College of Education and Behavioral Sciences News
College Heights Foundation celebrates Centennial
- College Heights Foundation at Western Kentucky University
- Monday, July 17th, 2023
Bowling Green, Ky. — On July 17 the College Heights Foundation at Western Kentucky University hosted a Centennial Celebration in recognition of its 100th anniversary. CHF was originally organized and incorporated in the Commonwealth of Kentucky on July 17, 1923.
From its humble beginnings in 1923 when a faculty member gave $100 to provide a helping hand to needy and deserving students in their pursuit of a college education, the College Heights Foundation has grown to nearly $250 million in assets. CHF has supported WKU in a variety of ways since its inception and remains steadfast today to its original purpose of providing students with access and opportunity to secure an education. The Foundation serves as the “Guardian of Trusts” to more than 1,800 unique endowed funds and hundreds of non-endowed funds that provide private support to WKU on an annual basis.
“The purpose and mission of the College Heights Foundation is to look with penetrating eyes into the future and to interpret it, in terms of the more abundant life, for the benefit of the needy and ambitious students,” wrote R.H. Seward, the first CHF Secretary, in the 1924 Talisman. “Like a lofty lamp-post, the College Heights Foundation casts its radiant beams of light and benevolence far out in the darkness of human lives, illuminating the future for them with hope and inspiration…The length of time necessary to accomplish this process of growth from infancy to maturity will be long or short, depending upon the help it receives from the people of the Commonwealth who are in sympathy with its principles and ideals.”
“The establishment of the College Heights Foundation a century ago stemmed from a strong desire to help others achieve a more abundant life, and we are extremely grateful to the thousands of individuals who have embraced that philosophy and supported its noble mission,” said Dr. Donald Smith, President of CHF. “We have experienced a rich history and accomplished much, so we take great pride in celebrating this Centennial milestone along with all the benefactors who have made it possible. We are also equally excited about the significant opportunities ahead of us during the next one hundred years.”
One of those opportunities which has emerged during the Centennial is the consolidation of assets between the College Heights Foundation and the WKU Foundation. With the 1993 founding of the WKU Foundation, which was created to administer private funds for academic professorships, programmatic support for departments and programs to supplement the institutional budget, and capital projects in support of institutional priorities, the College Heights Foundation had primarily focused on providing scholarship assistance during the past three decades.
As part of the Western Kentucky University strategic plan, Climbing to Greater Heights, the respective foundations were tasked with the responsibility to make the most of available resources and work collaboratively toward creating a model for the most optimum organizational structure for the future.
“The CHF and WKU Foundation boards have been actively engaged in consolidation discussions since the establishment of the strategic plan,” said Mr. Mike Simpson, Chair of the CHF Board of Directors. “Throughout that time, we have implemented measures to create greater efficiencies, streamline our operations, and align our policies and procedures. The next logical step was to build on our respective strengths and maximize our collective potential by consolidating the assets to generate even greater economies of scale. We are excited this objective was able to be accomplished during the Centennial as CHF plans for the next century of service to WKU.”
WKU President Timothy C. Caboni stated, “It is important in the life of any organization to celebrate milestones, and I appreciate the work of the respective foundations in support of WKU. Private support is as critical now as it ever has been in the history of our great University. I am thankful for the work that transpired between the foundations to eliminate donor confusion and simplify the giving process -- maximizing the overall benefit for our students. With the continued help of CHF during its next century of service, WKU will continue to inspire innovation, elevate communities, and transform lives.”
“The College Heights Foundation and Western Kentucky University are very near and dear to my heart,” Dr. Smith explained. “I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from CHF as I pursued my undergraduate degree at WKU, and I am humbled every day to witness first-hand and listen to the stories of the individuals whose lives have been transformed by the generosity of others. The College Heights Foundation is a perpetual and enduring institution that has prospered for the past century thanks to the philanthropic individuals who demonstrate a strong belief in the importance of education. One hundred years later, we remain unwavering in our commitment to serve as the Guardian of Trusts for any funds entrusted to our care.”
For more information, contact Donald Smith at (270) 745-4597.
Western Kentucky University prides itself on positioning its students, faculty and staff for long term success. As a student-centered, applied research university, WKU helps students expand on classroom learning by integrating education with real-world applications in the communities we serve. Our hilltop campus is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which was recently named by Reader’s Digest as one of the nicest towns in America, just an hour’s drive from Nashville, Tennessee.