Media / News Releases | WKCTC

Media / News Releases

Below are articles written about The WKCTC Guarantee:

Paducah, KY (05/13/2021) — West Kentucky Community and Technical College will contribute more than $18,700 to efforts of the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce as part of its WKCTC Guarantee initiative, officials announced today.

WKCTC President Anton Reece, who also is chair of the chamber's board of directors, said funds are part of the WKCTC Guarantee and would be used to assist with minority memberships, leadership and involvement in chamber activities and initiatives. The WKCTC Guarantee seeks to further the vision of philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, benefactor of a historic $15 million gift to the college, expanding opportunities for those who have traditionally faced barriers to education and workforce training.

Reece said WKCTC's Workforce Solutions will utilize a portion of the gift to sponsor the following:

  • Minority chamber membership - 10 businesses @ $500 per business for a total of $5,000
  • Existing minority business mentor - 10 businesses @ $100 per business for a total of $1,000
  • Leadership Paducah sponsorship - 1 per year up to $1,500 for three years for a total of $4,500
  • Washington DC Fly-In sponsorship - 1 per year up to $2,000 for three years for a total of $6,000
  • Small Business Mastermind Cohort Scholarships - 3 @ $750 for a total $2,250

The support totals $18,750.

Chamber President Sandra Wilson was pleasantly surprised by Thursday's announcement.

"We work very closely with WKCTC now, but this just helps us as a chamber to be able to expand our program in the community with the goal set by this award that the college received," Wilson said after the announcement. "We will be very intentional and focused on making sure that these minority memberships are used and that we recruit someone for Leadership Paducah."

Wilson added she was excited by the Washington D.C. Fly-in sponsorship. "We're thrilled to take someone with us to Washington D.C., perhaps someone who has not been with us before, and who would not have the opportunity to go without this scholarship," she said. "We're working really hard on the small business cohort, and to try to help small business owners maybe take a step away from the business to learn more about growing their business, and this scholarship offered through this will help those business owners."

In December 2020, WKCTC received a $15 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, with a focus on enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the college and in area communities. Through specific initiatives and supports structured as The WKCTC Guarantee: Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the college is working to increase educational opportunities for diverse populations, low-income individuals and others who have faced barriers to education, and to enhance collaborations with community organizations who serve vulnerable populations.

The support to the chamber is part of Sector 4 in the seven-sector framework of the WKCTC Guarantee, which focuses on workforce training and job readiness.

"Trying to prepare unemployed and underemployed individuals in our community for new or better employment through workforce training and participation in business networking and education-focused organizations is vital to our region," Dr. Reece said. "Promoting lifelong learning, skills enhancement, and expanded business relationships, with a focus on serving underrepresented minority populations is not only good for those populations but for our community as a whole."

The college recently awarded $27,500 in direct support to 15 area organizations and provided more than 120 scholarships, or $64,500 worth of scholarships, through its Sector 2 of the WKCTC Guarantee, which focuses on community service organizations.

For more information about the WKCTC Guarantee please visit https://westkentucky.kctcs.edu/about/wkctc-guarantee/

Paducah, KY (05/06/2021) —West Kentucky Community and Technical College announced $27,000 in additional donations and scholarships at a virtual meeting today as part of The West Kentucky Community and Technical College Guarantee. In its second announcement, the college will provide $11,000 in direct support and $16,000 in possible scholarships funded through a recent $15 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

"Today we concluded round 2 of direct support and WKCTC Guarantee scholarships to regional community organizations driving change, which is consistent with MacKenzie Scott's philanthropic vision," said WKCTC President Anton Reece. "I have said on many occasions that the operative word in our name is 'Community' and we are here to serve and meet the education needs and support the non-academic needs, therefore, I would again congratulate these outstanding non-profit organizations for their commitment and service to diverse and lower-socio economic members of our community."

In December 2020, WKCTC received a $15 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, with a focus on enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the college and in area communities. Through specific initiatives and supports structured as The WKCTC Guarantee: Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the college is working to increase educational opportunities for diverse populations, low-income individuals, and others who have faced barriers to education, and to enhance collaborations with community organizations who serve vulnerable populations.

As part of The WKCTC Guarantee initiative, 30 Community Connections Service Awards were given to selected non-profit and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)-focused organizations over the past two weeks, with the last 16 donations announced today.

