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Noting their excitement about “the energy that exists across campus,” Maribeth and Louis Berman, of Louisville, have pledged $1 million to Eastern Kentucky University to support a combination of academic and student-focused initiatives.

A portion of the Bermans’ gift will go toward a series of projects and initiatives important to them, to be chosen in collaboration with EKU President Michael Benson and other University leaders. Inclusive in their total commitment is a twin-engine plane they recently gifted to the EKU Aviation program, as well as a commitment to support the University annual fund in coming years. The remainder will be deferred as an estate gift.

“Louis and I are excited to be involved with the transformation going on at EKU,” said Maribeth Berman, a 1992 Eastern graduate. “The changes being made to facilities, housing, student union, rec center and academic and athletic facilities will all enhance the student experience at EKU. It is an exciting time to be a Colonel!”

EKU President Michael Benson called the Bermans “wonderful friends and supporters who are deeply involved with EKU in many meaningful ways. We are extremely grateful for their leadership and generosity, which will strengthen our University and help countless students achieve their dreams.”

As vice chair of the EKU Foundation Board, Maribeth Berman is actively involved in promoting philanthropic support of the University. Louis Berman, who serves as southeast regional vice president at Assured Partners NL (formerly Neace Lukens), currently volunteers in EKU’s College of Business and Technology, where he is working closely with Dean Dr. Thomas Erekson on several programs in Risk Management and Insurance. 

Maribeth McBride Berman grew up in Richmond and graduated from Model Laboratory School before attending EKU. After earning a degree in public relations in 1992, she went on to serve in her alma mater’s Division of Human Resources as assistant director.

“I basically grew up on this campus, attending Model from nursery through high school graduation, and then ultimately EKU,” she said. “The University has always been a part of my family’s life. Working with a variety of service-oriented groups during my youth and college experience shaped my strong belief of gratitude, service and philanthropy. There is no greater gift than being able to help provide the gift of education and then to watch the doors that open for a young person through that gift.”

The Bermans are longtime supporters of EKU, in many years directing their giving to Model Laboratory School and the Colonel Club.  In 2011, they established an endowed scholarship for Madison County residents.

“We believe in the power of a college education,” said Maribeth Berman, “and we believe that education isn’t just in the classroom, but also in public lecture series, student organizations, intramural and varsity sports, and other activities that make up a total college experience. It is our hope that portions of our pledge will go toward programs that will ignite a passion in students – a passion they maybe didn’t know they had.”

EKU, in the midst of an ambitious campus revitalization initiative, is coming off its best fund-raising year since 2001 and is already ahead of last year’s pace in private support for the current fiscal year. For more information about giving to EKU, visit