Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green has announced a $10 million gift from the estate of longtime supporter Jerry E. Baker to endow a student scholarship fund.
Awarded through the Jerry E. Baker Foundation, the gift will support the Jerry E. Baker Student Scholarship Fund, which initially was created through a direct bequest from Baker and provides support to students pursuing a major or minor in music, dance, theater, art, or horticulture. The university expects to receive $450,000 from the foundation in the first year of the agreement and, combined with Baker's previous support, anticipates awarding approximately $500,000 in scholarships annually through the fund.
Announced in 2006, Baker's estate plans offered the university the choice of management of Baker's residence, the Baker Arboretum, and Downing Museum, or a $10 million endowment gift for student scholarships. After a series of conversations, university officials and the foundation elected for WKU to accept the endowment gift and for management of the properties to remain with the foundation.
"Mr. Baker's clear and powerful vision paves the way for future scholars. WKU commits to continuing his legacy of supporting student scholarships," said WKU president Timothy C. Caboni. "This enhancement of the Jerry E. Baker Scholarship Fund is part of the original gift announced in 2006. Upon the realization of his estate, the scholarship funds will soon be available to generously support our students. His philanthropic spirit endures at WKU and stands as an example to others."