"We see our values of resilience, empowerment, diversity, equity, and inclusion reflected in this initiative," said Lori Brown, a representative of Lotus Children's Advocacy & Sexual Violence Resource Center. The center received $1,000 in direct support and two possible scholarships valued at a total of $1,000.

"It is the vision of Lotus to create a world free of violence and oppression for all. In working toward that vision, we embrace this new dimension of our partnership with the college as an opportunity to draw change in our community by expanding access to life-changing resources."

Dustin Havens of Heartland Equality said he wanted to thank everyone at WKCTC for the $1,000 in direct support the organization received. "The work we do is so crucial as all here," he said in the chat during the virtual teams meeting Thursday. "We are so honored to be able to use this towards equality and we are so thankful for this partnership."

The Interracial Women's Group also received $1,000 in direct support from the college. "We will use this for our upcoming, 'Calling all Colors' program'," said group member Stephanie Choudhury. "We are so grateful."

In addition to Lotus , Heartland Equality and the Interracial Women's Group, other recipients announced Thursday were Child Watch Counseling & Advocacy Center ($1,000 direct support), Paducah Community Kitchen ($1,000 direct support), Family Service Society ($1,000 direct support), Housing Authority of Hickman ($2,000 in scholarships), Massac County Housing Authority($2,000 in scholarships), Housing Authority of Mayfield ($2,000 in scholarships), Housing Authority of Paducah ($2,000 in scholarships), Hotel Metropolitan ($1,000 in direct support), Marcella's Kitchen ($1,000 in direct support), Martha's Vineyard ($1,000 in direct support), McCracken County Community Career Endowment ($5,000 in scholarships), Paducah Cooperative Ministry ($1,000 in direct support) and W.C. Young Community Center ($1,000 in direct support).

"The work of these organizations is in keeping with MacKenzie Scott's vision of assisting under-represented minorities, low-income individuals, and others facing barriers to education," Dr. Reece said. "The WKCTC Guarantee reflects our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion not only through these direct one-time donations, but also through an allotment of WKCTC Guarantee Scholarships."

Established for diverse and low-income students, the WKCTC Guarantee Scholarship will pay all tuition and mandatory fees remaining after other grants and scholarships are applied or provide funding for additional needs such as books and supplies, up to $500 for each eligible student. Organizations allotted WKCTC Guarantee Scholarships through a Community Connections award will be able to select recipients affiliated with or recommended by their organization to receive a scholarship. More than 120 scholarships have been committed through WKCTC Guarantee Community Connections Awards, ranging from two to 30 per organization, with Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club receiving the largest allotment of 30 last week. Students provided a WKCTC Guarantee Scholarship will be required to be admitted and enroll in classes at WKCTC and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

WKCTC serves about 8,500 students through academic programs and workforce training on an annual basis. 

Paducah, KY (04/29/2021) — United Way of Paducah- McCracken County CEO Betsy Burkeen looked for the best way to describe being one of 14 area organizations who learned at a virtual meeting today they would receive a monetary donation and scholarships as part of The West Kentucky Community and Technical College Guarantee. The first of two planned announcements would provide $16,500 in direct support and $48,500 in possible scholarships funded through a recent $15 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

"It's encouraging to me," Burkeen said Thursday after hearing that her organization would receive a $2,500 donation and six scholarships worth $3,000. "You didn't have to do any of this. You didn't have to gift on, but you looked back to the original donor, Ms. MacKenzie Scott, and said 'how can we honor her gift.'"

Burkeen, a WKCTC graduate, said it was encouraging to her to see the college paying forward on its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. "I find great pride and honor that we have this kind of a college here with this kind of service and leadership that can teach our students in the books but can also teach them through integrity and honor, and through loving one and another as well. That's to me what this gift has done, and so I just thank you," she said.

The Oscar Cross Boys & Girls Club of Paducah will receive a $2,500 donation and 30 scholarships worth $15,000. Edward Smith, the club's unit director, said the college's donation will help the club to recover from issues a result of COVID-19. "It will provide more stability as far as education and support to families in need," Smith said. "It also helps with the kids individually with after-school programs, with more supplies and more activities and to help the club to be able to function as a whole."

