The brand new 378,00 square-foot University of Kentucky Student Center facility has officially opened its doors with a special ceremony honoring Carol Martin “Bill” Gatton ’54 BE, who made a generous donation toward the construction of the building. The UK Board of Trustees is expected to vote to name the new student center in Mr. Gatton’s honor. The naming of the Bill Gatton Student Center, if approved by the board, is, in part, a response to the $20 million gift Gatton made toward the construction of the facility in 2014 by Mr. Gatton.
This was just the latest gift in Mr. Gatton’s decades of support to the University of Kentucky. In 1995, his $14 million contribution laid the foundation for the construction of the Gatton College of Business and Economics. Years later, the building was renovated and expanded further, funded through $65 million in private gifts — the first academic building in the state to be completely supported by philanthropy.
Mr. Gatton, who made his fortune in businesses as diverse as real estate, banking, auto sales and investing, is the university’s largest philanthropic supporter, giving nearly $60 million to UK. And his philanthropy extends far beyond UK, to causes such as the YMCA of Central Kentucky to the needs of teachers in East Tennessee, where he currently lives.
“The University of Kentucky is extremely important to the Commonwealth’s future,” Gatton said. “There is no other institution or entity better equipped to address the state’s needs, and provide transformational education, leadership and service. UK is the bright hope of Kentucky.”