Wendell Thomas is one of Kentucky State University’s (KSU) hidden gems who continues to leave an indelible mark at the University. The devoted KSU grad is the former Director of Alumni Relations at KSU and the Senate Sergeant at Arms of Kentucky at the State Capitol.
Thomas’ involvement at the capitol has inspired him to help KSU students to learn more about the roles and responsibilities in state government. On Wednesday, February 8, KSU students will participate in Legislative Day at the State Capitol. About 50 students will visit at the State Capitol, which includes tours and meeting with officials. This is the 10th year that Thomas has organized the daylong event.
Born in Mississippi and raised in Illinois, Thomas graduated from KSU while it was still named Kentucky State College in 1968. He was recruited by the father of his high school mentor to play football for the Thorobreds. Back then, former KSU president Rufus Atwood projected an image of support and wanted nothing but the best for students. Faculty made students feel important by pushing and motivating them daily.
“Without KSU, I wouldn’t have been a successful husband, father, and employee for 30 years,” Thomas said. “I wouldn’t be a contributor to KSU.”
Thomas said he came from a family that did not receive higher education, however, they appreciated it. Although he did not realize it right away, he knows his family kept him focused on his studies and out of trouble. Because of his family support, Thomas always wanted to give back to others in his community. For 20 years, he taught Little League football. Instead of teaching children how to win, Thomas taught them how to play the sport. He encouraged them to interact with different people. Throughout those years, he watched his young students become successful adults.
While working at Louisville Gas & Electric, Thomas became interested in state government. His role at the State Capitol has inspired him to help students to become informed, attend meetings, and get involved.
“It’s important for students to become aware of how they could participate in government. Government affects your life, job, children, and services,” Thomas said. “To ignore it is the worst thing you could do.”
— Shantel Booth