In December 2020, WKCTC received a $15 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, with a focus on enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the college and in area communities. Through specific initiatives and supports structured as The WKCTC Guarantee: Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the college is working to increase educational opportunities for diverse populations, low-income individuals, and others who have faced barriers to education, and to enhance collaborations with community organizations who serve vulnerable populations.

As part of The WKCTC Guarantee initiative, nearly 30 Community Connections Service Awards will be presented to selected non-profit and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)-focused organizations in the coming weeks, with the first 14 donations announced today.

"WKCTC recognizes the very important work that the community organizations we are honoring today do every day," said Dr. Anton Reece, WKCTC president. "We developed The WKCTC Guarantee Community Connections Service Award to recognize these organizations and to partner with them in expanding opportunities for education."

In addition to the Oscar Cross Club and United Way of Paducah, other recipients announced Thursday were the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Hispanic Ministries and Outreach, Merryman House Domestic Violence Center, Alexander-Pulaski Branch NAACP, Mayfield Graves County Branch - NAACP, Paducah-McCracken County NAACP, United Way - Mayfield/Graves County, and West Kentucky Alumni Association.

Dr. Reece said each organization recognized Thursday would receive a check as direct support to assist in their work. The donation checks range from $500 to $2,500 per organization. The second group of recipients will be announced during a second presentation online via Microsoft Teams at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 6th.

"The work of these organizations is in keeping with MacKenzie Scott's vision of assisting under-represented minorities, low-income individuals, and others facing barriers to education," Dr. Reece said. "The WKCTC Guarantee reflects our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion not only through these direct one-time donations, but also through an allotment of WKCTC Guarantee Scholarships."

Established for diverse and low-income students, the WKCTC Guarantee Scholarship will pay all tuition and mandatory fees remaining after other grants and scholarships are applied or provide funding for additional needs such as books and supplies, up to $500 for each eligible student. Organizations allotted WKCTC Guarantee Scholarships through a Community Connections award will be able to select recipients affiliated with or recommended by their organization to receive a scholarship. A total of 120 scholarships have been committed through WKCTC Guarantee Community Connections Awards, ranging from two to 30 per organization, with Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club receiving the largest allotment of 30. Students provided a WKCTC Guarantee Scholarship will be required to be admitted and enroll in classes at WKCTC and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

WKCTC serves about 8,500 students and workforce training on an annual basis. For more information about The WKCTC Guarantee, visit the college's website at https://westkentucky.kctcs.edu/about/wkctc-guarantee/index.aspx .

Paducah, KY (02/19/2021) — The Paducah Junior College, Inc., (PJC) Board of Trustees approved a resolution Thursday, Feb. 18 supporting the framework for use of a $15 million gift received in December from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and created a special committee to work with West Kentucky Community and Technical College President Anton Reece and the WKCTC cabinet on reviewing final details of the framework for gift utilization, college officials announced today. PJC, Inc., the foundation for WKCTC, accepts and manages charitable gifts for the college.


In December 2020, WKCTC was among more than 350 colleges, universities, and organizations to receive multi-million dollar grants from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and creating national, state, and local excitement. Ms. Scott utilized a donor-advised fund at the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) to disburse the grant funding.


"In providing unprecedented support to WKCTC, Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott extended a tremendous vote of confidence to the college and community, with benefits that will have an extensive impact in education, economics, and social equity. As with every charitable contribution received, we are working to ensure donor intent is fully realized through the utilization of this gift," said Lee Emmons, vice president of WKCTC's Institutional Advancement and executive director of PJC Foundation.
"Ms. Scott's focus on providing support to under-served populations and those who work to achieve equity is a perfect match for the work we do at WKCTC and will be furthered through her generosity. Through the careful lens of donor intent, the WKCTC mission, and the WKCTC strategic plan, the Seven Sectors framework was created to provide unprecedented support for education access, community outreach, and student success. We are truly delighted to have the opportunity to help bring Ms. Scott's intent to fruition at WKCTC."


In announcing the largest gift from a single donor in the college's history, Dr. Reece presented a seven-sector conceptual framework at a press conference in December, which resulted in national coverage and interviews with national publications like the Chronicle of Higher Education, Community College Daily, and national coverage in the New York Times and Washington Postamong others. The official name for the seven-sector framework for utilizing the Scott/NPT grant is "The WKCTC Guarantee: Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion."


