January 25, 2006 | By: Laura Skillman

A new scholarship program approved Tuesday by the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees will allow the College of Agriculture to use its funds from the federal tobacco buyout program to directly benefit undergraduates.

As a tobacco quota holder, the college elected to receive its buyout payment as a lump sum enabling it to earmark its entire payment, about $800,000, to match donor scholarship contributions in this innovative, first-ever program. This will result in more scholarships available to UK agriculture students.

“The tobacco buyout provided us with a unique opportunity to partner with our friends and alumni to enhance the scholarship support available to our students, the future agricultural leaders of the Commonwealth and the nation,” said M. Scott Smith, dean of the College of Agriculture.

Here’s the way the program works: If a donor gives at least $10,000 to UK for the agriculture scholarship endowment program, the college will match it at a rate of one dollar for every two dollars donated, or 50 percent. The program is already a success. To date, $558,000 in private gifts have been pledged and the College of Agriculture has matched this with $279,000.

“As associate dean for academic programs in the College of Agriculture, I believe the more we can do to leverage opportunities for students the better,” said Mike Mullen. “It’s a great opportunity for more students to pursue an academic education at the University of Kentucky.”

If fully funded, this program could increase money available for scholarships by 30 percent and potentially give assistance to an additional 60 students. The college already awards in excess of $400,000 in scholarships each year.

Mullen said it will enable the college to offer additional scholarships to students with outstanding academics, as well as to those exhibiting outstanding leadership who may be looking at other schools. It may also enable the college to promote additional international activities such as study abroad programs.


Mike Mullen (859) 257-3468