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Dr. Begley's 20 Years Of Dreams And Fulfillment Brought Lindsey To Its Present

This article first appeared in issue 13, and was written by Linda Waggener. The full title appeared as: Dr. Begley's 20 years of dreams and fulfillment brought Lindsey to its present shining state..

Could emulating his example

work for the community, as well?

Lindsey Wilson College was in local and state news for a full week prior to, and following, the inauguration of President Walter Reuling, and the official move of Dr. John Begley from President to Chancellor.

In all the news coverage, perhaps the story with the most heart was the article by Byron Crawford in the April 25th Courier Journal where he captured the spirit of John Begley's leadership in a report on the brass handrail at the college.

We learned in Byron's article that the brass rail at the administration building was Dr. Begley's symbol of his deeply held belief in the bright future of Lindsey Wilson College, put there when the college was near collapse 20 years ago, and polished every day.

When he came to Lindsey Wilson College, local people took sides immediately as John Begley began to make waves. He began to make decisions, ask for action, negotiate for support, and dream big dreams. In the country, people are either fer ya, or they're agin ya, and John had some very vocal agin's that might have gotten a less focused man off track. However, he believed in leadership. He challenged and pushed himself as much or more than any member of his team, until enough people quietly backed him so that he was able to keep, and vastly improve upon, the tradition of Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia.

His abiding motto has been, "whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon, will inevitably come to pass."

Adair Countians benefit because a man named John Begley came our way and refused to give up on Lindsey Wilson College.

The annual college payroll

is now in excess of $4 million.

Additional payments to

Adair County vendors

result in a $20 million impact on the local economy.

Readers of Columbia! may remember Dr. Begley's comment last year in the story about his decision to retire from the presidency for health reasons, where he challenged Adair County leaders to protect and restore the courthouse - to make it the brass rail of Adair County.

Will Columbia and Adair County leaders adopt his brass rail theory? Are the maintenance touches around the courthouse and city parking lots the beginnings of Columbia's move to become every bit as successful looking as the college it holds in its palm?

Dr. Begley had pictures made to show the disrepair of the college before he took office and kept them close by all the years of his presidency as reminders of where things can go if there's no dream and no plan for continuous improvement.

There are pockets of dreamers at work all over the county right now - dreamers who want a dinner theatre on the square, dreamers who want to fill all the vacant buildings and put a stop to unnecessary urban sprawl, dreamers who want a YMCA, dreamers who want trees and flowers lining our roadways, dreamers who want buried utility lines and sidewalks to invite people to stroll down every street, dreamers who want to paint murals, restore landmarks and create new ones.

Where is the leader who might rise to the occasion and be bold enough to make waves - to vividly imagine with these dreamers, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically coordinate action to find funding for the dreams?

The 20-year

success story of

Lindsey Wilson College proves that not a single one

of our dreams is

impossible to attain.

Twenty years ago, many who could not yet see and believe in a bright future for Lindsey, simply held on and believed in its charismatic leader.

Now, as a chapel named in his honor is nearing completion, will Adair County believe in his prediction and take his advice to be ready to host thousands of travelers who will come here to visit the landmark?

This story was posted on 1997-05-05 12:01:01
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Archive Photo

1997-05-05 - Photo Staff. Dr. John B. BegleyThis item first appeared in Issue 13 of the print edition of Columbia! Magazine.
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