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A $50,000 pledge from Troy and Michelle Ellis “will be a game-changer for the diverse students” at Eastern Kentucky University.

That’s the prediction of Dr. Laurie Carter, executive vice president and University counsel at the University.

The Ellis gift to the newly established EKU Diversity Non-Endowed Fund is the largest gift Eastern has ever received for diversity and minority initiatives, according to Nick Perlick, vice president for development and alumni relations at Eastern.

“Being able to provide additional support for this population will go a long way toward student success,” Carter said.

Troy Ellis, who grew up “poor, but not deprived” in a single-parent home in Louisville, went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from EKU in 1987. Today, he serves as executive vice president for supply chain with Domino’s. Reporting to Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle, Ellis oversees 26 supply chain centers in the U.S. and Canada, and is responsible for supplier management, including procurement, quality assurance and compliance functions within the company.

“All those who have seen any measure of success have a responsibility to pull others with them,” he told EKU Magazine in 2016, the same year he joined the EKU Foundation Board. “I truly believe the more you give the more you will receive.”

The EKU Diversity Non-Endowed Fund supports the University’s efforts to foster a diverse campus and support and enable the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of EKU’s diverse student populations. Uses may include, but are not limited to, recruitment initiatives, scholarships, student travel opportunities for academic or cultural enrichment, life skills coaching, mentoring and advising. Examples include the Bridge Program, Freshman Academy, First Colonel Program, GLIMPSE conference, multi-cultural fairs, guest speakers and the Student Success Center.

An Army veteran, Ellis worked for Kimberly Clark Corp, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola before joining Domino’s.

To make a gift in support of the Diversity Fund, visit