Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


September 13, 2013


Loss of $250 million gift will not harm Centre’s programs

ASHLAND — As it turns out, skeptics who thought the $250-million gift to Centre College announced in late July sounded too good to be true may have been right. The all-stock gift — which would have been one of the largest single gifts ever received by a U.S. college — has been withdrawn, Centre officials announced Monday.

But that does not mean the donor — the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust — was having second thoughts about the wisdom of the gift or had suddenly become angry with the small liberal arts college in Danville. Just the opposite, in fact. The Brockman trust has a long history of generous donations to Centre and that is expected to continue. It just won’t be $250 million. At least not yet.

The gift was always contingent on what college officials called a “significant capital market event” and when that did not pan out, the charitable trust had no choice but to withdraw the gift.

As announced in July, the donation would have created a Centre College scholarship program beginning next year. Annually, 40 students majoring in the natural and computational sciences and economics would have received the full-ride scholarships, with a total of 160 students getting the assistance once fully implemented.

“We’re not happy, in any shape or form, with this outcome,” Centre College President John Roush said of the gift’s withdrawal. “This would have helped us do better what we’re already doing.”

While the gift certainly would have helped Centre attract more gifted students, not receiving it does not really change the status quo at Centre. The college’s alumni and its numerous supporters will continue to give to the schools, which has among the nation’s highest percentages of alumni who continue to support the school with their gifts.

A. Eugene Brockman formed the charitable trust in 1981, a few years before his death. His son, Robert T. “Bob” Brockman, attended Centre for a couple of years before getting his degree elsewhere and is a former chairman of Centre’s board of trustees. Bob Brockman, who lives in Houston, left the Kentucky school because he wanted a degree in business administration, which isn’t offered as a major at Centre.

The recapitalization referred to by the school was a proposed refinancing deal considered by an auto dealer services company that Bob Brockman heads, a company spokesman said Monday.

Brockman is chairman and CEO of Dayton, Ohio-based Reynolds and Reynolds Co., which develops software and services for automotive dealerships. He also is the founder of Universal Computer Systems, which acquired Reynolds for $2.5 billion in 2006

Vista Equity Partners announced in July that the private equity firm, senior Reynolds management and the charitable trust planned to roll over $900 million in shares as part of an effort to secure $3.4 billion in loans to pay off debt and recoup investors’ costs of the Reynolds acquisition. The company decided last week not to go through with the proposed refinancing deal, said Reynolds spokesman Tom Schwartz.

When announced, the donation had ranked among the 20 biggest gifts ever to a U.S. college or university, according to a list maintained by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Richard Trollinger, Centre’s vice president for college relations, said the Brockman trust had made a number of generous gifts over the years to help transform the campus and improve its facilities. “Our collaboration with the Brockman Trust has made us better in many ways and will continue to do so,” he said.

A $19.5 million gift from the Brockman Trust went for construction of a dorm that opened a year ago at Centre.

The loss of the $250 million gift is certainly a major disappointment that will impact future programs at Centre, but since none of the money was actually received, the impact on current life and programs at Centre should be minimal. It’s hard to miss what you never really had.


Text Only
  • By a thread

    It took some last-minute political maneuvering by State Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore and some skilled wheeling and dealing to prevent a bill important to AK Steel in Ashland from ending up on the scrapheap of the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly.

    April 23, 2014

  • Along the river

    Here’s hoping the weather will be as close to perfect as possible on the evening of May 30, as members of the Paul G. Blazer High School class of 2014 gather on the banks of Ohio River for the school’s first graduation on the river that has helped fuel this community’s economy since the time when it was known as known as Poage’s Landing.

    April 22, 2014

  • Good opportunity

    Morehead State University is using a highly successful program for outstanding high school juniors and seniors at Western Kentucky University to launch a similar program beginning in the fall of 2015 on the MSU campus.

    April 20, 2014

  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO region with its own electrical company.

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone