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MSU receives multi-million-dollar estate gift for construction management

The MSU Foundation has announced an estate gift valued at nearly $3 million dollars, the largest estate gift in the school's 135-year history. The donation is from the estate of Dr. Staley F. Adams and his wife, Grace Adams.

Dr. Adams, professor emeritus in the civil engineering department at the University of Kentucky, passed away in July 2016 at the age of 95. Beloved by his former students who called him brilliant in his field, Adams left behind his wife, Grace, who passed away in 2022. After her death, the couple's estate informed the MSU Foundation of the planned gift.

"Planned giving is such an important, impactful and everlasting gift," said Rick Hesterberg, CEO of the MSU Foundation. "We are honored to be the recipient of the Adams' generosity and the support it will give MSU students for generations to come."

The gift will establish the Dr. Staley F. Adams and Grace C. Adams Memorial Scholarship. The fund provides scholarships to Eastern Kentucky students majoring in engineering. Recipients must be full-time undergraduate students from MSU's 22-county service region majoring in engineering technology with an emphasis on construction management.

Scholarship preference includes students who demonstrate a personal commitment to helping fund their education by holding a part-time job during college. A committee of faculty members from the Department of Engineering &Technology Management selects recipients, and scholarship renewal is possible from year to year.

MSU's Department of Engineering and Technology Management provides hands-on learning opportunities for students in construction management, automation, robotics, manufacturing, electronics, systems engineering and industrial education.

"Our program has grown and developed over the last several years, and the Adams' estate gift is monumental in ensuring our growth continues," said Dr. Ahmad Zargari, associate dean and professor in the School of Engineering and Computer Science. "Through this generous estate gift, the faculty will have the opportunity to recruit and educate the next generation of civil engineers and construction management professionals who will contribute to the further development of modern construction industry in MSU's service region."

Individuals who support MSU through planned gift commitments are members of the Visionary Society. The Visionary Society builds and encourages a heritage of giving at MSU by acknowledging planned gifts and celebrating the generosity of planned-gift donors. Planned gifts ensure a bright future for MSU and our students.

If you're interested in becoming a member of the Visionary Society, please call the Office of Alumni Relations & Development at 606-783-2033 or email

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