Providing a state-of-the-art location to hone skills learned in the classroom, the EKU Berman Center for Professional Sales was dedicated during a ceremony at EKU’s College of Business on September 23, 2021.
Funding for the space comes from a generous $1.35 million gift from Maribeth and Louis Berman of Louisville. The gift contains $250,000 in operational dollars and $100,000 in scholarships.
“We are thankful to the Bermans for their continued commitment to supporting the future of our students. It is a privilege for the institution to now have a space on campus dedicated in their name.” said Dr. David T. McFaddin, EKU President. “The Berman Center for Professional Sales will provide students opportunities they otherwise would not have been able to experience.”
Graduating from EKU in 1992, Maribeth has remained engaged as an active alumna, frequent, generous donor and has served in multiple alumni leadership functions. She serves as the chair of the Make No Little Plans Campaign and recently served as the chair of the EKU Foundation Board. Louis currently serves as an advisor to the Sales Center team and as a member of the Risk Management and Insurance Advisory Board.
“The Center allows the Bermans to pair their two passions, philanthropy and higher education. They are dedicated to helping young people obtain a college education, and to prepare themselves for a career in professional sales,” said Berman Center Executive Director Dr. Lee Allison.
“What an honor to have the opportunity to change the trajectory of hundreds — if not thousands — of students to pursue their career with knowledge or a degree in sales,” Louis Berman said. “In 10 or 20 years, it will be fun to see what occurs as the program's student output creates significant successful entrepreneurial leaders all across the region.”
Established in 2016, the Berman Center has been listed in the Sales Education Foundation’s List of Top Sales Schools every year since its inception. Additionally, the Center is a member of the University Sales Center Alliance, a group dedicated to advance the selling profession through establishing sales program standards.
The Berman Center contains more than 3,000 square feet of laboratory and meeting space, with three sales labs allowing students to practice sales techniques through role play scenarios and case studies. Equipment in each lab records the role play interactions so professors can review the footage and provide coaching and guidance to students. Specialized sales coaching software also assists students in improving their skills.
The Center has been instrumental in helping EKU students develop into highly successful sales professionals who currently provide the sales talent for many organizations, including Cintas, Kroger, Fastenal, and Assured Partners, Lee said.
For many students, the Berman Center serves as an academic lifeline. “For the first time, I don’t feel alone,” said Alex Sparks, a senior marketing and sales student from Frankfort. “For the first time, I feel like I can be successful despite my tribulations. I now feel equally supported by the College of Business. I now have a purpose and realize I’m capable of achieving much more than I ever gave myself credit for.”
A plaque unveiled at the dedication ceremony highlights the Bermans’ dedication to students like Sparks. The plaque reads, in part, “ It is their commitment to philanthropy of higher education that has created a life changing experience for students. They have set a philanthropic example of excellence to be followed, and the impact of their contributions will be felt for generations to come.”
During the dedication, Maribeth challenged the audience to consider their own contributions.
“A philanthropist is a person who donates time, money, experience, skills or talent to help create a better world,” she said. “Anyone can be a philanthropist, regardless of status or net worth. I leave you with this call to action, no matter how you give back, whether through time, talent or treasure, give of yourself for the betterment of others. It has truly blessed us to give, and I know it will bless you as well. Through our philanthropy, we can better the lives of those around us.”
If you are interested in joining the Bermans in making a gift to support students in the Professional Sales Program, visit go.eku.edu/give-McBrideBerman.