Dr. Reece said he has also been engaged in discussing best practices of ways in which other colleges are using their funds to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) with 57 presidents nationally and with 20 other colleges receiving funds from the same philanthropic grant. At the state level, Dr. Reece was invited by interim Kentucky Community and Technical College President, Dr. Paul Czarapata, to present the seven-sector framework to the Council of Post-Secondary Education (CPE). Internally, Dr. Reece has divided up the seven sectors and empowered his cabinet for input and guidance and externally he has reached out to community partners involved in DEI serving organizations.


The conceptual seven-sector framework took a key step forward as Dr. Reece and Vice President Emmons presented an update to the PJC Foundation board. (See attachment) On Feb. 18, the PJC board approved a resolution supporting the "WKCTC Guarantee" framework and creating a Mackenzie Scott Grant committee to work with Dr. Reece, Emmons, and the WKCTC cabinet on reviewing final details of the framework and organizations being served.
Anne Gwinn, chair of PJC, Inc. Board of Trustees, praised the work done by Dr. Reece and WKCTC employees. "This award would not have been possible except for the concerted effort by faculty and staff over the last fifteen years to prioritize successful student outcomes, quantify and objectively measure those outcomes, and continually seek incremental improvements to those outcomes. It is in the classroom, on a teacher-by-teacher, student-by-student basis where lives are changed and student success is ultimately achieved," Gwinn said.


Dr. Reece said he appreciated the community's excitement and patience "regarding this unique opportunity for a generational game-changer of access to education and workforce training, student success and completion for diverse, lower-socioeconomic and rural populations," he said, adding. "I am equally excited with the feedback we are receiving from community partners in ongoing meetings and discussions about the Seven-Sector Framework, including higher education, K-12, and DEI serving community organizations."

 Paducah, KY (12/22/2020) — In a special meeting Monday, December 21th, West Kentucky Community and Technical College President Anton Reece outlined a tentative framework for how the college could use a recent $15 million gift.


The historic gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott was donated last week to Paducah Junior College, Inc., which is the foundation for WKCTC. The donation is the largest gift from a single donor in the college's history.


"I am recommending the following concept to the PJC Foundation Board, who will be managing the funds gifted by MacKenzie Scott, and to the WKCTC Board," Dr. Reece told members of WKCTC's Board of Directors and the PJC, Inc. Board of Trustees during a virtual meeting Monday afternoon. "The following concept is my vision of how the college can best align and meet MacKenzie Scott's vision of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), which aligns with my 30 years of work in diversity, and it includes underserved, historically diverse underrepresented populations, including African- Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians and lower socio-economic groups, including Caucasians in rural areas of our region."


Dr. Reece said he had received a lot of questions about how the college would spend the gift and felt it was important to start the process by developing a conceptual framework as soon as possible.


"I believe the donor's intent and vision is best utilized and maximized in seven key sectors for short term and long- term impact," he said, adding that examples given in his framework were not "all-inclusive," because he plans to get input from his cabinet, the boards and the college's faculty, staff and students over the next few months.


Lee Emmons, WKCTC's vice president of advancement and PJC, Inc., executive director, described how Dr. Reece learned of the gift and the steps that were taken to secure the donation. "We did not apply. The donor sought us out for specific reason," she said, "including Dr. Reece's leadership and work with under-represented populations."
The conceptual framework Dr. Reece called "WKCTC's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Guarante," consists of seven key sectors for short-term and long-term impact of the gift and will best utilize the donor's intent and vision for the funds.


The framework calls for the majority of funds - 81% or $12.2 million - to be endowed or invested to gain interest while keeping the principal intact to provide long-term, systemic impact. A smaller portion of the funds - 19% or $2.75 million - would be used in the short-term to have significant, immediate impact, Dr. Reece said.


The seven sectors described by Dr. Reece were:

  • Sector 1 - Education which would include partnerships and support for WKCTC's DEI Guarantee to offer scholarships and education enhancement initiatives, to address access, affordability and academic barriers to student success. It would include both secondary and post-secondary partnership such as working with Murray State University's Paducah Campus, University of Kentucky College of Engineering, Paducah and Meharry and Fisk University.
  • Sector 2 - Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Lower-socioeconomic Serving Organizationswhich would include immediate support for community partnerships with focus on organizations, like United Way and the Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club, serving DEI populations and facing barriers to education and careers.

