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Eastern Kentucky University is headed back to Frankfort for the third annual Colonels at the Capitol event on Wednesday, Feb. 17, to engage with policy makers who shape the future of the Commonwealth.

This year, the University has invited many more members of the EKU family, along with a strong contingency of business and community leaders from Madison County, to attend the event and engage in the advocacy process.

“By pairing the passion of our EKU team with the support of our local community, we will have the perfect opportunity to share our story with our state legislators,” said EKU President Michael Benson. “This is another opportunity for Madison County and Eastern to continue in our efforts of being partners for progress.”

During the event, campus and community leaders will have the opportunity to share the many successes Eastern has experienced over the past year. Some of those “points of pride” include a near-record enrollment, improvements in retention and graduation rates, the best-prepared freshman class in University history, and a number of nationally ranked programs.   

The University’s long-term strategic plan will also be discussed. With this plan comes the request for financial support to the University’s top three project priorities for the upcoming year.

“Our priorities include the monetary support of student-centric facilities, an aviation instruction facility, and a new Model Laboratory School and College of Education complex,” said David McFaddin, vice president of government relations, engagement and regional stewardship.

In light of the proposed 4.5 percent budget cut to higher education for the remainder of the current fiscal year, EKU’s most significant request, he added, will be for a full restoration of funding and the approval of key projects.

In a recent announcement to campus regarding the proposed cuts, Benson wrote: “What the Governor presented will certainly pose challenges to us, both in the short and long term.

Rest assured that we will survive this recent challenge and emerge more united in our fundamental commitment to providing the very best educational experience to anyone who may want to access it.”

The University also hopes to use the event to learn about other issues and opportunities facing the state during this budget cycle.

“This will be a wonderful opportunity for the campus and community to understand the full scope of what policymakers face,” said McFaddin. “We also hope those in attendance will leave with greater understanding of what part they can play in the success of our community and state. We are hopeful that by partnering in our efforts to advocate for higher education and Madison County, we can secure proper state support for the betterment of the Commonwealth.”

Richmond Chamber of Commerce members interested in attending the event are encouraged to register online at

To welcome alumni in the area and provide them an opportunity to meet campus, community and state leaders, the Richmond Chamber of Commerce and the EKU Office of Development and Alumni Relations will host a reception following the event. To register to attend the reception, visit