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Centre College President reacts to $250 million gift withdrawal

By: Brittany Pelletz Email
By: Brittany Pelletz Email
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DANVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) -

"My biggest disappointment really is the hundreds of students that will not have a chance to be part of this scholarship program," says Centre College President John Roush.

WKYT's Brittany Pelletz sat down with President Roush shortly after word spread that the $250 million gift from the A. Eugene Brockman Trust was withdrawn.

"This was part of a large, very complicated business transaction that was schedule to close in the middle of last week. That closing did not occur. As a result the gift that was going to be a part of this reorganization and recapitalization will not occur," adds Roush.

The gift was going to provide free rides for 40 students beginning in the fall of 2014. The goal was to provide 160 students with scholarships over the next several years.

"I was proud. It sort of gave me the, I'm going to this school that got the largest donation in history," says Centre College freshman, Jack Stachler.

Stachler was surprised by today's announcement. He also knows how important scholarships are, "It's a merit based scholarship based upon my grades. Obviously, if I didn't have that, I probably wouldn't be able to afford coming to Centre College."

"We went into this with our eyes open. We knew that there were risks associated with this kind of a business deal. We knew there were lots of ends out there yet to be tied down," adds President Roush.

But Roush also tells WKYT that had good faith the gift had been committed to the college.

"Reasons many of which are unknown to us, the transaction itself has not gone through and so the gift has been withdrawn," Roush says.

In the wake of the disappointing news, President Roush says Centre College is already looking for ways to fund these scholarships in the future, "This will be a massive campaign. Probably in the $200-250 million range. So, there is lots of work yet to be done by Centre College and we intend to get started on that today."

Roush says there are no students who have been directly impacted, "No commitments had been made. We were simply getting into the process of starting to recruit these students. So no one is personally going to be disappointed. All of us are collectively disappointed."

Despite the gift withdrawal, Roush wants it to be known that Centre College is thankful of the A. Eugene Trust and all they have done for Centre College. Roush says they have given the college $25 million over the last four to five years.

President Roush says these kind of setbacks are part of life and feels confident that Centre College will come out even stronger after this.

"There are bumps in life and you know when you hit a bump, you pick yourself up and you get on down the trail. That's what Centre College is going to do with this bump. This isn't setting aside the goodness, the greatness, the chances for important things to happen on campus. Except for this day, says Roush.


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