Gatton fundraising reaches $34 million

By Nini Edwards| @KyKernel

UK’s Gatton College of Business and Economics celebrated Friday the passing of the halfway point in its goal of raising $65 million in fundraising.

UK President Eli Capilouto and Gatton Dean David W. Blackwell revealed that $34 million in private funds have been donated for renovations to the college, set to begin in fall 2013 and anticipated to finish by fall 2015.

“This morning we are announcing another milestone in our campaign to restore and rebuild our campus infrastructure. A landmark that represents the steadfast commitment of our donors and support, friends and alumni of the university,” Capilouto said.

The expansion and renovation is focused on benefits for both undergraduate and graduate students, by including laboratories and high-tech enhancements in classrooms.

Construction will take place in the college’s courtyard and the foyer facing Limestone.

Renovations will include adding a four-story “living room” area with couches and glass walls, Blackwell said.

After an additional 64,000 square feet is added to the original structure, the building will total 210,000 square feet.

“The investment here will be truly a transformation,” Blackwell said. “Not only will it transform our physical infrastructure, but it will enable a revolution in how we teach, conduct research and serve our community.

“We believe that this facility will help us achieve more national recognition and visibility and it is going to help us toward our goal to be recognized as a top 30 public university business school.”

Donors to the college were recognized, as some came to the celebration to show their support. C.M. “Bill” Gatton, Don and Cathy Jacobs, Howard Lewis and Bill Seale contributed a total of $23 million.

Since House Bill 7 was approved by the Kentucky General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Steve Beshear, it is confirmed that university fundraising will pay for the project, rather than state dollars.

Renovations to Commonwealth Stadium and construction of an academic science building were also included in the plans approved by House Bill 7.

“Among the three facilities authorized in House Bill 7, the Gatton College is the only one we target for complete financing through private philanthropy,” Capilouto said.

According to the college, building criteria is as follows:

—Creates a 500-seat auditorium.
—Creates state-of-the-art high-tech classrooms with at least 20 instructional spaces and larger seat counts.
—Creates a Executive Education and Conference Center to facilitate outreach and continuing education to the business, government and nonprofit communities.
—Dedicated Master of Business Administration center accommodates enrollment growth and a proposed joint Executive MBA with the University of Louisville.