Unnamed donors give $750,000

Joe Lord

Western will announce today that two unnamed donors have given $500,000 to the Academic Athletic Performance Center fund and $250,000 for an endowed visiting professorship in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

The donors are a former student athlete and his spouse, said Tom Hiles, vice president for institutional advancement. Both are alumni.

“I would say we’ve had discussions on this since about January,” he said.

President Gary Ransdell said the gift is another step to building the performance center. Its contribution to education is also needed.

“We’ve not been able to raise as many gifts to support our College of Education as some of our colleges,” he said.

The $250,000 will be matched by Kentucky’s Regional University Excellence Fund, Hiles said.

The endowed visiting professorship will be awarded to university faculty, classroom teachers or consultants who may conduct workshops, give lectures or teach classes, said Sam Evans, dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

Hiles said the visiting professorship gives the college more flexibility.

A committee will be organized in the fall to select someone for the professorship, he said. Evans expects it to have education faculty and classroom teachers and faculty.

“It’s the first visiting professorship in teacher education in the college,” Evans said. “When you look at it from that perspective, it does become a recruiting tool for faculty.”

He said students may also be attracted by the professorship.

The endowment will put as much as $25,000 yearly into the visiting professorship, Hiles said.

The fund for the Academic Athletic Performance Center now has a total of $2 million, Hiles said. The cost of the building will be close to $5 million.

“We have some other proposals pending,” he said. “This will definitely be a shot in the arm, giving us momentum.”

The Academic Athletic Performance Center got its first donation on Jan. 16 from another unnamed donor. The building is expected to include the football team offices, a training room and study areas.

Hiles said a feasibility study will be conducted this summer to determine how much the building will cost, among other details.

“The very earliest we could do ground breaking would probably be next spring,” he said.

Reach Joseph Lord at [email protected]