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At a time when private support is more critical than ever, alumni and friends of Eastern Kentucky University are generously giving of their time, talents and treasure.

Donations totaled $3,180,935 the first six months of the current fiscal year, the best July-December numbers since 1998 and third best in the institution’s history. That puts the University ahead of pace to exceed its previous annual total of $4.2 million, the highest mark since 2001, and continue the upward giving trend of the past two years.

“I see a genuine culture of philanthropy growing at EKU,” said Nick Perlick, vice president for development and alumni relations. “We’ve assembled a talented staff campus wide that is facilitating meaningful conversations with donors about the impact they want to make on EKU. As a result, we are seeing people step forward enthusiastically. That generosity isn’t simply adding to fundraising totals. It is making a significant impact on our University.”

Included in the total were gifts to all segments of the University, Perlick noted. They included a twin engine plane donated to EKU’s nationally prominent Aviation Program for extensive use in flight training. Eastern also received a “significant” scholarship gift from the estate of an alumnus, “once again demonstrating the importance and impact of planned giving to our overall program.”

EKU President Michael Benson said the donors, “many of whom have been richly blessed by their own Eastern Experience, are making a profound difference in the lives of our students and in the future of the University. We are most grateful for all forms of support, and will continue to work hard to earn the confidence and trust that have been placed in us.”

Within the annual fund program, Perlick noted a “very positive response to new efforts within the Colonel Club. Several hundred new donors helped boost Athletics giving to all-time highs.”

Helping EKU students succeed remains a top priority among donors.

“Scholarships and other forms of student support are our number one overall fundraising priority, through which we are able to help more deserving students fulfill their dream of earning an EKU degree,” Perlick said.

Noting the recent budget address by Gov. Matt Bevin, Benson said: “It’s apparent public higher education must become even more aggressive in securing private support for our most important responsibility: providing access to education in the form of scholarships for students. We thank our alumni and friends who chose to support our efforts in raising vital scholarship dollars.”

Also, Perlick noted, many donors contributed to specific building and landscaping projects emerging as part of EKU’s campus revitalization initiative. Additional such projects are likely in the coming years, providing more opportunities for donor support and recognition.

To learn more about giving opportunities and options at EKU, visit