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Historic Timeline

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College Heights Foundation Historic Timeline

1923: The College Heights Foundation is formed by Dr. Henry Hardin Cherry in response to a $100 gift from a faculty member to benefit deserving students in need.

1923:  The Articles of Incorporation for the College Heights Foundation, Inc. are authorized by the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky on July 17, 1923.

1923:  The home of the College Heights Foundation is located in Cabell Hall (location of Gordon Wilson Hall).

1923:  $11,885 in student loans are issued in the first year.

1926:  CHF offices move to Potter College Framed Cottage, just southeast of Dr. Cherry's statue.

1928:  Fund raising begins for the Kentucky Building, led by the College Heights Foundation.

1931:  Construction of the Kentucky Building begins.

1933:  Student Loan Fund provides 4,200 different loans amounting to $144,787 in first 10 years.

1934:  The CHF takes over operation of the campus bookstore.

1936:  CHF offices move to basement of the Kentucky Building.

1937:  Dr. Cherry passes away.

1937:  CHF provides $177,836 in student loans under the 14-year leadership of Dr. Cherry.

1937:  Dr. Paul Garrett is named the second president.

1939:  Construction of the Kentucky Building is completed and the building is dedicated on Founder's Day.

1955:  Dr. Garrett passes away.

1955:  CHF provides $261,303 in student loans under the 18-year leadership of Dr. Garrett.

1955:  Dr. Kelly Thompson is named the third president.

1956:  The CHF erects the "The Spirit Makes the Master" pylon at the top of the Hill in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the college.

1967:  Construction begins for the Foundation Building, which is still home to the CHF today.

1969:  Dr. Thompson begins reorganization of the College Heights Foundation.  The duties of the President of the CHF are split from the duties of the University President.  Dr. Dero Downing is named the fourth President of Western Kentucky University, and Dr. Thompson remains as President of the CHF.

1969:  A perpetual trust — the Memorial Fund — is created to provide a permanent endowment.

1974:  The College Heights Foundation Golf Classic is established to raise money for scholarships.

1979:  The Memorial Fund increases by $2.25 million in first 10 years (1969).

1979:  CHF assets total $3.22 million

1979:  $175,000 is budgeted in scholarships for the 1979-80 school  year.

1979:  Dr. Thompson retires.

1979:  CHF provides $2,195,017 in student loans and more than 2,975 scholarships for at least $504,131 under the 24-year leadership of Dr. Thompson.

1979:  Dr. Dero Downing is named the fourth president of the College Heights Foundation upon his retirement as President of WKU.

1993:  Dr. Kelly Thompson passes away.

1997:  The investment policy is revised to include a balanced portfolio of equities and fixed income to increase the overall earnings to grow the endowment.

1999:  The CHF endowment reaches more than $16 million.

1999:  The CHF provides $700,000 in scholarship support benefiting more than 1,000 students.

1999:  Dr. Downing retires as President of the CHF, but remains Chairman of the Board.

1999:  CHF provides 13,888 student loans totaling $2,102,134 and 16,000 scholarships totaling over $7.5 million under the 18-year leadership of Dr. Downing. 

1999:  Alex Downing is named the fifth president of the College Heights Foundation.  He also continues in his previous capacity as Treasurer of the CHF.

2003:  The Scholarship Celebration is implemented to pair donors and scholarship recipients together in an important stewardship activity.

2005:  The CHF assumes administration and stewardship of the third party custodial funds provided to the University.

2011:  Dr. Downing, still active as Chairman of the CHF Board of Directors, passes away at age 89.

2012:  An agreement is signed between the College Heights Foundation and the WKU Foundation that all future gifts of scholarships would be placed within the CHF and all gifts that are non-scholarship in nature (professorships, programmatic endowments, departmental funds, capital projects, etc) would be placed in the WKU Foundation.  As a part of this agreement, existing funds were transferred in like amounts to further draw the distinction between the two foundations.

2012:  Alex Downing announces his resignation to pursue an opportunity at Franklin Bank and Trust Company.

2012:  The CHF endowment has grown to more than $40 million.

2012:  The CHF provides $5.4 million in scholarships, benefiting more than 3,200 students.

2012:  CHF provides 4,143 loans totaling $973,780 and approximately 32,625 scholarships totaling nearly $40 million under the 13-year leadership of Mr. Downing.

2013:  Dr. Donald Smith begins his duties as the sixth president of the College Heights Foundation.

2014:  The CHF endowment tops the $50 million mark. 

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 Last Modified 7/13/17