Gheens foundation bestows $2 million gift on University of Louisville Administrators say donation shows confidence in university’s direction, leadership

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    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville today announced that Gheens Foundation, Inc. has pledged $2 million in unrestricted funds to support the university’s mission.

    The gift is the foundation’s second largest to the university. The largest was a $2.5 million grant in 2013 for health-related medical research.

    Gheens has given more than $12 million to UofL over five decades, including funding for the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium and the Gheens Foundation Inc. Chair in Aging Research.

    “We were so excited when we learned about this gift,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi. “Once again, the Gheens Foundation has stepped up to support the University of Louisville. Now it is up to us to use this funding in ways that clearly will benefit our students and the community.”

    Bendapudi said $500,000 will be directed toward enhancing safety and security staffing and technology on the Belknap and Health Sciences Center campuses. The remaining $1.5 million will fund strategic initiatives identified through the university’s strategic planning process, which is currently underway.

    “This is a perfect time to look at where and how we should invest these funds,” she said. “The only thing we know for sure is that this gift will be used to ensure that UofL is a great place to learn, to work and in which to invest.”

    Gheens President Barry Allen said, “I am confident that our founders, Edwin and Mary Jo Gheens, would be most pleased with the trustees’ decision to make this grant. It recognizes the vital importance of the university’s mission and is an affirmation of Dr. Bendapudi’s fresh and strengthening leadership.”

    Since Bendapudi assumed the UofL helm, major gifts include $5 million from the Owsley Brown II Family Foundation, $2.5 million from retired Churchill Downs Inc. Chairperson Carl F. Pollard and a substantial gift from Republic Bank Foundation and the Trager Family Foundation in support of optimal aging research.

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    Cindy Hess
    Communications Director Cindy Hess has oversight for day-to-day operations in media relations and covers prestigious scholars, the College of Education and Human Development and Brandeis School of Law. She reports to the Media Relations Director, has a heckuva good resume, and faithfully eats kale for lunch every day. Cindy has more than 25 years of experience in media relations, investor relations, marketing and corporate communications and is the unit’s only employee entrusted to buy tickets for lottery pools.