Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2004 (1)

Inducted April 24, 2004




John C. C. Mayo 1879


john mayo

John Caldwell Calhoun Mayo was one of the most remarkable men ever to come from the impoverished hills of Eastern Kentucky. Born in 1864, the son of a poor farmer, Mayo enrolled as a 'prep' student at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Millersburg. While there, he became intrigued by the potential of coal and mineral deposits in the Big Sandy Valley.

In 1886, Mayo began teaching school in Paintsville. As his meager salary would permit, he began to purchase land in Eastern Kentucky. Mayo would eventually accumulate hundreds of thousands of acres of land, and mineral rights to many more. He convinced Eastern iron and coal companies to invest in exploration and mining of the region, selling his options to them for a considerable profit. Mayo continued to buy and sell land options, eventually becoming partner, agent, and representative for many large Eastern firms. By the 1890s, he had accumulated considerable wealth.

Mayo's "Horatio Alger" career helped transform the economy of a poor region of the state and brought Mayo a personal fortune. He became Eastern Kentucky's first millionaire. Mayo was generous with his wealth. His vision and philanthropy modernized much of Eastern Kentucky.

His friend, Daniel O'Sullivan, once wrote of him: "He has diverted millions into hitherto barren land. He has lined its valleys with railroads, peopled its desolate mountains with workmen, and brought the products of its forests and mines to the markets of the world."


Justice Stanley Foreman Reed '02


stanley reed

Stanley Forman Reed obtained bachelor’s degrees from both Kentucky Wesleyan and Yale University, and then studied law at the University of Virginia, Columbia University and the Sorbonne.

Following nearly 20 years in private practice, Reed was appointed by President Herbert Hoover to the Federal Farm Board and then became general counsel of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Reed was appointed solicitor general in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who in 1938 nominated him to the United States Supreme Court. Reed retired from the Court in 1957, deeply troubled by the actions of Chief Justice Warren who commenced a period of expansive interpretations of the Court and its power. Reed was opposed to “government by judges.”

In recognition of Justice Reed, Kentucky Wesleyan renamed its pre-law and politics society the Stanley Reed Society and annually hosts the Stanley Reed Lectures.


Talmadge Edward Hocker '27


talmage hocker

Talmage Hocker was a teacher and developer, and is credited with transforming Frederica Street into the main street of Owensboro by developing Wesleyan Park Plaza and Towne Square Mall.

In 1950 the future of Kentucky Wesleyan College in Winchester was in crisis. Realizing the success the college would have by moving to Owensboro, Hocker seized the opportunity and played a key role in the decision to relocate the college to Owensboro in 1951. Hocker's vision and optimism for the success of such a move enabled Kentucky Wesleyan to continue educating students and developing leaders.

To honor him, the Alumni Association established its first alumni award – the Outstanding Alumnus Award – with Hocker as the first recipient.


James Roger Hull '28


james hull

James Roger Hull began his insurance career as a field underwriter for Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York (MONY) and rose to the position of chairman and chief executive officer. When he was appointed CEO, MONY was the largest mutual life insurance company in the U.S.

He was active in the insurance industry as director and former chairman of the Life Association of America, vice-chairman and life trustee of the American College of Life Underwriters, and director of the Million Dollar Roundtable Foundation.

In recognition of his contributions, Hull was awarded the National Association of Life Underwriters “John Newton Russell Memorial Award,” the highest honor of the insurance industry.

He served as a director of the New York Stock Exchange, the Better Business Bureau, the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, Religion in American Life, and the Board of Public Welfare, all in New York City, and as chairman of the executive committee of the Billy Graham Crusade of New York City in 1957.


Dr. Lyman V. Ginger


lyman ginger

Lyman Vernon Ginger served as dean of the College of Education of the University of Kentucky, as chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Public Education, as the first director of the Kentucky Commission on Post-Secondary Education, as state superintendent of education and as president of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. He also served two terms as President of the Kentucky Education Association, and he held the distinction of being the only Kentuckian to be elected President of the National Education Association.

Ginger was appointed by Secretary of State Dean Rusk to serve a two-year term on the Education Committee of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, and was reappointed to an additional two-year term.

He was a much sought-after speaker and lecturer, and during his educational career addressed more than 500 different educational groups in almost every state and in five foreign countries.




Coach Robert R. Wilson '31


robert wilson

Robert R. (Bullet) Wilson, began his coaching career with KWC in Winchester, moving to Owensboro with the college in 1951. He coached all sports at the college from 1945 through 1958, but his passion was basketball.

During his first nine years, Wilson’s teams compiled a record against Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) schools of 108 wins to 35 losses, and won the annual KIAC tournament five straight years.

But Wilson believed KWC could become a national champion, and in 1953 he began to schedule NCAA Division I schools. His best year was the 1955-56 season when KWC was ranked in the top 25 major college teams in the nation. The following year, Division II played its first national championship and KWC finished as runner-up.

Stepping down as coach in 1958, Wilson had a highly successful 14-year career, during which the Panthers won 11 championships, earned 25 All-Kentucky Independent Athletic Conference honors and nine All-American awards. To many, Wilson is considered “the father of Kentucky Wesleyan championship basketball.”


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