A Northern Kentucky couple has pledged $1 million to Eastern Kentucky University for academics and athletics, officials announced Wednesday.
Ron and Sherrie Lou Noel of Union, benefactors of the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity and the Noel Reading Porch, will give $600,000 to help establish the Ron and Sherrie Lou Noel Research Endowment. The endowment will support faculty and student research. In addition, $400,000 will help expand and renovate the athletics strength and conditioning center.
“This gift could have a transformative effect on our efforts to engage students in faculty research,” said Nick Perlick, vice president for development and alumni relations. “In addition, it will dramatically enhance the experience of all of our athletes by creating a premier strength facility. Ron and Sherrie Lou have been titans in the philanthropic history of EKU, and we are humbled by their ongoing leadership and support.”
The Noels met as students at EKU. Ron Noel was a first-generation college graduate who played baseball at Eastern. He received a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Kentucky and went into a career in industry.
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“It’s pretty obvious I wouldn’t be where I am at today if not for Eastern,” Ron Noel said. “If not for the knowledge we gained, we would not have had successful and rewarding careers. This is why we welcome the chance to share our good fortune.”