Rep. Jody Richards spoke at a ceremony Nov. 6. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)
A bronze statue of longtime WKU supporter and Kentucky State Rep. Jody Richards of Bowling Green was unveiled on WKU’s main campus Monday (Nov. 6) in Jody Richards Hall.
Jody Richards Hall, previously known as Mass Media and Technology Hall, was dedicated during a May 4, 2017, ceremony. Richards, whose 14-year tenure as Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives was the longest in state history, was instrumental in securing state funding to construct the building that now bears his name as well as at least seven other buildings during his 42 years in office.
“I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have this building and this statue as namesakes,” Richards said. “This ceremony is not about me personally. It’s about all of the people I have worked with and worked for.”
Richards called higher education a valuable commodity and precious resource.
“The value of higher education generally, and Western Kentucky University particularly, must not ever be under estimated,” he said. “The world is a better place because of the legion of Hilltoppers who are making a true difference in Kentucky, across American and around the world.”
While the ceremony celebrated Richards’ history with WKU, Richards’ comments also focused on the future.
“We need to make sure that our higher education system, including access, completion and excellence, are getting the attention they deserve and need,” he said. “All of us here know that this university has witnessed tremendous change over the past two decades and I am deeply proud to have helped make that possible. I will continue to do all I can to keep the momentum going.”
Richards’ connection to WKU is extensive. He began his career as a faculty member, teaching for seven years and serving as the adviser to the College Heights Herald and Talisman student publications. He remains an avid Hilltopper fan and a champion of all things WKU.
“This is a well deserved tribute to your service,” WKU President Timothy C. Caboni said, calling him a true Kentucky statesman and a WKU superfan.
“I hope that generations of students will be inspired as they live, learn and work here under your watchful, caring eyes,” he said. “It is fitting that we celebrate his life, career and his love for everything WKU.”
The statue was designed and crafted by world-renowned sculptor Russ Faxon (’74). Faxon, who was inducted into WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2012, has created five other bronze sculptures on the WKU campus.
Several alumni and friends made gifts to fully fund the creation of the Richards statue.
Contact: John Paul Blair, (270) 745-6208