By Ethan Sirles
Throughout the football season, Eastern Kentucky University’s (EKU) Roy Kidd Stadium hosts thousands of Colonel fans. This year, one proud EKU alumna and mom, Kim Hatley, plans to attend every home game.
She will be cheering for more than the football team, though. Kim’s son Caleb, who just started his freshman year at EKU, plays in the marching band.
Kim graduated from EKU in 1991 and eventually settled in Louisville, Kentucky, where she taught for 31 years before retiring in July.
Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Kim came to EKU to play on the women’s basketball team and received a full athletic scholarship. While a student, campus quickly became her second home, and the professors were like family.
Decades later, when her son was close to graduating high school, Kim said Caleb began researching the EKU Marching Colonels.
“Caleb researched all of this, and he decided that EKU's marching band was the band for him. He did this on his own,” she said. “When he told me he was going, it was so exciting for me.”
Soon, Hatley and her son were attending orientation, getting Caleb ready for his freshman year.
Now that her son has settled in at EKU, Hatley takes every opportunity to get involved on campus, even starting a tailgating event with other EKU moms.
“The EKU band moms have been tailgating at every home game,” said Hatley. “It’s been phenomenal. We've got lots of family turnout.”
As she was nearing her retirement from teaching, Hatley received an email about serving on the EKU Alumni Board, giving her another opportunity to get involved with her alma mater.
“I thought, ‘That would be awesome, I would love to get back acclimated with EKU,’” said Hatley. “I'm looking forward to being able to just do more and participate more on campus.” She’s now been on the Alumni Board for nearly a year.
With EKU Homecoming this weekend, Hatley said she is looking forward to cheering on the Colonels, and, of course, the marching band.
“Over Homecoming weekend, alumni and students converge on the Campus Beautiful as we celebrate EKU’s past and present as One Eastern,” said EKU President David McFaddin. “We love seeing alumni, like Kim, getting involved and sharing their Colonel spirit with the next generation. We truly are a family at EKU, and Homecoming is our annual get-together where we reunite and reconnect with our fellow Colonels.”
Homecoming weekend is Oct. 13 and 14. Alumni, students, faculty, staff and the EKU community are invited to “paint the town maroon” with events including campus tours and the Homecoming Parade on Friday, and the Homecoming 5K and EKU Football game against Tarleton State on Saturday. For more information about Homecoming and the full schedule of events, visit go.eku.edu/homecoming.