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APSU launches first-ever capital campaign; Kimbroughs pledge more than $2 million

May 6, 2003

History was made twice at Austin Peay on Saturday night, May 3.

At a reception and dinner at Pace Alumni Center at Emerald Hill, APSU officials kicked off the public phase of the Universitys first-ever capital campaign, called the Changing Minds, Changing Lives Campaign. Gifts will go to scholarships or to whatever area the donor requests.
May 6, 2003

History was made twice at Austin Peay on Saturday night, May 3.

At a reception and dinner at Pace Alumni Center at Emerald Hill, APSU officials kicked off the public phase of the University's first-ever capital campaign, called the Changing Minds, Changing Lives Campaign. Gifts will go to scholarships or to whatever area the donor requests.

The original campaign goal was $15 million, with an interim target of $7.5 million by September 2003. However, Dr. Sherry Hoppe, president, told the 200 guests in attendance that, as of May 3, more than $10 million already had been committed.

To date, the largest gift comes from Ben and Margaret Kimbrough, Clarksville, who pledged $2 million from their estate in addition to $150,000 during the campaign period.

A 1951 APSU graduate, Kimbrough is the former president of First Trust & Savings Bank (now Bank of America). He said, “I'm a great believer that if you've been blessed with some of the resources of the world, you should show your appreciation by sharing. Giving to Austin Peay is one of the ways Margaret and I give back to the community that has given us so much.”

Campaign chair Anne Ross and the two co-chairs, Don Jenkins and Billy Atkins, all of Clarksville, unveiled a large thermometer-style graphic that showed a bit over $10 million of the $15 million goal has been raised.

Hoppe told how, when she first came to APSU and began talking about the need for a capital campaign to augment anemic state funding, she was told by many community people that, in the light of the statewide budget crisis and a plummeting economy, the time was not right. A fund-raising consultant agreed.

“But we simply decided to dream big. Tonight's celebration proves we were right! We had hoped to raise $7.5 million by the first of September 2003. Instead we've already raised more than two-thirds of the goal of $15 million.”

Hoppe thanked the Foundation for its support, especially that of the campaign chair and co-chairs. She also thanked Roy Gregory, executive director for University advancement, and his staff of advancement officers, Sharon Silva, Rip Watts, Heather Legg and Shelia Boone.

“We're not going to stop at $15 million,” a glowing Hoppe said. “In the next few years, if we can't get a commitment of $25 million, I'll be very surprised.”

The evening was significant for a second reason. Dr. Charles Manning, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, presented a special honor to APSU alumnus Wayne Pace of Atlanta and New York City.

Chief executive officer and vice president of AOL Time Warner, Pace, along with his wife, Bobbi, received the first-ever TBR Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Philanthropy in recognition of the $1 million in contributions they have made to APSU.

Manning cited numerous instances of the Paces' generosity to APSU, both in time and money. Manning noted that the couple recently donated more than $500,000 to renovate and expand the Pace Alumni Center at Emerald Hill, a beautiful antebellum mansion that is the home of the APSU National Alumni Association.

Last year, the couple flew from New York to attend the Candlelight Ball, APSU's annual black-tie fundraiser in Nashville. That evening Pace made a commitment for $400,000 to APSU to fund four fully endowed scholarships in honor of four professors who profoundly influenced his life. Three of the four faculty were able to be present for the surprise announcement.

After accepting the TBR Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Philanthropy, Pace took the podium. Saying this one of a few times he was at a loss for words, a clearly emotional Pace thanked Manning and Hoppe for their kind words and his friends and family for their love and support.

Pace said, “There's so much we get called upon for our time and our money and our commitment. But this (giving to APSU) always seemed right to Bobbi and me. I had a great time here partying, and I had a great time in class. I loved to go to class because of the faculty. I consider this town and this University part of my friends and family.”

Several times Pace remarked how personally gratifying it has been for him and his wife to give to others through APSU. Years ago when they first began talking about supporting APSU financially, he said he and his wife decided what they felt they “should” giveand then they made a decision to stretch themselves further.

Pace challenged everyone to reach beyond what they think they “should” give. “Give until it hurts,” he said and then added, “Folks, it actually feels good…very, very good.”

Echoing what Pace said, Hoppe wrapped up the evening's program by quoting from an ancient Chinese proverb: “He who gives flowers to others discovers the flowers' scent remains on his hands, too.”

For more information about the “Changing Minds, Changing Lives Campaign,” telephone 221-7127.