Meet Jim Hagan – Class of 1965
It’s been 45 years since Jim Hagan of Bardstown graduated from St. Catharine College, and the College still continues to touch his life. It was there that he met his wife Gina, also an SCC alum. Joyce Hayley Bischoff, who has worked for Jim for 26 years, is also an SCC alum, as is her husband. After completing his two years at SCC, Jim went to Bowling Green to finish his Bachelors degree at Western Kentucky University. It took a little longer than he’d planned because Uncle Sam called him back to active duty in 1968 when the Pueblo crisis erupted in Asia. When he returned, he finished up his BS in Business at Western Kentucky and took a job for Johnson and Johnson selling pharmaceuticals.
Before too long, the constant moving and corporate culture made Jim long to return to his hometown of Bardstown and open his own business. He started his State Farm Insurance Agency in 1984. As Jim recalls, “It was a tough time to start a business. The prime interest rate was something like 12.5 percent and we had some lean years at first.” Despite the struggles, he stayed with it and today has built the company into a large, successful agency with quite a few employees. “The key to success in this business is to like people, to like serving them and, of course, to like selling,” Jim commented.
Even if Jim wasn’t an SCC graduate, he is a strong believer in what the college brings to the local community. “It definitely fills a niche.” He illustrates this convincingly with a story he tells about one of his insurance clients: “Mary was a single mother with a young daughter who had a serious heart defect. Every day a radiographer came to her house to x-ray her daughter’s heart. The situation was so serious that Mary couldn’t work and the family was living on welfare. After watching the x-ray process over the months, Mary felt like this was something she could learn to do. She went over to SCC and met with the admissions staff. They worked with her to find a way for her to attend college at SCC and enroll in the radiography program. Today, Mary has graduated and holds a job as a radiography technician at Jewish Hospital in Louisville. She has gone from being a welfare mother to being a taxpayer and contributing member of the community who owns a car and a house. The more people who can have well paying jobs, the stronger our economy is for all of us. SCC helped do that for Mary .”
Not long ago, Jim brought Mary as his guest to a dinner at a College event where he introduced her and she shared her inspiring story.
Jim recently served as the SCC campaign chair for his county. He believes strongly in what President Huston is doing on campus and is inspired by his enthusiastic, engaging personality. “You can’t help but be excited about St. Catharine when you spend time with him,” Jim noted. He went on, “St. Catharine fills a void in our area. It has had a major impact on Bardstown. There are approximately 300 students from our county attending SCC, many of them students like Mary with special situations that need to be worked through to make college possible. St. Catharine is an institution I’m proud to have in the area. I’m glad it is here.”