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Founders Day 2011 Live April 2011
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President Luckey: Increase Lindsey Wilson Endowment to $100 Million

Posted on Friday, April 29, 2011 [1:01 AM]

COLUMBIA, Ky. -- A year ago, Lindsey Wilson College President William T. Luckey Jr. challenged Founders' Day Dinner attendees to help the college reach its $53 million "Changing Lives Campaign" goal.

At this year's Founders' Day Dinner, Luckey issued another clarion call -- raise the Lindsey Wilson Endowment to $100 million.

Last year "was clearly a defining moment in the life of this college," Luckey told more than 400 people who attended the 2011 Founders' Day Dinner, held on Thursday night in Roberta D. Cranmer Dining & Conference Center.

When Luckey issued his challenge a year ago, the college had to raise $809,676 in 70 days in order to meet the $53 million goal of the "Changing Lives Campaign."

"That was a lot of money to try to bring in in 70 days," Luckey said.

Instead, the college raised almost $3.7 million in 70 days, and the "Changing Lives Campaign" topped out at $56 million.

"You communicated loudly and clearly that your love, your passion, your commitment to this place and its people went far beyond my imagination," said Luckey, who has been the college's eighth president since July 1, 1998.

As Lindsey Wilson trustee Jams R. Fugitte of Elizabethtown, Ky., reminded the audience, the "Changing Lives Campaign" allowed the college to dramatically expand its campus. Now the college must build an endowment of at least $100 million in order to secure its future.

"The college is strong now, it's the envy of many of its peers, but to keep this college strong and growing, we need a stronger endowment," Fugitte said.

The success of the final 70 days of the "Changing Lives Campaign" inspired Luckey and the college's trustees "to keep our collective foot on the accelerator as we dream new dreams for this place."

One of the chief reasons the college needs at least a $100 million endowment is to stem the threats of cuts in federal aid to students, Luckey said. With 72 percent of LWC undergraduate students qualifying for a federal Pell grant -- an aid program reserved for the neediest students -- the college needs to take steps to ensure those students' needs are always met, he said.

Earlier this year, proposed cuts to the Pell program would have cost LWC students about $2 million, Luckey said.

"We can no longer rely on Uncle Sam," he said. "Our federal government is broke and our commonwealth of Kentucky is out of money. … That's why we need to grow our endowment -- to protect our students from future reductions from the federal government."

Luckey said that the decision whether to aggressively fund education at all levels has created a "defining moment" in U.S. public policy.

"I believe our country is at a defining moment in its history, where we can either try to balance our federal budgets on the backs of our students by slashing our support of education on all levels, and essentially eating our seed corn, or we can decide to invest in our future -- in our people in our students -- to compete in a global economy," he said.

The Founders' Day keynote address was given by June Scobee Rodgers, wife of Space Shuttle Challenger commander the late Dick Scobee and founding chair of the Challenger Center for Space Education.

Earlier in the day, the LWC community recognized more than four dozen students and faculty at the Honors Convocation, held in Biggers Sports Center.

Paige Walls of Taylorsville, Ky., received the President's Award for her near-perfect grade point average during four years of studying psychology and giving more than 1,000 hours of community service to the region.

The United Methodist Church Division of Higher Education Exemplary Teacher Award was presented to Associate Professor of Biology Melissa Clauson, and the LWC Student Government Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Michael Giordano.

More ...
Click here to learn how to make a gift to the Lindsey Wilson Endowment.
Click here to see more pictures from Founders' Day and Honors Convocation. 

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