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Karl Rove brings message of economic hope at Cumberlands


Karl Rove speaks at University of the Cumberlands.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — The fifth annual Center for Excellence in Leadership program at University of the Cumberlands featured Karl Rove, former adviser and deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush, the author of “Courage and Consequence;” a Fox News contributor; a columnist for Newsweek; and the writer of a weekly op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal. Speaking on “Leadership in Today’s economy, Rove addressed a nearly-packed house in the O.Wayne Rollins Center on April 6.

“This exceptional leadership event is a valuable experience not only for our students but also to the community and region,” said Dr. Jim Taylor, Cumberlands’ president. “We are especially pleased to welcome someone with such national prominence as Mr. Rove, and we appreciate his insightful and inspiring message on the resilience and strength of the American spirit and the ability of Americans to excel, even in difficult economic situations.”

“Eventually, our economy is going to recover, not because of government; not because of what they do in Washington. It is going to recover because of the inherent strength of American workers, farmers and ranchers and business leaders,” said Rove. “That is what this country is all about.”

Six prominent regional business leaders and entrepreneurs were honored at the event for their work and for their service to others: Ward Correll, businessman and philanthropist from Somerset; Tennessee native Dr. Dale Henry, founder and president of Your Best Unlimited; Jesse T. Correll, founder and chair of the board for First Southern Bancorp, Inc.; J. Charles Smiddy, retired vice president of consumer sales at White Lily Foods Company; Jon Westbrook, owner and CEO of East and Westbrook Construction Company, Inc. and Pearce Ready Mix Concrete, Inc.; and Elmer Whitaker, president and CEO of Whitaker Bank Corporation. Rove frequently referred to the accomplishments of these individuals during his address.

Rove also praised Cumberlands as being unique. “Where else would the president ask a donor to contribute a bulldozer to the university?” he asked. His reference was to a recent donation that will help Mountain Outreach, Cumberlands building ministry in its construction of homes for deserving area families.

Established in 2005, the Forcht Group of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Leadership provides programs and activities that enhance the development of leadership, character and good citizenship.