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Carl P. Chelf

Carl P. Chelf was born September 16, 1937 to William Ralph Chelf and Nellie Rivers Ard Chelf in Pikeview, Hart County, Kentucky. Dr. Chelf began his legacy at WKU when he recieved an undergraduate degree in English and played for the Hilltopper baseball team, becoming an All-Time Letter winner in 1957-1958. After graduating from WKU in 1959, Dr. Chelf received a National Defense Education Act Fellowship to pursue both his Master’s and Doctoral degrees at the University of Nebraska. In 1963, Dr. Chelf returned to WKU, where he taught in the Political Science Department full- or part-time for 40 years, making many contributions to that department and the University. While teaching, he also served 18 years in academic administration, the longest as Dean of Public Service and Continuing Education.

In addition to his accomplishments locally, Dr. Chelf received a number of awards and honors, including fellowship from the American Political Science Association to work with Congress; a fellowship from the American Council on Education to participate in their ACE Fellows Program; and a second grant from APSA to become a Legislative Service Fellow to coordinate orientation sessions for newly elected members of the Kentucky General Assembly. Dr. Chelf authored or co-authored numerous books and journal articles and was an active member of many higher education and political organizations.

Dr. Chelf married his wife, Earlene Chelf, also a WKU graduate, and the couple had a daughter, Jennifer, a son, David, and two grandchildren. After retiring from WKU, Dr. Chelf pursued other interests: involvement in the family real estate/auction business, participation in civic and political organizations, and the pursuits of hobbies and interests.

Dr. Chelf passed away at the age of 73 in April of 2011. Upon his passing, Dr. Chelf’s family established the Carl P. Chelf Political Science Scholarship, giving preference to junior and senior students from Hart County pursuing degrees in Political Science. Through this fund, Dr. Chelf’s legacy lives on in perpetuity as it assists deserving students to obtain an education at WKU.