Bill Gatton Foundation donates $100 million to UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment


Courtney Suber, Reporter

The UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE) was gifted $100 million on behalf of the Bill Gatton Foundation on May 25. 

The donation was made on what would have been Carol Martin “Bill” Gatton’s 91st birthday, UK president Eli Capilouto said in an email.

“Bill Gatton gave back to UK because he believed deeply in this place and its transformative power through education to change lives and communities,” Capilouto said. 

The donation is the largest in UK history and puts Gatton’s total donations made to the university at $180 million.

Capilouto believes that the donation is the largest made to a college of agriculture in the history of the U.S., according to the email.

Gatton’s past donations to the university went towards building the Gatton College of Business and Economics and the Gatton Student Center. 

“The impact of his generous spirit spans our campus — both in the buildings that bear his name and in the lives of the many students who benefit from scholarships he funded,” Capilouto said. 

Gatton believed in “building bridges” between generations, encouraging him to make several gifts to UK.

“With Mr. Gatton’s legacy of giving and love for our community and state as our inspiration, I know we will be committed to making the most of it,” Capilouto said.

In recognition of the donation, Capilouto recommended the renaming of CAFE to Edith Martin and Harry W. Gatton Sr. College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.