March 1, 2013
Contact: Michele Sparks, Director of Communications (859) 257-0040
For Immediate Release

Gatton College Reaches Fundraising Milestone

The University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics today celebrated the milestone of surpassing the halfway point in its fundraising efforts for the expansion and renovation of its facilities. Joined by UK President Eli Capilouto, Gatton College Dean David W. Blackwell announced that nearly $34 million in private funds has been donated or pledged toward the $65 million project.

In particular, Blackwell cited the large gifts of C.M. "Bill" Gatton, Don and Cathy Jacobs, Howard Lewis, and Bill Seale. Together, these four donors have contributed approximately $23 million to this ambitious undertaking.

The dean thanked the nearly 300 individuals, foundations, and corporations for their generosity in supporting the project, which will nearly double the space available for students, faculty, and staff while also enabling the college to offer state-of-the-art technology throughout the building.

"This is a momentous day for the Gatton College," Blackwell said. "The outpouring of support from our alumni, other friends of the college, and the business community continues to be nothing short of sensational. And we are confident that the commitments made by these four lead donors will inspire others to step forward to help us."

Capilouto also expressed his gratitude to the college's benefactors while lauding the exceptional work of Blackwell since he assumed the deanship of the college exactly one year ago on March 1, 2012. "Since Dean Blackwell began his tenure 12 months ago, we have raised nearly $17 million in additional support for this project," Capilouto said. "This is an extraordinary achievement."

UK Vice President for Development Mike Richey put the significance of today in historical terms. “It is remarkable for this many lead donors to come together to help fund a major campus facility with this level of private philanthropy,” he said. “This is one of the few times we have reached out to our alumni and friends to accomplish something this significant for the university and the Commonwealth. And going forward, we will need the support of all Gatton College alumni to finish this major project with private funding.”

The expansion and renovation plans call for a dramatic increase in space for educational offerings, as well as high-tech enhancements to classrooms and laboratories for students on both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The Gatton College is expected to grow substantially in the number of students entering its programs in future years, as well as in the quality of the academic profile of those students.

This project is part of UK's overall capital improvement plan (House Bill 7) recently approved by the Kentucky General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Steve Beshear. No state tax dollars will be used in any of the UK construction projects, which include the Gatton College, a new science building on campus, and improvements to Commonwealth Stadium and UK's football facilities.

The design phase of the Gatton expansion and renovation project is underway with construction expected to begin later this year. The timetable calls for completion of the project by the fall of 2015 or early in 2016.