Centre professor runs into alumna in Chile

February 29, 2004

Although retired, Kitty Baird can't seem to stay away from former Centre students - even when she's half way around the world.

After more than 40 years in physical education and athletics at Centre, Baird and her husband, Ernest, now spend their time traveling across the globe building homes for Habitat for Humanity. On their most recent trip to Chile in late November, the Bairds ran across an old friend and former employee of Kitty's.

While in Santiago, Beck Ward, a Habitat volunteer, told the Bairds she wanted them to meet the pastor of her church.

Ward mentioned to her pastor, David Bubb of Santiago Community Church, that she had met a couple from the United States and thought Bubb would enjoy talking with them. She told Bubb they were from Kentucky and that the wife's name was Kitty.


"I couldn't believe it," Bubb said. "How many Kittys from Kentucky could there be? What a wonderful small-world surprise."

Later, the Bairds met up with Bubb and his wife, Kathi. Bubb had worked for Kitty Baird the year following his graduation from Centre as a graduate fellow.

"It was marvelous seeing Kitty and meeting Ernest," he said. "She hadn't changed a bit. She's as energetic and personable as ever. I enjoyed catching up on Centre news as well as hearing about all her current service travel. It appears she hasn't slowed down at all."

Baird and Bubb hadn't been in contact for 10 years, and she had no idea he was working in Chile.

The Bairds spent their last day in Chile visiting with Bubb and his wife at their church. Bubb and Kitty Baird have been in contact through e-mail since her return.

Although Baird hasn't run into any other former students or employees on her journeys around the world, she considers it a strong possibility.

"I think Centre students have an interest in a world view," she said. "Most get a chance to visit a foreign country as a student."

The Bairds have another Habitat for Humanity trip planned in the spring to Romania. Previous volunteer trips have taken them to the Dominican Republic, Alaska, South Korea and South Africa. The Bairds' travels were featured in the Feb. "7 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"I've always been interested in travel but I don't like to travel and look at all the tourist attractions," Baird said. "I like to travel and get to know the people and the culture."

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