Spirit Master Chair shaped by WKU experiences
- Aurelia Spaulding
- Wednesday, June 9th, 2021
“Spirit Masters has shaped my WKU experience in incredible ways,” said WKU senior and Spirit Master Chair Claire Linder as she reflects on the organization and her time at WKU. Linder, a mathematical economics major from Louisville became Spirit Master Chair in April. Spirit Masters will celebrate its 40th Anniversary this year.
“It has been the organization that has challenged me as an individual, developing my own professionalism, integrity, compassion and enthusiasm while inspiring me to reach for things I would have never thought attainable,” Linder shared. “It also exposed me to numerous aspects of the university and the community that I would not otherwise have had the opportunity to interact with. Spirit Masters at its core is about service, and that in and of itself taught me a great deal about the difference a welcoming face and an open door can make.”
The inaugural group of twelve men and women began in 1981, when Dr. Carl Kell presented the idea of student ambassadors for the university, known as the WKU Spirit Master organization, to WKU President John Minton.
As Spirit Master Chair, Linder oversees the overall administration of the organization, which includes working closely with community members, the organization’s advisors, and other organizations across campus to serve in various capacities.
Linder explained, “The main goal of Spirit Masters is to maintain the spirit and traditions of WKU through service, and as Chair, I make sure those ideals are upheld. One of our previous advisors would always say ‘luck favors the prepared mind.’ As Chair, I seek to ensure Spirit Masters are prepared to serve the university in the way that so many Spirit Masters have before us – with pride and enthusiasm for this university.”
Since Spring 2021 marked the 40th Anniversary of WKU Spirit Masters, they are planning to celebrate it this fall. “We have been collecting memories and photos from previous Spirit Masters, and it has been a privilege to hear how the organization has spread the spirit of WKU throughout the years and the mark that has made on alumni,” Linder said. “Other than the 40th, we are eager to jump back into serving at in-person events and welcoming guests to WKU.”
During the 2021 - 2022 academic year, 26 Spirit Masters will serve 100 hours each with campus tours, events, student panels, high school training, and more.
Becoming a Spirit Master aligns well with Linder’s reason for coming to WKU. She originally looked at WKU because of the alumni in her family - her father and three older siblings - including her sister who served as Spirit Master Chair. She explained that she grew up immersed in the pride they shared in being a Hilltopper.
“While attending WKU’s Homecoming my senior year of high school with my family, I could feel the enthusiasm about the university radiating off the alumni and knew that I had to experience it for myself,” Linder expressed. “I later chose WKU because I wanted all of the opportunities that a large university could provide, but wanted to feel like I took up space in the community and WKU had both.”
Those opportunities Linder desired extended beyond WKU Spirit Masters. She joined Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, spent time in Study Abroad, and remains involved with the Mahurin Honors College.
“My involvement within the Mahurin Honors College has also shaped my WKU experience immensely,” Linder acknowledged. “The Mahurin Honors College is an environment that encourages taking large steps and having big dreams.” Linder serves as an H4 counselor for the Honors Freshman Orientation Retreat and describes it as “one of the most rewarding few days.”
She expressed, “To be able to reflect on my own college experience and use that to pour into incoming students and be their first view of the pride students have in this university is special.”
In addition, Linder spent her Spring 2020 semester at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England. The semester was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but she still developed a multitude of personal skills that she believes will translate into a career. “Studying abroad challenged my current world view and pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I came back with this newfound independence and excitement to seek out new experiences.”
To learn more about Spirit Masters, visit https://www.wku.edu/spiritmasters/.