Jim Scott of Bowling Green has chosen to give back to the area that has brought him professional Jim Scott success. Scott, chairman of the board of Scotty's Contracting & Stone, LLC, has made a $1 million leadership commitment to Western Kentucky University's engineering program.
According to Tom Hiles, WKU's vice president for Development and Alumni Relations, Scott's gift will create the Scott Center for Construction and Engineering, which will include the establishment of the James D. Scott Endowed Chair in Engineering. With a $1 million match through the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Regional University Excellence Trust Fund, this gift will create the first fully endowed chair at Western.
Hiles said this is Western's 16th million-dollar gift and 16th endowed faculty position created since the advent of the Investing in the Spirit Campaign. Additionally, this brings Western's total raised in campaign gifts and pledges to $49.3 million, which represents 63 percent of the $78 million campaign goal. The campaign will run through June 30, 2003.
Don Vitale, co-chair of WKU's campaign, said Scott's major gift to Western's engineering program will help attract new, high-tech industry to our region.
"Scotty is a major asset to our area," he said. "He represents an outstanding example of both business and community leadership."
According to John Russell, head of WKU's Department of Engineering, the Scott Center will bridge the gap between academia and industry.
"Over the past year, with pilot funding from Mr. Scott, virtually every Civil Engineering Technology student has been impacted by the center's activities," Dr. Russell said. "These activities include field trips to construction sites, utilizing real projects as laboratory assignments, and case history presentations to the classroom. In addition, many students have performed hands-on engineering tasks, including helping area industries address problems, perform investigations, and conduct quality control measures," he said.
"The Scott Center provides a powerful teaching and learning tool that is not available at other universities," Dr. Russell said, adding that the Scott Chair will continue to find valuable educational opportunities within the community to practice engineering and to provide students with hands-on educational opportunities.
Scott says he made this gift to give back to the community and the industry that has brought him professional success.
"I see the creation of the center and chair as an investment in the future of engineering in this region," he said. "I've been fortunate to be successful in my business, and this is my opportunity to provide an important gift to Western."
Dr. Ransdell said Western is honored to have the Scott name associated with its Department of Engineering. "His leadership gift will mean a great deal to economic development in our community," he said.
Additionally, Dr. Ransdell said it is significant that this gift marks the first fully endowed chair in Western's 94-year history. A $2 million endowed chair will provide complete annual funding for a new faculty position (about $100,000 annually) as opposed to supplemental support for an existing position (about $50,000 annually) which is available through a $1 million professorship.