half of WKU's new First Family. Hailing from the Great Plains of Kansas, the move to Southern Kentucky has been a change of pace.

"I love it. It's been great to be back home especially, for Tim, in the south. The food, having a cast iron skillet for example, it's just friendly, it's welcoming, and I truly do love the City of Bowling Green."

For the past month, President Caboni has been humbled by the realization that not only is he presiding over a university, but one that is his Alma Mater.

"This place changed my life, and I want to make sure that I can give back in some way to ensure that we transform the lives of each of our studens that we touch," he explains.

Caboni describes to us how he plans to do that, mentioning nine months worth of strategic planning. According to Caboni, that will include pinpointing the overlaping goals between he and all stakeholders, such as students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff and the Board of Regents.

"At the end of that nine months, what we should have is essentially a roadmap for the next decade, and a set of shared aspirations for who we are and what we aspire to be together."

In addition to being WKU's First Lady, Kacy Caboni is serving as the Director of Principal Gifts and Special Initiatives at the university. She shares her husband's goals, but also has her own.

"Persistence of our students and the graduation rate, that is really important. It's near and dear to both of us, and making sure that we're recruiting students, but once they get here that they really do feel a part of the WKU family, and wrapping our arms around them and making sure that, yes, they're successful in four years, and also that they get a job."

'Talking Shop' is one way to work up an appetite, and luckily for the Cabonis, Bowling Green boasts more than 300 eateries.

"I'm from New Orleans, I love food," says President Caboni. "I not only like to cook, but perhaps not good for my waistline I like to eat what I cook, and so one of the things that we've really enjoyed is finding local places both to eat and to get good product. Last night we cooked steak from the Fatted Calf in a cast iron skillet, and it's just nice being in a place that has those kinds of options available."

Always making sure her family is well balanced, Kacy Caboni added they also love athletics.

"I do enjoy playing golf, and Tim and I enjoy playing together as long as I beat him," she smiled.

President Caboni says he has enjoyed the slow start to his new career, but he's counting the days until the students arrive, bringing the pulse of campus back to life.

"In the past three weeks I've met about 3,000 people, I think, and it's either felt like three years or three minutes, or some combination of both of that. It's just been a whirlwind. You only get a chance to enter an organization, and we're trying to make the most out of every minute. "

The first day back for students with evening classes will be Monday, August 21, and all other classes will resume on Tuesday morning.