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Ellie McKinley, a senior from Campbellsville, recently spoke at a Campbellsville University Campaign for the Commonwealth alumni event in Lexington on May 22.
McKinley, who is majoring in public relations and Spanish, said CU is "my home away from home."
"It's a great place to find your calling and I've been able to find mine through the endless possibilities I've been able to have," she said.
She said at the end of her high school career she was ready for college. She had visited many campuses around Kentucky, but nothing felt right to her. Her parents suggested CU.
"I had an open mind and prayed and felt God was leading me there," she said. "I fell in love with it and can't imagine being anywhere else because of that warm atmosphere - that family atmosphere."
On her first day on campus with the other freshmen, there were many international students, she said.
"It's wonderful because your eyes are open," she said. "You see the diversity. It really encouraged me and made me want to pursue and learn about different cultures and the way that people think and that we're all connected in some way."
She said she will be studying abroad in Spain this summer, and she has a few friends who will also be studying abroad in different countries, teaching English as a second language.
"Campbellsville is being represented all around the world; spreading everywhere. It's beautiful," she said.
When speaking to the crowd, CU President Dr. Michael V. Carter said CU has more than 90 different programs of study, with 450 graduate students studying at CU.
"When we look at a student, we can call her Ellie and genuinely know her. We're been able to enlarge the opportunities, and at the same time, still keep that personal touch that is absolutely essential to who the spirit of Campbellsville has been now for 108 years."
Students from CU graduate with less debt than any other university in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, he said, and said this campaign is for the future of Campbellsville.