Former UK, NBA basketball star encourages CU President's Club for giving students a boost

Former UK, NBA basketball star encourages CU President's Club for giving students a boost

Oct. 28, 2011
For Immediate Release

 Sam Bowie, former UK and NBA basketball player, spoke to CU President's Club on the importance of helping students and "giving them a boost up the hill." (Campbellsville University Photo by Christina Kern)

By Christina L. Kern, office assistant

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.— “Thank you for your contributions and donations that go toward kids like me who wouldn’t have made it without that push up the hill,” Sam Bowie, former University of Kentucky and National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball star, said to Campbellsville University’s President’s Club at their annual dinner.

The President’s Club is for donors of Campbellsville University who contribute $1,000 or more in a fiscal year. The dinner was held as a thank you to them, and also to honor the new members of the President’s Club.

The President’s Club donated $4.3 million of the $6.1 million of donations received over the past fiscal year.
Bowie told his story of how he came from “goat cheese and food stamps” to playing basketball at the University of Kentucky and becoming a NBA basketball star.

 Charles and Sharon Hedrick smile with Sam Bowie
as they receive his autograph. (Campbellsville
University Photo by Christina Kern)
His father was a member of the Harlem Magicians (now the Harlem Globetrotters), but his mother told Bowie he needed a “real job.” Despite his mother’s wishes, he continued to play basketball and became the “best player in America” his senior year in high school. He then visited the University of Kentucky.

While visiting UK, he met Billy Wilcoxson, who promised to take care of 19-year-old Bowie while he was at school, beginning in 1979. Bowie said, “I’m 50 years old, and Billy is still burping me.”

“We’ve all had help along the way, and we couldn’t have achieved anything without a boost up the hill. The success of our younger generation is based on the boost we give them.”

In his success at UK, Bowie was offered $600,000 per year for six years from the Philadelphia 76ers. Even though he wanted to accept the offer in order to help out his family, his mom said, “Absolutely not. You’ll be first in the family to get a degree. By no means will you drop out of school.”

The summer after, Bowie received an injury to his leg and was off the court for a time. His father also died during this time period, and Bowie felt he needed to help out his family.

“God is good,” Bowie said. “He healed me, we went to the final four that next year, and I was selected in the second (1984 draft) pick (to play with the Portland Trailblazers).”

The 7-foot-1-inch Bowie was picked even before Michael Jordan.

Through his time off the court, Bowie learned education is important. “Prior to that I thought basketball was all, but I learned there was more.” He finished his education and graduated from the University of Kentucky before the professional draft.

“I feel at home in Campbellsville,” Bowie said. “People in this room show love with contribution and donations for kids like me who wouldn’t have made it without that push up the hill.

“You all are doing big, big things here. You have to be proud of what you are growing in Campbellsville… great students because of the push up the hill from people like you gave them that opportunity.”

A total of 54 new members were inducted into the President’s Club.

New members of the President’s Club include: Estate of Fuller Harding, Campbellsville; Estate of Martha B. Lyon, Elizabethtown, Ky.; Heartbeat Development, LLC, Campbellsville; The Humana Foundation, Louisville, Ky.; Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency, Campbellsville; Schutrust, LLC, Louisville, Ky.; John Reiss, Fairbanks, Alaska; U.S. Bank, Lebanon, Ky.; Roger and Judith Davis, Campbellsville;

Edward Jones Investments, Campbellsville; Fairview Baptist Church, Russell Springs, Ky.; A-1 Pressure Washing, Campbellsville; Russell and Gladys Barclay, Campbellsville; Dennis and Faye Bickers, Madison, Ind.; Derek and Shannon Bishop, Campbellsville; BSA Softball, Scottsville, Ky.; Nancy Buchanan, Burkesville, Ky.; Melody Chaney, Hardyville, Ky.; Committee to Elect Dan Venters, Somerset, Ky.; Melinda Coppock, Corbin, Ky.;

Jerome and Janet Dixon, Campbellsville; David and Deborah Duda, Rineyville, Ky.; First Baptist Church, Owenton, Ky.; Bruce and Carolyn Garrison, Campbellsville; M. Shane and Jennifer Garrison, Campbellsville; Paul and Ruth Graham, Campbellsville; Rickey L. Greer, Campbellsville; Edward and Jane Hart, Maryville, Tenn.; Eddie and Vickie Hazelwood, Campbellsville; Hillvue Heights Church, Bowling Green, Ky.;

Gene and Carol Hornback, Buffalo, Ky.; Intelenet America, LLC, Fargo, N.D.; Johnson Motors Inc., Campbellsville; Robert and Karen Keller, Angola, Ind.; April E. Kriete, Guyton, Ga.; Catherine Ann Moore, Bardstown, Ky.; Chris and Dianna Mueller, Munfordville, Ky.; Joshua and Vanessa Myers, Annville, Ky.; Nunery and Call, PLLC, Campbellsville; Perkins & Son Masonry, LLC, Campbellsville; the late Elizabeth H. Russell, Campbellsville;

Christopher M. Sanders, Elgin, Iowa; Scene Weavers, Campbellsville; Second Nature, Inc., Dedham, Mass.; Catherine R. Settle, West Somerset, Ky.; Tracy and Leigh Shultz, Mount Sterling, Ky.; Siloam Baptist Church, Glasgow, Ky.; Orville Smith, Campbellsville; Glen E. Taul, Campbellsville; Tommy and Camille Turner, Magnolia, Ky.; Jane Wheatley, Campbellsville; and WVLC The Big Dawg, Campbellsville.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is
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