Home » New UK honors college to be named after family that donated $23.5M to create program

New UK honors college to be named after family that donated $23.5M to create program


Lewis Hall to open by August 2017

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 19, 2016) — The new University of Kentucky honors college and student housing facility will be named after the family that donated the largest single gift in school history to create the program. (August 2015: UK receives largest single gift in school history)

The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees voted today to name the student housing facility and new UK honors college Lewis Hall and the Lewis Honors College, after UK alumnus Thomas W. Lewis and his family, of Paradise Valley, Ariz., who donated $23.5 million to create the program. Lewis Hall is expected to open by August 2017.

“Across the University of Kentucky campus are profound examples of people’s faith in our institution, the work we do and the lives we shape,” said President Eli Capilouto. “The Lewis family is investing in the university and their investment will yield an extraordinary academic experience for students in the new Lewis Honors College. We place our students first; so, too, do our donors and alumni who believe those students represent a bright future for Kentucky and the communities they touch.”

lewis_hall_2Located at the corner of University and Hilltop Drives, Lewis Hall will be a five-story, 346-bed and LEED-silver certified student housing facility constructed and managed by Education Realty Trust, Inc. (EdR). EdR will invest nearly $27 million toward the total estimated scope of $37 million for project. The T.W. Lewis Foundation and the university will fund the remaining amount for 20,050-s.f. of space dedicated to the future Lewis Honors College, which will be subject to faculty review and endorsement through the university senate later this year.

“I have a strong belief in the value of education and helping young people become the best they can be,” Lewis said during his gift announcement last fall. “This gift is our way of helping University of Kentucky honors students reach their full potential as leaders who will create, shape and influence people, ideas and discoveries for this and generations yet to come.”

In the last five years, at the direction of Capilouto and the board of trustees, participation in the university’s honors program has nearly doubled, growing from 750 students to 1,400, part of an effort to enhance the undergraduate educational experience, while also improving retention and graduation rates.