By CAMERON NIXON
Patrick Barker is a relatively new face on campus this year. He’s not quite as new as the freshmen, but he hasn’t been here quite as long as many sophomores either. You’ve probably encountered him around campus at some point, maybe during the recent chili cook off sharing some of his white chili, as a star of the student life “Call Me Maybe” YouTube video or eating lunch in the Caf.
Patrick grew up in Morehead, Ky. and got his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky in 2006 and his MA from the Patterson School of Diplomacy in 2009 in Diplomacy and Commerce. His love of all things global pushed him to his degree, which consequently led him to Georgetown College and the Global Scholars program of which he is now the director. His area of study and traveling being one of his favorite hobbies made the job a natural fit for him. I had heard about Global Scholars but never knew exactly what the aim of the program was. As described by Patrick, it’s “a program that provides unique experiences to Georgetown students that teach them more about a variety of global topics such as current events, culture, language and international business. The aim is that this program will better prepare students for a diverse and globalized business world once they leave campus.”
Patrick’s greatest memory so far from the program and at the school is the Holi color fight that took place last year. It is a Hindu spring festival, in part celebrated by throwing colored powders on each other. He hadn’t planned on getting in the middle of the powder throwing but “was just as much of a mess as everyone else in the end.” Patrick has been very involved in campus since he arrived last year. Whether making chili, driving buses or playing intramurals, he finds a way to be useful to the institution.
To know Patrick on a more personal level, I asked him a couple of questions that one usually uses to determine what kind of stuff a person is made of, mostly pertaining to entertainment preferences. A book he recommends is “Guests of the Ayatollah,” about the Iran hostage crisis, but his all-time favorite is “Geography of Bliss,” about a guy who travels the world in search of what makes people happy. Patrick enjoys “The Walking Dead,” (which I know gives him a common topic of interest with half of the campus) “Homeland” and as a guilty pleasure, “Once Upon a Time.” Finally, his favorite movie is “Contact” with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConoughey. It’s about the intersection of faith and science and features aliens, a must-have in any favorite film.
One of Patrick’s life goals is to visit all the gyms of the 345 Division 1 college basketball teams. He doesn’t need to go to a game for it to count, just go in the gym and take a picture. Sometimes he has to be creative to get in; sometimes he just walks right in the front door. Right now he’s at around 50 gyms and keeps a Facebook album of all his conquests. Another goal is one that he’s entertained since he’s come to work at Georgetown College, getting his Ph.D. “Before I started this job, I would have laughed if you suggested I get my Ph.D. Now, after working in a campus environment, I’ve fallen in love with it and it’s got me thinking I want to go back for more.”
As a big fan of basketball myself, I couldn’t help but end this with some questions about Patrick and the game. I asked who he thought would win the NBA championships this year and he devolved it into another Lebron vs. Kobe argument. He thinks either the Lakers or Heat will win, ultimately choosing the Heat. I respectfully disagree. He’s also a part of a super secret club of elite players on campus. I asked him to elaborate more but he said, “There were a lot of questions to answer. I think I’ll go take a nap now.” Patrick Barker, everybody.