President Crouch, right, proudly stands with Jim and Sue Barlow at the park's dedication. Former GC board chair B.I. Houston, far left, and current chair Earl Goode, were part of the official photo. Hambrick Villiage, which is nearing completion, looms in the background.

Georgetown, KY – August 1, 2012 was a very special, emotional day on the campus of Georgetown College – especially for all those who took in the dedication of Barlow Park at 4 p.m., then attended the fond farewell reception for long-time staff member Gov. Martha Layne Collins at 5 p.m.  

GC Board Chairman Earl Goode of Indianapolis, center, shakes the hand of the park's namesake, Jim Barlow. B.I. Houston, the immediate past board chair, is at left.

The park dedication drew a sizeable crowd of community leaders, College personnel, GC board members, and family and friends of Jim Barlow, who is being honored with this special place on the corner of College and Military streets. You see, Barlow – a Trustee Fellow of the College – is the builder of the newest complex of student townhouses on Military (visible behind the brick wall in the above photo) which will be known as Hambrick Village. When the landscaping is complete, Barlow Park will be a wonderful place for rest and reflection for the entire campus – as well as the Scott County community.

Before he gave his welcoming remarks, President Bill Crouch brought a collective laugh from the crowd when he said if any other well-wishers “wanted to hug Mr. Barlow, they’ll have to wait until after the ceremony.”

Dean Todd Gambill, who has overseen both Barlow construction projects (Hambrick Village and Rucker Village, which was dedicated last Homecoming), opened his tribute to Jim Barlow with: “Students at Georgetown College get a first class education…and now they are getting first class housing.”

He also shared with the audience that Trustee Barlow told the College “I can build (the townhouses)…and I can build them for less” than what had been previously quoted.

Not only did Barlow come through on that promise, but, Dr. Gambill said, “consultants have said these complexes are among the top five in the country.”

Dr. Crouch and Earl A. Goode, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, both spoke and Alan Redditt, Class of 2000 and pastor of Barlow’s church (Georgetown Baptist) closed with a Dedicatory Prayer.

Afterwards, Mr. Barlow said in almost a whisper, but with a big smile, “This means a lot to me and my family.”

Admissions counselor Jeremiah Tudor, hugging Gov. Collins, wouldn't settle for a handshake. Lauren Towles of Admissions says her thanks, as former GC basketball coach Bob Davis awaits his turn in the background.

Hearts were heavy of all those who showed up to say thanks to “Martha Layne” – the only female governor of the Commonwealth (1983-87) and the one who raised the state’s profile by bringing Toyota to Georgetown. Their thanks certainly was for both helping President Crouch and the College “open so many doors” for fund-raising purposes and for caring so deeply about the College, how it is perceived by the outside world and for the students who must step out into that world.

So many wanted to express those feelings and thank her for being so approachable that Gov. Collins’ right hand had to be sore from shaking hands for over an hour at the historic President’s Home of Bill and Jan Crouch. The long line of fans included Earl Goode and his board chairman predecessors B.I. Houston and Guthrie True; new board member Bob Hieb and his wife, Roxanne; Jason Baird, a member of the newly-formed Alumni Board; legendary former GC basketball coach Bob Davis; Horace and Maribeth Hambrick; Scott County Judge-Executive George Lusby; and Georgetown Mayor Everett “Mutt” Varney.

Halfway through the reception, Dr. Crouch called everyone together and presented Gov. Collins with a rocking chair – which he predicted she’d never use. Roy Lowdenback ’05, Associate Vice President & Chief Development Officer, presented her with a beautiful GC couch throw and Dr. Gambill gave her the sign (framed) that reserved her parking space in Giddings Circle the 14 years she was our Executive Scholar-in-Residence.

Is Gov. Collins retiring? NO. Many people don’t know, she has been in one prominent position after another with the Kentucky World Trade Center in Lexington and she continues to be on its board. And, you can bet she has some other irons in the fire that will benefit her beloved State of Kentucky…stay tuned for that.

She did allow she has a number of speeches on her calendar and will continue helping the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in “expanding markets (internationally) for Kentucky companies.”