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Jim McKenzie Tribute
It is with great sadness that we have to share today that Jim McKenzie, KCU Executive Vice President from 1969-1992, passed away on Saturday, January 5, 2013. We are reminded today the words Paul preached to the people of Antioch in Acts 13: “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep.”
Mr. McKenzie came to Kentucky Christian in 1969 to serve God’s purpose. God used Mr. McKenzie’s talent to channel and focus his efforts and expertise for the work of the Lord in Grayson.
In his book, For the Good of the Cause, former President J. Lowell Lusby said: “Mr. McKenzie is the only man in the history of Kentucky Christian who, during his first week on the job, walked in my office and handed me an undated letter of resignation! He told me that any time I was dissatisfied with him; I would only need to insert the date and inform him of his release. Frankly I never did see any reason to exercise this prerogative!”
It is impossible for us to list every one of Mr. McKenzie’s accomplishments during his years of service at KCU. Here are a few:
- He worked out a way to eliminate all indebtedness on the property so that funding could be secured to build Lusby Center.
- He supervised the building of Dale Hall dormitory.
- A major fire in Neal Hall, a women’s dorm at the time, was turned from tragedy to triumph as Mr. McKenzie led fund raising efforts to rebuild and refurbish that dorm, the oldest building on campus.
- The Nash Chapel/Fine Arts building was built under Mr. McKenzie’s direction.
- The Young Library was built under his direction. He also secured a collection of 50,000 books and bound periodicals from the University of Louisville, for a small fraction of the estimated value of $1,000,000.00 at the time it was built.
- Two other dorms – Pifer Hall and Waters Hall were also constructed under Mr. McKenzie’s leadership, giving the college room for expanded enrollment.
- Existing buildings on campus (old library building, the President’s home, and Jones Hall) were rebuilt and refurbished for continuous and greater use.
- A nearby commercial garage and an adjacent building were secured and revamped to serve as an efficient base for the Maintenance Department.
- Mr. McKenzie was instrumental in developing the new married students’ apartment complex.
- He also worked closely with the Christian Church Homes of Kentucky, Inc. (now Christian Care of Kentucky) so that the Chapel House apartment complex for low-income senior citizens could be built on what was formerly part of the college’s property.
- The Student Life Center was built a few years after Mr. McKenzie retired and named after him for his exemplary service at KCU.
However, Jim McKenzie was not just concerned with buildings and grounds. He was also deeply involved with the addition and enhancement of various academic programs.
- He was always concerned about developing an outstanding faculty.
- He gave total support to program developments in Teacher Education, Psychology, and Social Work, and Business, and helped to secure personnel, equipment and funds for these programs.
- At the same time, he was also concerned that we would not slight or downplay our strong program in Bible and Ministries.
- He was a strong promoter of our move to secure regional accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
It is easy to see that Jim McKenzie had an incredible impact that is still felt to this day. We cannot look at the campus today and not see Mr. McKenzie’s fingerprints. God used him for His purpose in awesome ways and we, at KCU, will always be grateful.
Nancy McKenzie, Jim’s daughter wrote the following on her Facebook page that she has graciously allowed us to share: "Because of our passionate belief and assurance of Dad's Heavenly reward our family celebrates. We thank all the well wishers and in advance all who will be happy for my Dad's years of service to Christ, the Christian Kingdom, and his family. At Carol Jeans wishes we’ll be holding a private graveside service on Monday, January 7th in Russell, KY. Dad asked that any who would want to remember him, do so by a gift to Kentucky Christian University. While he retired from KCU in 1992, his heart and passions remained with developing "preachers" for the Kingdom. If you'd like to write a note to Carol Jean of what Dad meant to you, her address is Carol Jean McKenzie, 268 Bellefonte Circle, Ashland, KY 41101."
We know that there are many Alumni who have their own impressions of Jim McKenzie. Please go to our alumni Facebook page @ http://www.facebook.com/KCUAlumni and share with us your story of how Mr. McKenzie influenced your life. We will then take these remembrances and present them to Mrs. McKenzie and her family.