By Sam Combest —

The University of Louisville announced Thursday they received a $2 million grant from the Gheens Foundation.

This grant is the second largest gift from the foundation. Their first was a 2013 grant of $2.5 million for health-related medical research according to the press release.

Cindy Hess, the director of communications and marketing at U of L, said, “It [the grant] is technically a gift. The foundation language might call them grants, but for U of L’s purpose and for our official coding, it would be considered a gift.”

“The university is always seeking grants and donations that support our mission.”

Hess also said the university made a formal request to the Foundation for the gift.

Chair and CEO of the Gheens Foundation Mike Mountjoy said, “We are very pleased with the rejuvenation, if you will, of the whole process with Dr. Bendapudi coming on board; so we felt like this was time for us to step up and make this commitment. We know that it’s going to be handled well. We’re fully confident of that and we know our money is going to go to the betterment of the entire state of Kentucky.”

The foundation has given $12 million over the last five decades to the university.

University President Neeli Bendapudi announced the plans for the $2 million of the unrestricted grant, saying $500,000 will go towards safety and security enhancement on the Belknap and Health Science Center campuses.

While no specifics about the $500,000 for safety and security are known, Hess had some ideas for the funds. They include staffing, adding more cameras in the building interiors and exteriors, additional vehicles for emergency response, and investing in both new technology and upgrading existing technology.

The remaining $1.5 million is expected to go towards the needs of the strategic plan. “Most likely, the final decision will come via collaborative process led by the president and with input from the campus community,” said Hess.

Bendapudi said, “I give you our word, all of us as leadership, we will be the best stewards of your trust that we can be. And thanks to you, we will be a safer campus and we will be a vibrant campus that will be a great place to learn and work and invest.”

The university is expected to use the funds for safety and security sometime this year. The remaining funds will be used over the next two years.

Photo Courtesy / University of Louisville