EKU alumna from Anderson Co. leaves largest single donation in university’s history


EKU President Dr. David McFaddin and Karen Ann Hawkins Scholarship recipients Dylan Robinson and Elisabeth Craft, and Dave Disponett, uncle of Karen Ann Hawkins. (Carsen Bryant | Carsen Bryant)

RICHMOND, Ky. (FOX 56) – A graduate from EKU in 1968, Karen Ann Hawkins lived a quiet life.

“Karen was a very private person and she never married,” said Dave Disponett, Hawkins’ uncle.

As a lifelong resident of Lawrenceburg and state medical worker, giving back to the Commonwealth was a big part of her life.

“She was a public servant,” EKU President Dr. David McFaddin said.

And in spite of Hawkins’ death last November at age 75, she had not yet given her biggest gift.

“Her affection for EKU was very deep. From her passwords to her computer, everything was 1968, her graduation year, or Colonels or Go Big E,” Dr. McFaddin said.

She gave $2.5 million to her alma mater, now the largest single donation in EKU’s 147-year history.

“60% of our students were either the first in their family to go to college, or a low income student. 83% have some type of financial need,” Dr. McFaddin said.

A portion of the funds will support students in Anderson County, where Karen hails from. No one saw it coming, not even her own family.

“Nobody knew she had this kind of money. Not even me and she would confide with me on everything pretty much,” Disponett said.

It will support new crops of Colonel students for years to come, from all over the state.

“From Pikeville to Paducah, there are students who are looking for opportunity,” Dr. McFaddin said.

The impact of the donation has already been felt. Three Anderson County students have received $10,000 scholarships from her fund.

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