Kevin Canafax and Paul Smith of Fidelity Investments presented Northern Kentucky University with the second installment of its $1 million contribution for a lake renovation project at the Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, March 17.
Fidelity initially donated $500,000 to the $2 million project in 2002.
“I, along with Paul, come to you this afternoon representing the Fidelity Foundation, and we are very pleased to award Northern Kentucky University the second installment of our pledge of $1 million for the campus green and central plaza redesign as part of the shaping the dreams vision,” Canafax said.
NKU President James Votruba said the funds “will be combined with $1 million that will match to have a $2 million lake renovation project that will transform the center of the campus” by changing the size of the lake, as well as making it more attractive and accessible.
“[The lake] will have walkways around it; it will have a bridge across the center of it,” Votruba said. “It will be a place for students and faculty and staff to go to retreat. It will be relaxing.”
“It will have two different tiers of waterfalls,” Votruba said, adding, “I have promised once the waterfalls are completed to go over it in a barrel.”
The second installment was actually transferred in early February to complete Fidelity’s donation, but Smith and Canafax presented the Board of Regents with a letter that confirmed the transaction.
“This is a critical and a very strategically important partnership for Fidelity Investments,” Canafax said. “Our foundation is a tremendous vehicle for us to make investments in institutions and organizations in this community that are really transforming and shaping the vision for Northern Kentucky and greater Cincinnati for generations to come.”
Smith noted that Fidelity does not make significant contributions to academic institutions often.
“We have been able to secure this million dollar gift for a couple of reasons,” Smith said. “One of them is, we do have a superb partnership with the university, and the second is the belief that … as a region, we are very fortunate and quite blessed to have a leader of [Votruba’s] expertise, and it made it a lot easier when we tried to sell this concept.”
Votruba thanked Smith and Canafax for their continued support of the university.
“Fidelity Investments has been a terrific partner to the university for a number of years,” Votruba said.
John Carman and Associates are currently the designers for the project. Ken Ramey, vice president of Administration and Finance, said he would like for the first phase of construction to begin this year. However, before renovations can begin, the university is still in need of $1 million to match Fidelity’s contribution.
“We have not identified another donor for the Fidelity match at this point in time, and this project will only be done with private funding,” said Ramey.
“There has been some discussion about phasing the project since we already have $1 million in hand, but this decision is not finalized as yet.”
Once the necessary funding is acquired, NKU can look forward to a change of scenery on campus.
“This is really going to be an exciting project for the campus and one that can transform our green space,” said Ramey. “We look forward to the projects being finalized and construction to begin.”