John Calipari, Nick Nicholson and Elmer Whitaker will be inducted into the Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame on Friday at Keeneland.
The Hall of Fame honors members of the Central Kentucky business community who give back to the area and help empower students as role models.
"We started it in 1989 and it really started to recognize individuals who were good in business, but also give back to the community," said Lynn Hudgins, the president of JA of the Bluegrass.
Since its start, the Business Hall of Fame has inducted 79 businessmen and women.
"They're people from all walks of life that have contributed to one common goal," said Hudgins.
JA of the Bluegrass, which allows area students to learn about business and entrepreneurship, also lets students interview the inductees and speak at the event.
"It gives our students a chance to show off what they can do," said Hudgins.
The three inductees this year are the University of Kentucky men's basketball coach, a former Keeneland president and the founder of Whitaker Bank Corporation.
JA cited these reasons for selecting the inductees:
John Calipari has raised millions of dollars for different organizations. He helped organize a telethon in 2010 called Hoops for Haiti that raised more than $1 million to support victims of the earthquake. He also donated $350,000 to seven charities and organizations using his UK Alumni Charity game and Basketball Fantasy Experience. This included donating $110,000 to the victims of the tornado in West Liberty.
Nick Nicholson retired as the sixth president of Keene-land in 2012. He received many awards while serving in that position, including the Lifetime Service Award from the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the Jockey Club Gold Medal. He served on the board of the Urban League, Board of Trustees of UK Healthcare, Commerce Lexington Inc., KET Commonwealth Fund, Transylvania University, Shakertown and Central Bank.
Elmer Whitaker founded Whitaker Bancorp in 1978, which started as five locations in three counties and total assets of $59 million. Today, the Whitaker Bank Corporation of Kentucky has 49 banking locations in 16 counties, with $2.1 billion in combined total assets. He has served on numerous community and educational organizations, including Cumberland University, Berea College, Transylvania University, Sayre School, the Triangle Foundation and the Kentucky Coal Association.
If you go
Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame
When: 6 p.m., Friday, May 31
Where: Keeneland Entertainment Center
Cost: $160 per seat.
Call: (859) 219-2423
Cameron Love: (859) 231-1424. Twitter: @heraldleader