Janet Koller loved horses. As a child she was surrounded by American Saddlebreds that grazed on the rolling hills of her parents' farm in northern Boyle County. When Koller grew up and moved to an adjacent farm of her own, she began raising Thoroughbreds.
Janet Koller died in 2004, but an enduring testament to her love of horses stands in her name. Mrs. Koller has left an estate gift of $6.4 million to the University of Kentucky for equine research at the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center.
The monetary impact of the Janet H. Koller Estate Gift has been doubled to more than $12 million, thanks to the Research Challenge Trust Fund, set up by the state in 1997 to assist higher education. UK's allocation from the fund, earmarked for research initiatives, has provided a dollar-for-dollar match of private gifts.
The $12 million is being used to set up four endowments, each bearing Mrs. Koller's name and each supporting a different area of equine research. These areas include:
. Equine infectious diseases ($2 million gift plus $2 million match)
. Equine biological-biochemical and genetic sciences ($2 million gift plus $2 million match)
. Critical and urgent health issues facing equine enterprises ($1 million gift plus $1 million match)
. Research of distinguished Gluck faculty ($1 million gift plus $1 million match).
An unmatched $435,000 will support communication efforts related to the equine industry.
This gift underscores the College of Agriculture's equine initiative, now in progress, to ensure that UK programs are responsive to the daily needs of the equine industry. That initiative is one of several Commonwealth Collaboratives—issues designated by the University to be of concern in Kentucky—for which research progress will be tracked and reported to the state each year.
"We are grateful for both Mrs. Koller's generosity and the ability to maximize what it can do with matching dollars from the Research Challenge Trust Fund," said Scott Smith, interim provost and dean of the College of Agriculture. "This gift is an example of the impact a gift through your will can have on the College's research programs," he said.
Estate giving provides substantial support for future programs and is particularly suitable if you want to make a larger gift through your estate rather than during your lifetime.
Tobacco Buyout Is
A new scholarship program called the Golden Leaf Settlement Fund will match major gifts endowed at $10,000 or more at 50 cents on the dollar.
The program has been made possible because the College, as a quota holder of tobacco, received $800,000 last year as part of the tobacco buyout.
That money has been used to set up the matching program to create new endowed scholarships or increase existing ones.
All endowed scholarships in the College of Agriculture are eligible, as long as the matching funds are available.
Like many couples, Bill and Fredda Moody and Rod and Charlotte Tulloch have ties to both the College of Agriculture and its School of Human Environmental Sciences. Both couples have been generous to the College in the past, and, with the help of the Golden Leaf Settlement Fund, they are extending that generosity.
Bill and Fredda Moody
The Moodys combined their match with the cash value of a whole life insurance policy Fredda had given to the University some years earlier. This current scholarship in Fredda's name is to provide aid to qualified students in the School of Human Environmental Sciences. Fredda earned her undergraduate degree in home economics in 1957 and prior to her marriage was the first home demonstration agent in Clay County.
Fredda and Bill made the decision a number of years ago to help young people by providing deferred scholarships in their names. Bill said that "lives of individuals and families are enriched and society in general benefits when students have an opportunity to receive a college education."
An endowed scholarship in Bill's name, awarded to students majoring in meat/food science, was established in 1999 with start-up money Bill received as the recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching in the tenured faculty category. Upon his retirement in 2000, additional funds were added to his scholarship by family, friends, and former students.
Rod and Charlotte Tulloch
Rod Tulloch taught agricultural education at UK for more than 30 years. Charlotte Tulloch has both undergraduate and master's degrees in home economics education and took some HES courses at UK as part of her doctoral work. After earning her Ed.D. at UK in 1982 in vocational education, her work at UK included supervising student teachers in family and consumer sciences. She also has taught home economics in high school and adult education programs.
The Tullochs had been giving to both the College of Agriculture and HES over the years. When they retired (Charlotte in 2004 and Rod in 2005) it was time, Rod Tulloch said, "to maximize what we were doing." They are using the Golden Leaf Settlement Fund to add to an endowment for agricultural education students that had been set up in Rod Tulloch's name at retirement.
The Moodys and the Tullochs were asked why they participated in the Golden Leaf Settlement Scholarship program. Fredda Moody wanted to return in kind some of the financial help she received as a home economics student. "It's a way of paying back, of sharing what we have," she said. If Bill Moody hadn't received a small Farm Bureau Scholarship as a freshman, he may have never attended UK. "I was going to stay on the farm; that scholarship changed my life," he said.
Before he went to college, Rod Tulloch was awarded a 4-H scholarship. It paid his undergraduate tuition for four years at Michigan State . As a teacher, he has seen firsthand how some students struggle to get through school. Charlotte Tulloch is grateful for the ag scholarships the Tullochs' son, David Tulloch '92, received from the College. He's now an associate professor in landscape architecture at Rutgers.
Golden Leaf Settlement Fund:
The minimum pledge for an endowed scholarship is $10,000. Your gift may be paid over five years at $2,000 a year. The match from the Golden Leaf fund would be paid up front, so the endowment would start out at $7,000 and immediately be able to provide a scholarship at more than $600. For more information about setting up or contributing to an endowed scholarship, call the College's Advancement Office at (859)257-7200 or go to the College's home page on the Web at www.ca.uky.edu and click on Alumni.
Marci Hicks '87, the College's new associate director for advancement / director of development, believes in what she does.
"I'm able to visit with folks and see how education has changed their lives, see their love for the institution and the students," she said about donors.
Hicks' greatest joy may be "hearing the donor's story, learning how the University made a difference in the donor's life, and assisting the donor to give back to the University in a meaningful way," she said.
The greatest thrill for a donor, she said, is to see the results of the gift. When donors meet the scholarship recipient or the faculty member awarded a professorship, "the delight on their faces is priceless," she said.
"Much of the time, those donors give again."
Two misconceptions exist among people who don‘t yet give to an educational institution, Hicks said.
"There‘s the thought that a small gift will not make a difference, but that‘s not true," she said. "If everybody gave a minimal annual gift, it would make a great difference collectively."
She said the other misconception is that schools don‘t need any more money.
"There are so many things we could do better if we had more funding. At all great universities, it's private giving that makes the difference," she said.
Hicks, a native of Madison County, spent most of her childhood on a beef cattle and tobacco farm near Richmond. She was an active 4-H'er, serving as state secretary while at UK.
She earned her undergraduate degree in agricultural economics and was a Little Sister for Alpha Gamma Rho while at UK. Her husband James Hicks '85 is also an ag econ grad, and her brother David Azbill '92 graduated with a degree in animal sciences.
Hicks and her husband, who have three children, are co-owners of HB Farms, a purebred Limousin and Angus farm in Woodford County. She volunteers with the Woodford County 4-H program, serving as a member of the county council and as a livestock club leader.
Along with her ag background, Hicks brings solid experience in development to her new post. She worked for nearly five years in UK's development office, first as a major gifts officer and then as director of regional gifts. Before that, she was director of development and alumni relations at Midway College.
Hicks earned a master's degree at Vanderbilt in higher education with an emphasis in institutional advancement. She recently completed course work at UK toward a doctorate in higher education administration.
She is glad to be back in the College of Agriculture. "When I visit with graduates of the College, I'm one of them. It's a feeling of coming home," she said.