  • Sector 3 - Rural Access (Hickman, Fulton, Fulton City, Carlisle, Ballard) which would focus on access and technology for lower socioeconomic populations and possibly address transportation challengers in rural parts of the region.

  • Sector 4- Workforce training /Diverse and Small Business/Job readiness which could provide immediate support for businesses and employees, unemployed and underemployed through partnerships with area chambers of commerce and regional workforce partners.

  • Sector 5- Student Success Academic Support Center which could incorporate a broader vision and comprehensive array of resources to launch a Student Success Academic Support Center, including additional diverse success Coaches who can model success for these students.

  • Sector 6 - Student non-academic needs which would provide support for non-academic barriers faced by students

  • Sector 7 - WKCTC Enrollment/Employee Morale which would include a one-time stipend/bonuses to full-time and part-time faculty and full-time staff, pending followup and clarification with the donor's representative and PJC legal counsel.

Dr. Reece said the unveiling of WKCTC's DEI Guarantee will begin in January 2021 and continue through May. He expects to have bi-weekly announcements about DEI organizations that will be receiving funds.
Emmons said Dr. Reece's history work in diversity, equity and inclusion as well as his understanding of the needs of our region assisted in the development of the framework. "In part what makes this so exciting ... is that within the general parameters and focus of donor intent, the gift is unrestricted. That's almost unheard of with very large gifts," Emmons said. "That really has allowed Dr. Reece the flexibility to put that experience to work because very seldom do you get an unrestricted gift for whatever you decide best meets the purposes."


Dr. Reece said he wants to dispel the idea that WKCTC is just a small college floundering somewhere in western Kentucky. "There are a lot of incredible things that we do already at WKCTC, individually and collectively. But there are associated challenges even with the great things that we have been able to accomplish," Dr. Reece said.

"WKCTC is a great institution and we've always known there was so much more we could do if we could expand what we do now. This gift is almost like a piece to the puzzle. We have all the raw material, if you will potential-wise, to really make WKCTC even more transformative for the entire region. Having resources to put behind it with that intentionality is a real unique situation we're excited to be in."
 

Paducah, KY (12/16/2020) — West Kentucky Community and Technical College proudly announced Tuesday, December 15, 2020 a $15 million gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott - the largest gift from a single donor in the college's history. In announcing the donation, Scott gave accolades for the college's work on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and initiatives to further opportunities for low-income and disenfranchised students under the leadership of Dr. Anton Reece, WKCTC president since October 2016.

"On behalf of the WKCTC family, internal and external stakeholders, and colleagues across the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, I am honored and deeply humbled by the recognition and unmatched magnitude of this historic announcement," Dr. Reece said at a press conference at the college's Student Center today. "MacKenzie Scott exemplifies the incredible and transformative power of philanthropy and long-standing commitment to equity and social justice by providing resources to meet the complex needs of diverse, first generation, lower socioeconomic and historically marginalized populations. I consider myself extremely fortunate to serve and lead WKCTC as the 'face and voice' of the five-time, top ten college in the nation right here in western Kentucky, but to be unequivocally clear, this recognition must be shared by an incredible and dedicated faculty and staff who work tirelessly to support the regional vision and commitment to meet and exceed in our student success efforts."

The gift has been donated to Paducah Junior College, Inc., which is the foundation for WKCTC.

"This historic gift to the college will have a lasting impact going forward and is a testament to the long history of success at West Kentucky Community Technical College and its predecessor institutions," said PJC Board of Trustees Chair Anne Gwinn. "Paducah Junior College, the foundation for WKCTC, is very happy to accept and manage this gift on behalf of the college. To say it will be put to good use is an understatement."

WKCTC Board of Director Chair Charles Murphy said it was a blessing to receive such a generous gift. "This will allow WKCTC to move to the next level of education and meet the needs of diverse and low-income students throughout the Four Rivers and surrounding region" Murphy said. "I would also like to thank Dr. Reece, the faculty and staff for all their hard work and dedication to the college."

