Young Alumnus of the Year
Zach Wedding ‘12
Being involved in volunteer organizations has always been a great passion for Zach Wedding. Zach is currently the President Elect for the Young Alumni Council for WKU and is Secretary of the WKU Greater Louisville Alumni Chapter.
Zach was nominated for Young Alumnus of the Year by the Greater Louisville Alumni Chapter planning team for his tremendous effort to engage alumni in the Louisville community. With the help of a few other young alumni and the Greater Louisville Alumni Chapter, Zach has coordinated events to continue the growth of young alumni and is helping to bridge the gap for young alumni involvement. Zach also worked with the planning committee to coordinate selling raffle tickets to benefit HAF.
He is the President of Delta Sigma Pi Louisville Alumni Chapter, District Director of the Zeta Theta Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi at WKU, a member of Metro United Way’s LINC Program, a Lead Team member of River City United Methodist Church, and is active in the St. Matthews Chamber of Commerce. He is a Lifetime Member of the WKU Alumni Association and a supporter of the Gordon Ford College of Business.
Zach currently resides in Louisville, Ky., where he works as a Real Estate Agent and New Agent Trainer for Gant Hill & Associates. He has been licensed in the state of Kentucky and working for Gant Hill since November 2012. When he is not working, Zach enjoys hiking, biking, running, kayaking, meeting new people, and of course, WKU!
Alumni of the Year
Bev Furnish '72, '74
Bev Furnish has been a devoted volunteer for WKU for nearly 30 years. Bev graduated from WKU in 1972; however, her love affair with her alma mater began much earlier. While visiting her aunt, who was then a WKU college student, Bev celebrated her first birthday at Mary’s Cafeteria in Bowling Green during a WKU football weekend. Her grandparents met at Western in 1915 and she vividly remembers stories of their days on the Hill. She is a third generation WKU graduate. Her daughter, Lee, is the fourth, and granddaughter, Henley, will surely be the fifth, as she adores Big Red already.
Bev has been President of the Northern Kentucky Alumni Chapter since 1988. She also serves as the chapter’s Facebook administrator and coordinates the annual Welcome to Western Party, where WKU alumni and current students join to celebrate WKU together. Bev served on the Alumni Association National Board of Directors from 1996-1999. She also served as Treasurer of the Parents Advisory Council from 2002-2006. Since 1992, Bev has also served in various leadership roles with her sorority, Kappa Delta.
In addition to her WKU service, Bev has volunteered as basketball scorekeeper for Villa Madonna Academy Girls Team since 1997. She has served as board member and treasurer of the Children’s Home of Northern KY Board of Trustees for six years and the Children’s Home of Northern KY Junior Board for 10 years. She is also a volunteer for Transitions, Inc., Youth Summer Swim League, and a volunteer/ foster with Tri State (KY, IN, OH, TN, MI, WV) Collie Rescue.
Bev received her second Alumna of the Year Award. She was first recognized for her leadership in the Northern Kentucky Alumni Chapter in 2003.
Distinguished Service Medal Recipients
Melissa Dennison ‘80
A 1980 WKU graduate, Dr. Melissa Dennison is the Volunteer of the Year for the Ogden College Advisory Board. Dr. Dennison was instrumental in helping reinstate an advisory council for Ogden College after many years. She understands how important STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines will be for the future of our region. She also feels that recruiting talented, local students to a quality college of science and engineering like Ogden College will only improve the quality of life in and around Kentucky.
In addition to her service on the Ogden College Advisory Council, Dr. Dennison served on the Board of Regents for WKU from 2009-2016, being elected to Secretary in 2011-2012 and again in 2013-2014. She also served as Vice Chair of the Board of Regents for 2015-2016. She has served on the Alumni Association National Board of Directors and is a Lifetime Member of the Alumni Association. She has also hosted numerous WKU events in the Dennison home in Glasgow, Ky.
Dr. Dennison is a founding member of the WKU Sisterhood and a current member of the Lancaster/Puckett Society at WKU. She and her husband provide scholarship opportunities to students from Grayson, Barren, and Allen Counties and fund scholarships to benefit the employees of Glasgow Pediatric Associates and students in the SKyTeach program at WKU.
Dr. Dennison is a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine and is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. She has been with Glasgow Pediatric Associates since 1997. Dr. Dennison is married to Dr. Kenneth Dennison, and they have three children, Ben, Barrett, and Blair.
Julie Ransdell ‘75
Originally from Louisville, Ky., Julie Ransdell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from WKU in 1975. She has taught for Russellville and Barren County schools in Kentucky and in elementary schools in Bloomington, Ind., and Clemson, South Carolina.
Julie was nominated for Volunteer of the Year by the WKU Sisterhood, for which she serves as Co-Chair. The WKU Sisterhood is a group of women with shared interest who pool their financial gifts and award funds to a limited number of University designations to maximize the impact of their philanthropy. Each member of the program has an opportunity to be connected and learn about University priorities. Members have an equal voice on how the pooled funds of the WKU Sisterhood are distributed annually to the University community.
In addition to her volunteer role with the WKU Sisterhood, Julie devotes much of her time to planning events and hosting campus visitors, student groups, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors. Her passion is connecting with WKU students, many of whom know her best as “Miss Julie” and look to her as a mentor and surrogate mom. Julie is an active participant in the students’ learning experiences while studying abroad, and she takes great pride in seeing first-hand how the students grow from those opportunities. To date, she and her husband have accompanied students on study abroad experiences in Kenya, Ecuador, China, various European countries, and the Semester at Sea summer voyages.
Julie is married to Gary Ransdell, whom she met, dated, and wed while they were students at WKU. They have two sons—Patrick (’02) and Matthew (’06), who both played baseball for WKU; two daughters-in-law—Brooke (’04) and Sandra; a grandson—Walker (WKU Class of 2029!), and a granddaughter–Collins (WKU Class of 2033!). Along with her family, closest to Mrs. Ransdell’s heart are her dogs, Diddle, Spirit, and Tsavo, who enjoy early morning walks with her through the WKU campus.
Mrs. Carol Haskins Wedge has been a loyal supporter and volunteer of WKU for many years. She was nominated for a 2016 Volunteer of the Year by the Society for Lifelong Learning. Due in large part to her active participation, a launch of the Society for Lifelong Learning at WKU was recommended in the spring of 2015. Her contributions to the Advisory Board and to the critical functions of the Membership Relations Committee supported much of the success of the Society.
Carol has also served on the College Heights Foundation Board of Directors since 2002, and the CHF has seen unprecedented growth during her tenure. She was elected Vice Chair in 2015 and is a constant advocate of the mission of the Foundation propelling CHF to experience the highest cumulative giving in its history. Carol and her husband, Denny, truly understand and exhibit the mission of the Foundation, helping deserving students obtain an education. The Wedges have established several endowed scholarship funds to benefit WKU students.
Mrs. Wedge holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa). She taught elementary school in Ohio and Florida. Carol has taken on many other volunteer roles in the community including President of Orchestra Kentucky Board of Directors and the SKyPAC Foundation Board. She formerly served as a trustee of the following—Midway College, the University of the Rio Grande, the Presbyterian Homes and Services of Kentucky, Inc., and was President of The Encore (the volunteer service group supporting Orchestra Kentucky). She has also served on the Board of Directors for Riverview at Hobson Grove, Kids on the Block, United Way, and the Bowling Green Junior Women’s Club. Carol has been active locally at the Presbyterian Church where she has served as a deacon and elder. She is a member of PEO (a philanthropic education organization) and the Ladies Literary Club.