One Day for UK Challenge Sparked Between College of Engineering, Gatton College of Business and Economics

The University of Kentucky College of Engineering and Gatton College of Business and Economics enjoy a partnership that benefits both colleges - and that sometimes results in a little friendly competition.  

In an effort to surpass their previous fundraising efforts during One Day for UK, Simon Sheather, Dean of the Gatton College of Business & Economics, and Rudy Buchheit, the Dr. Rebecca Burchett Liebert Dean of the College of Engineering, have initiated a challenge to one another: Each will attempt to raise the highest number in two categories: the highest total in dollars raised and highest number of donors”. The winner of both challenges will be announced on May 7.

The competitive spirit was sparked after Sheather reminded Buchheit that the Gatton College raised more than the College of Engineering during the first One Day for UK fundraiser in 2019.  “It was brilliant. Our alumni really stepped up,” said Sheather. Buchheit then reminded him that the college of Engineering “smoked The Gatton College by a wide margin in September 2020, raising nearly $2 million.”

With One Day for UK coming up April 21, the two deans are hoping their respective colleges will rise to the challenge. 

“The back-and-forth bantering has been a lot of fun,” said Buchheit. “But at the heart of our spirited competition is a mutual desire to raise money for scholarships and other programs that enhance our students’ success. We see this wager as an entertaining way to undergird the serious work of supporting tomorrow’s engineers and business leaders.”

The College of Engineering has initiated four giving challenges that unlock funds when donations pass certain giving thresholds: 

  • Alumnus David Ratterman (BSME 1968) will donate $5,000 toward scholarships at 100 gifts.
  • Kenneth Wheeler will donate $35,000 toward scholarships for the UK College of Engineering Extended Campus at Paducah (UK Paducah) at 250 gifts.
  • Zudy Software will donate $50,000 toward scholarships at 400 gifts.
  • Alumnus Richard Simpson (BSME 1984) will also give $50,000 toward scholarships at 600 gifts.

The Gatton College’s supporters have created the following targets for alumni: 

  • An anonymous alumnus will give $70,000 in matching dollars regardless of designation within the Gatton College.
  • Three alumni will unite to pledge $50,500 in matching dollars toward the college’s newly-created Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion scholarship.
  • The Gatton College Emerging Leaders Board will provide $20,000 in matching funds to double the impact of gifts made to the Gatton College Annual Fund.
  • Dean Sheather will give $1,000 to kickstart One Day for UK. When The Gatton College secures 250 donors, he will increase his gift to $2,500 toward the college’s DEI scholarship fund. 

Last spring, both colleges launched intense, short-term campaigns to raise money for scholarships geared toward incoming students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. On One Day for UK, the two deans will watch the scoreboard, make numerous calls, and perhaps send the occasional jibe—all in good fun, and all for a very worthy cause.

“We know our alumni and friends will step in to settle this debate and help support our business students,” said Sheather. “Each gift will go directly to scholarships that make a difference in the lives of our amazing students.”

Echoing the sentiment, Buchheit said, “I’m confident our alumni will rise to the challenge. Whatever the outcome, our students will come out winners.”