Dr. Reece's commitment to the students of Kentucky is evident through the work he does each day, said Walter G. Bumphus, Ph.D., President and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). "His active participation in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, including AACC's Unfinished Business initiative, has been a hallmark of his leadership. The recognition of this work and the advancement of his efforts to increase student attainment are the reasons that West Kentucky Community and Technical College have been recognized by MacKenzie Scott with her generous support. Community colleges like West Kentucky Community and Technical College serve as an on-ramp to the middle class for many Americans, including those impacted by the economic effects of the pandemic. Congratulations to Dr. Reece for this recognition and his dedication to the students served by West Kentucky Community and Technical College."

In 2019, Scott pledged to give half of her wealth to charity. In July 2020, the philanthropist wrote in the post, "116 Organizations Driving Change" about her first group of recipients of significant gifts, with the selected organizations "having major impact" in the areas of race equity, LGBTQ+ equity, economic mobility, empathy and bridging divides, functional democracy, public health, global development, or climate change.

Ninety-one (91%) percent of the racial equity organizations who received Scott's first gifts in July are run by leaders of color, 100% of the LGBTQ+ equity organizations are run by LGBTQ+ leaders, and 83% of the gender equity organizations are run by women, "bringing lived experience to solutions for imbalanced social systems," Scott wrote in July.

"Driven by a deep belief in the value different backgrounds bring to problem-solving on any issue, we selected for diversity in leadership across all categories of giving, supporting vital variety of perspective and experience in solutions on every cause. All of these leaders and organizations have a track record of effective management and significant impact in their fields. I gave each a contribution and encouraged them to spend it on whatever they believe best serves their efforts."

After her initial gifts, Scott asked a team of advisors to help her accelerate her 2020 giving through immediate support to people suffering the economic effects of the pandemic crisis, racial tensions and other inequities.

Today, Scott provided more information about her efforts in an article titled, "384 Ways to Help," published on the web site, "Medium.com." They identified organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.

"We looked at 6,490 organizations, and undertook deeper research into 822," she wrote. "We do this research and deeper diligence not only to identify organizations with high potential for impact, but also to pave the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached. Because our research is data-driven and rigorous, our giving process can be human and soft."

Reece said this gift could not have come at a better time. "The timing of this gift cannot be understated with the dual backdrop of a once in a century pandemic of COVID-19 and racial and social justice issues of 2020," he said. "This historic gift is generationally transformative both in size and generational investment in education and workforce possibilities for current and future traditional and adult students."

WKCTC is one of 12 community and technical colleges in the nation to make the list of previous or current recipient organizations.

"I am absolutely thrilled to hear this news," said Dr. Paul Czarapata, interim president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. "West Kentucky Community and Technical College has always had an unwavering focus on the success of their students, and this is a testament of their commitment to excellence. This historic gift in a very turbulent time is such a blessing for a wonderful college!"

The gift is unrestricted, but Reece said the donor's intent was made clear in the gift notification and recognition of initiatives he has led previously and will be carefully followed.

"In the following weeks, I will be revealing how the award will be endowed and used to launch the 'WKCTC guarantee' of high-profile partnerships for education and non-profit organizations supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion and rural, first-generation and lower socioeconomic adult and traditional students' pathways to completing education and workforce training. In addition, a top priority navigating through and beyond COVID-19 is increasing jobs, workforce readiness and training, upgrading skills through intentional collaboration with WKCTC Workforce Solutions, the Paducah Chamber and regional economic development partners to expand and support the success of small and diverse businesses," Reece explained.

The historic gift is one of the largest single donor gifts in national community and technical college history, and according to WKCTC Vice President of Advancement and Executive Director of the Paducah Junior College Foundation, Lee Emmons, it surpasses by several million dollars the previous largest gift to the college.

----West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) has been recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 10 Community College five times by the Aspen Institute and has twice been named a Finalist With Distinction for providing students with strong job training and continuing higher education opportunity, for achieving high completion and transfer rates, and for providing strong employment results for its graduates. For more information visit, westkentucky.kctcs.eduWKCTC's history dates back to 1909 when one parent institution, West Kentucky Technical College, was established as a teacher training college for African-Americans. Its other parent institution, Paducah Community College, was originally called Paducah Junior College when it was formed in 1932. The two colleges were consolidated in 2003 to form West Kentucky Community and Technical College.