Wednesday was National Philanthropy Day and Western Kentucky University celebrated in a big way. The school announced a $1.3 million gift from George and Cynthia Nichols to support the school’s diversity initiatives.
Cynthia Nichols said she and her husband were both first-generation college students.
"I had no clue what I wanted to get involved with, and really didn't know how I could afford it. I credit Western Kentucky University and this entire community that wrapped their arms around us and took us forward, stated Nichols. "What's also important about going to college is sustainability. Once you get them here, how to you engage them to keep them here?"
The endowment will help fund programs through the Intercultural Student Engagement Center, which provides a number of support services for underrepresented students. The Nichols graduated from WKU in the 1980s. George serves as a senior vice president for New York Life Insurance Company. He was appointed to the WKU Board of Regents this year by Governor Matt Bevin.
In related news, WKU has named Laura Turner Dugas as its Philanthropist of the Year. She has led the Laura Goad Turner Foundation since it began in 1989. The Foundation has invested more than $2 million into scholarship support at WKU.