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WKU President Timothy C. Caboni

Dear Colleagues,

During this legislation session, Jennifer Smith, WKU’s Assistant Vice President for Government and External Relations, and I spent a great deal of time in Frankfort engaging in critical discussions with our state’s lawmakers, each aimed at shaping the future of WKU. These conversations, especially those related to WKU’s share of the state budget, underscore the commitment of our legislators to higher education in the Commonwealth, and more specifically, the value they assign to WKU.

Jennifer shared a number of highlights from the budget in her email to campus on March 29. I am pleased that we will receive a 4.5% inflation-adjusted increase to the base appropriation of our budget in the upcoming fiscal year. Furthermore, the performance funding pool will see enhancements in both years of the budget along with a significant allocation of nearly $2.2 million to mitigate the rise in state fire and tornado insurance costs.

WKU also will receive an additional allocation of $28.5 million each year of the biennium through a second installment of asset preservation funding, allowing us to forge ahead with our ambitious campus transformation initiatives. Perhaps most notably, our Hilltop Restoration Project continues to advance as we develop plans to renovate our iconic Cherry Hall. We also received the largest capital project appropriation in WKU’s history, $160 million for the replacement of our Academic Complex. We will enter the planning and design phase of these two milestone projects this summer, with the goal of beginning construction in July of 2025.

We are making strides on our new Gordon Ford College of Business building, a project largely made possible by the Kentucky General Assembly’s approval of $74.4 million in 2022. Located on the footprint of the former Tate Page Hall, this 113,000-square-foot facility is slated to welcome students in fall 2025. This state-of-the-art space will transform the way we teach, enhance support of our Hilltoppers, foster deeper engagement with the regional business community and prepare the next generation of business leaders. I hope you plan to join me on April 18 at 2:00 p.m. for a ceremonial event to mark the placement of the last beam atop this remarkable structure.

In November, we broke ground on the Hilltopper Fieldhouse and Press Box, and work has progressed steadily since then as we target a fall 2024 opening date for the press box and a late 2025 opening for the Fieldhouse. Our Hilltopper Fieldhouse will serve as the home of WKU’s national champion forensics program, our E-Sports teams and the Big Red Marching Band, all while providing a versatile practice and training space for our athletics teams. The press box, located above the Harbaugh Club, rivals those offered at other stadiums and will accommodate comprehensive media coverage of Hilltopper Football games.

As we move through the final month of the spring semester and finalize Commencement plans, we have much to celebrate with our students and as an institution. Thank you for all that you do in support of our Hilltoppers, our mission and our university.

Go Tops!


Timothy C. Caboni

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 Last Modified 4/8/24