This has been an incredibly busy week at King – and very exciting. As of Friday morning, we’ve hosted five home athletic events, and the real fun is just beginning as we get set to kick of the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association National Championships this weekend.
But perhaps the most exciting event this week occurred on Wednesday, when our Board of Trustees and President Greg Jordan officially announced a transition from King College to King University. King has been effectively operating as a university for the past decade, and recognized by US News as a university in their rankings for several years, so in many ways the name change was just a formality.
But, to students, staff, and alumni it is far more than a formality. The “university” moniker brings a certain amount of prestige and status. It signifies a greater vision for the future of King, and provides additional opportunities for our current and future students. I’m certain there are some alumni, and maybe some current students or staff, who do not like the change. There is probably concern that the “old” King “College” is changing. Change is always hard and meets resistance, but I can assure everyone that King University will preserve all of the traditions and history of King College!
Wednesday night, our men’s volleyball team battled back from a 2-1 deficit and fought off four match points in a thrilling victory over arch-rival Lees-McRae, earning the first win as King “University.” On Thursday night, with men’s basketball locked in a back and forth battle with Limestone in a clash for second place in Conference Carolinas, the student section broke out with chants of “K-U” and “We are K-U!” It was unbelievably exciting to see our students embrace the change and help rally the team to a crucial conference win.
We have over 250 women’s wrestlers who weighed in this morning and are about an hour away from competing for the national championship. It’s a tremendous honor for King to host the national championships, and very exciting for our team and student athletes, who will be in the hunt for the national title as a team as well as several individuals. A massive amount of work and preparation goes into it by our coaching staff, and we’ll have the support of our men’s wrestling coaching staff, men’s wrestling team, and several administrators from across campus to make this a great event and give the student athletes a championship experience.
In the midst of all of the madness – four basketball games, a volleyball game, the transition to a University, the national championships, and a winter storm coming through the area – last night was a reminder of why we do what we do, and why we dedicate countless hours to impacting lives, as well as a reminder of the quality of our students at King University.
Our Student Athlete Advisory Committee sponsored a fundraiser for the Make a Wish foundation, selling t-shirts, stars, and collecting donations for a 5 year old girl, Kellen, who has been fighting a brain tumor for a number of years. Kellen, like every champion, wants to go to Disney World, and our students stepped up the plate and delivered. Through the sacrifice and generosity of our students, faculty, staff and fans, the SAAC Make a Wish event raised over $2,300 for Kellen to make her wish come true.
In addition, our student athletes embraced her and her family in a way she will never forget; she served as an honorary captain for the basketball games, cheered on the sidelines and during timeouts with our cheerleaders, and received nearly continuous support and attention from our students and other fans. It was a remarkable outpouring of love and generosity from our entire community, and to paraphrase Ryan Gasser, our SID, it makes it all worth it.
Thank you to everyone who supports King University and our amazing student athletes. Regardless of how you support them, you are making a difference in the lives of our student athletes.