By Keith Lawrence Messenger-Inquirer | Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 12:00 am
Luellen Pyles, a member of Kentucky Wesleyan College's board of trustees since 1972, got a surprise present for her 91st birthday on Tuesday.
KWC President Craig Turner announced that the school is renaming its Admissions and Financial Aid Center in her honor -- the Luellen Pyles Enrollment Center.
It comes at a time when the college is expecting to see a dramatic increase in enrollment.
Turner said enrollment deposits have increased 46 percent -- from 133 to 194 -- since this time last year.
"Enrollments are going down across the country," he said. "But our freshman class increased by five last year."
With deposits for the fall semester already 61 ahead of this time last year, Turner said, he expects more than 200 freshmen to enroll by fall.
"Last year, we had 162 in the freshman class," he said.
And, Turner said, campus visits are up more than 60 percent since 2012.
In the past week, he said, "we've had 54 brand new inquiries or applications."
Pyles, a 1944 KWC graduate, lives in Maysville.
She was executive vice president of a Cincinnati marketing firm where she did advertising and consumer research.
The college said Pyles developed "innovative research methods that are still in use today."
She also opened branch offices in five other countries, the college said.
"No one has done more to recruit students over the years than Miss Luellen," Turner said. "She has served for decades on recruitment committees of the board of trustees and began hosting receptions for prospective students back in 1950. Countless graduates have earned Wesleyan degrees because she introduced them to the college and encouraged them as students."
"She literally grew up at Wesleyan -- with both parents working at the college," the Rev. Tom Grieb, chairman of the KWC board, said in a news release. "She has been our greatest advocate and our greatest ambassador for decades."
Pyles wasn't feeling well Tuesday and wasn't available for interviews, the college said.
In 2011, Turner's first year, as part of a new enrollment strategy, KWC began with hiring more admissions counselors and focusing on recruitment outside the immediate region with an emphasis on the Louisville metropolitan area.
"It's taken a little longer than we thought it would," he said. "But we're getting our name out there. The numbers still aren't huge, but we're growing."
Keith Lawrence, 691-7301, firstname.lastname@example.org