BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Western Kentucky University President Timothy C. Caboni and First Lady Kacy S. Caboni have announced the establishment of an endowed scholarship fund with a gift of $100,000 made through a combination of outright and deferred support.
The Timothy Christian and Kacy Myree Caboni Scholarship Fund will provide support for full-time, first-generation students at WKU. First preference will be given to students pursuing a degree within the Department of Communication.
“At WKU, we want every student who wants to earn a college degree on our Hill to have the ability to do so, regardless of their financial circumstances,” said President Caboni.
“Forty percent of our student population are first-generation college students. That number really resonated with me because I was a first-generation college student, and I was able to succeed in college because of scholarship support,” said Kacy S. Caboni. “We feel very strongly about supporting education, and we wanted to do something to benefit Kentucky students.”
“The stories I have heard from first-generation students have stayed with me long after they were first shared,” she said. “I’ve heard stories where the oldest child was the first in their family to be able to pursue higher education because of scholarship assistance, and their siblings followed their path. Because a scholarship helped remove barriers that prevented them from pursuing their educational dreams, these students were able to create a legacy of higher education in their family.”
“My experience as a graduate student in the Department of Communication was one of the most formative experiences of my life and helped to shape much of my professional career,” said President Caboni. “Kacy and I want to help others who share our passion for communication to benefit from the same applied experiences I was provided as a WKU student.”
The Timothy Christian and Kacy Myree Caboni Scholarship is part of the WKU Opportunity Fund. Announced at President Caboni’s Investiture Ceremony in April 2018, the WKU Opportunity Fund is a donor-driven fundraising campaign to raise $50 million to benefit WKU students through needs-based financial assistance in support of recruitment, retention and educational experiences that might otherwise remain out of students’ reach. The WKU Opportunity Fund is one of the strategic initiatives included in Climbing to Greater Heights: The WKU Strategic Plan 2018-2028.
“Through private support, the Opportunity Fund will help us put programs into place at WKU to ensure our students are taken care of even before they step foot on campus, throughout their time on the Hill and beyond into their professional careers,” said Kacy S. Caboni.
“The Cabonis’ leadership gift to support the WKU Opportunity Fund is the latest demonstration of their commitment to the success of WKU students,” said John Paul Blair, Interim Vice President of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement. “Their support for first-generation students will have a tremendous impact which will echo through generations to come.”
“As this scholarship will benefit a first-generation college student majoring in Communication, it combines both of their passions while creating opportunities for students,” said Dr. Donald Smith, president of the College Heights Foundation, which will administer the scholarship. “WKU Opportunity Fund is an important university-wide initiative, and we are grateful for the Cabonis’ willingness to join other alumni and friends in making a personal commitment toward this endeavor.”
Kacy S. Caboni said they wanted to include their middle names as a tribute to their grandparents and parents and to honor the support they have always received from their families.
“This was a way for us to further connect our personal families to our WKU Family,” said President Caboni. “Our WKU Family is a real, tangible thing, and creating this scholarship is a really exciting connection for both of us.”
The Caboni Scholarship will be announced along with other newly established scholarships at the Scholarship Celebration on Thursday, March 28. This event, which will bring together more than 550 endowed scholarship donors and their student recipients, is WKU’s largest annual donor event.