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Million-dollar gift will help fund new rec center, scholarships

An alumnus who asked to remain anonymous has given APSU $1 million in stock to help fund a top-of-the-line student recreation center.

Dr. Sherry Hoppe, APSU president, said, Generous to many organizations, this individual regularly makes contributions to causes in which he has a special interest. That special interest for Austin Peay was formed during his days on campus, which he believes helped him achieve success in his business.
An alumnus who asked to remain anonymous has given APSU $1 million in stock to help fund a top-of-the-line student recreation center.

Dr. Sherry Hoppe, APSU president, said, “Generous to many organizations, this individual regularly makes contributions to causes in which he has a special interest. That special interest for Austin Peay was formed during his days on campus, which he believes helped him achieve success in his business.”

Last year, the APSU student body voted to impose a student fee on itself to build a recreation center. The total dollars generated from the fee were insufficient to build a facility large enough to accommodate all of the desired functional areas, so the University sought private funding to supplement the revenues generated by student fees.

Now a major contributor has stepped forward with $1 million to ensure the facility meets both current and future needs. The total cost of the building is approximately $10 million.

According to Hoppe, the donor structured the gift in an unusual way that, in effect, will allow the University to use the $1 million twice. First, the University will borrow $1 million and use the dividends from the stock to pay back the loan over a 20-year period. At the end of the 20 years, the University will use the funds to create a scholarship endowment.

“This donor's gift is unique in that it will benefit our students in two very different ways,” Hoppe said. “Austin Peay desperately needs a new recreation center, not only for current students, but also to compete for prospective students. National studies indicate that a first-class recreation center is not considered a luxury by incoming students; it is an expectation. This gift will help us meet those expectations.

“Twenty years from now, the gift will enable us to award numerous scholarships. Thus, through his stock gift, this wonderful man will improve both the bodies and minds of future generations of students.”

Roy Gregory, executive director of University Advancement, said that the donor has special ties to APSU and wants to help the University.

“President Hoppe and I have met with this donor several times, and I have personally visited with him for more than 10 years. He started out as a small donor and has evolved into one of our largest contributors ever. I hope he serves as an example to other successful individuals who not only have the financial capability but also a strong fondness for Austin Peay. The special structure of this gift also may be an example of how to double a gift.”

Hoppe said, “While the University takes great pleasure in recognizing donors, we also respect and understand an individual's preference to remain anonymous. Such humility is a reflection of a very special person and makes the gift even more meaningful.

“This alumnus is to be commended for caring enough about his alma mater to give in such an unselfish way.”
—Dennie Burke