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Don and Sandy Jenkins pledge gift to APSU student center

October 9, 2001

The chairman of the Austin Peay State University Foundation Board of Trustees took the lead as the University looks to its friends and supporters for increased giving to offset state-funding deficiencies.

Don Jenkins, owner of Jenkins & Wynne Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Honda, Isuzu Inc., Clarksville, and his wife, Sandy, recently pledged $100,000 to the APSU Foundation. Jenkins was the 2000-01 president of the Foundation.

"My family has always given to Austin Peay because the University is an invaluable resource for Clarksville-Montgomery County," Jenkins said, "and because the education of our youth is something we like to support.

"Sandy and I view this not just as a gift to Austin Peay but also as an investment in our community's future. During this time of extremely low state funding, we believe it is more important than ever before to support Austin Peay."

The Jenkins, who stipulated that the $100,000 could go toward the University's most critical need, agreed for their gift to be used to furnish the gallery/reception area of the ballroom in the new University Center. In recognition of the substantial donation, the University will name the ballroom reception area in their honor.

According to Dr. Sherry Hoppe, APSU president, this year will be a launching pad for increased fundraising, locally and nationally. Despite successful past fundraising, the need for private gifts has grown dramatically as state financial support has decreased.

"For more than 10 years, Austin Peay has managed to function with abysmal state funding," Hoppe said. "For the past several years, we've had to look to private and corporate support to make up the shortfall. The University Center is a prime example. Without the gift from the Jenkins, the gallery and reception area would be left unfurnished.

"I'm an optimist, but I must say financial times are bleak for Tennessee higher education. Gifts like the one from Sandy and Don truly make a difference in our ability to provide our students with facilities conducive to their total University experience."

Hoppe does not foresee any financial plan that would enable APSU to provide for all educational needs and facilities of the University. "Even if we put the most severe cost-efficient plan in place, we can't catch up," she said. "Never in history has the need for private support of education been as acute as now."

In expressing appreciation, Hoppe said, "Don and Sandy's provision of funds to furnish part of the University Center helps us with a critical need. The promise of a facility to support a better campus life for students will be enhanced because of their gift."

Hoppe encouraged everyone with an interest in APSU or in the betterment of Tennessee education to consider gifts to the University. For more information, telephone 7127.