Luter Family Gives $1 Million Gift to College of Business
JONESBORO — Longtime supporters and alumni Charles and Kay Luter have provided a gift of $1 million to the College of Business at Arkansas State University. Matching the largest commitment ever to the College of Business, among the various provisions of the donation is $250,000 for the largest single scholarship endowment for the college.
"There is no one who cares more for this university, about the future, and the opportunities our students are going have than Charles and Kay," said Dr. Shane Hunt, dean of the College of Business. "For them to be willing to make this gift and impact what we are able to provide for years to come is something that is transformational."
In addition to the scholarship commitment, another $250,000 each will go toward the Charles and Kay Luter Endowed Professorships—one in finance and one in strategic management. The endowed professorship in management is the first for the College of Business.
"Endowed professorships give us the opportunity to honor those faculty members whose commitment to student success exemplifies the very best in higher education," Hunt said.
A $100,000 portion is earmarked for building improvements and the remaining $150,000 will go the A-State Student Investment Fund to help students studying finance and banking utilize hands-on experience.
"Charles and Kay can tell you with their upbringing in rural Arkansas that this university gave them a chance to see and do things that would never have been possible had it not been for the education opportunities that Arkansas State University afforded them," stated Dr. Charles Welch, president of the ASU System.
"Now, that they are in a position to give back to the university and they want other young people from the region to have the same opportunities they had so they can see and dream and live a life they could have never imagined."
Charles earned a business administration degree from A-State in 1966 and Kay received her bachelor’s degree in education in 1965 before completing a master’s degree in 1978. Both have continued to remain close to their alma mater through their support beginning with 1924 Sustaining Life membership in the Alumni Association.
While at A-State, Charles served as the vice president of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and a member of the Student Government Association. A tremendous supporter of Red Wolves athletics, he has also worked as president of the Indian Club (now known as the Red Wolves Foundation), the fund-raising arm of A-State athletics.
"Whatever success Kay and I have had in life, it really has evolved around Arkansas State," continued Charles. "I've always been an advocate that if you are bringing these students on campus from all over Arkansas, other states and other countries, the university should be able to get those instructors to give those students the best education they can get."
Kay added, "I've always been connected to Arkansas State in one way or another. Arkansas State gave me my dream and that was to be a teacher. And, then I became a teacher here."
In 2008, he and Kay made a donation of $400,000, at the time the largest single donation in A-State athletics history, for an enhanced athletic academic facility that houses computer labs, study areas, tutorial rooms and staff. That facility is known as the Charles F. Luter Family Academic Success Center.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe appointed Luter to the Arkansas State Board of Trustees in 2011. His five-year term expired in January 2016. The Alumni Association also honored him as a Distinguished Alumnus in 1999.
He has also been actively involved in civic and professional organizations and had success while working in the banking business.
"Maybe this gift will bring that instructor to campus that can change the lives of these students," Charles stated. "More people that are able and willing to give back to the university help to support the infrastructure of students and faculty which means you don’t have to call on students for additional money. We want to give back to Arkansas State University in with hope that individuals can accomplish some things and maybe they can give back, too."
"This gift is a great source of pride for us," continued Hunt. "The impact of what Charles and Kay have done will help our students afford college and have those opportunities for generations."
Hunt concluded by stating, "On behalf of every faculty member, every staff member and every student in Arkansas State University's College of Business, I want to say 'thank you' to Charles and Kay because they have made our college forever better and we are forever in debt for what they have done."