SKCTC Benefactor Circles 

Philanthropy has played a significant role at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College since its founding in 1960. Over the years, major contributions from loyal supporters have provided the resources to help the college become one of the highest regarded community colleges in the nation. Because SKCTC is so indebted to its many benefactors, recognition for their gifts is a top priority. 

The SKCTC Benefactor Circles was created to recognize donors to SKCTC who have made and continue to make significant contributions. It is a society of people who share in SKCTC ‘s goals of providing excellence in education and in preparing students for the future.

The Circles recognize all donors who have given $1,000 or more to the college. The recognition level is based on cumulative gift history or pledge commitment.

President’s Circle
$100,000 and above 

Leaders' Circle
$50,000 to $99,999

Partners' Circle
$25,000 to $49,999 

Patrons' Circle
$5,000 to $24,999

Supporters' Circle
$2,500 to $4,999

Friends' Circle
$1,000 to $2,499

The SKCTC Donor Wall, located in the foyer of the campus library in Cumberland, includes a dynamic display featuring all members of the Benefactor Circles

The Southeast Legacy Society

The Southeast Legacy Society values the generous support of those individuals who have made a gift through their estate. SKCTC has created a special society to recognize these generous people for their investment in the College’s future.

The Society acknowledges the generosity of any individual who has made provisions for the college through any estate planning tool such as a bequest, trust, or life insurance. As a Society member, you will receive a gift of recognition to honor your commitment in addition to periodic updates on College news. But most of all, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to ensure continued excellence for the students, faculty, and outstanding programs at SKCTC.  

Ed and Sue Godbey

Dr. Edsel T. Godbey is SKCTC’s founding president and has continued to maintain a close relationship with College leadership throughout the years. In addition to establishing the Sue Godbey Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of his wife, Dr. Godbey also named SKCTC as the recipient of a substantial planned gift. In recognition of his support, the newest building on the Cumberland Campus is named The Edsel T. Godbey Appalachian Center.

Edsel Godbey unveiling his portrain in the Godbey Appalachian Center


Troy Welch Applied Science and Technology Building

The Kentucky Community & Technical College System Board of Regents approved the naming of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Applied Science Center on the Middlesboro Campus, in memory of former mayor and community advocate Troy L. Welch. Welch was instrumental in obtaining approval and funding for the location and construction of the Middlesboro Campus. He also served on the SKCTC Foundation Board and supported the college’s major gift campaigns. The Middlesboro campus, one of five sites operated by the college, opened its doors to students in 1994. “Mr. Welch’s passion for higher education was shown through his gratitude and dedication to Southeast,” said Dr. W. Bruce Ayers, president of the college. “We are pleased to name the Applied Science Center after such an outstanding individual who brought extraordinary honor to the Middlesboro Campus and to SKCTC.”


Helen and Cawood Smith Theater

The theater on the Harlan County Campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College is named in honor of Helen Smith and her late husband, Cawood, both staunch supporters of the College. Helen was a long-time member of the College’s Board of Directors and continues to serve today on the Southeast Education Foundation Board of Directors. The Cawoods also established the Helen and Cawood Smith Scholarship Endowment, which has provided dozens of scholarships to SKCTC students since 1995.

Smith family in fron of the harlan campus theater dedication



Donors who establish endowed student scholarship funds or those who make a one-time gift for a named scholarship receive a letter from the President informing them of the recipient(s). The students also write personal letters of thanks to donors who made their scholarship possible.

KCTCS President’s Gala

The Annual KCTCS President’s Gala, a black-tie affair in Lexington, brings together college, business, and state leaders to recognize some of KCTCS colleges’ most loyal and committed donors. Every year, Southeast has the opportunity to recognize at least two of its outstanding donors.

Charles and Maxine Hunter family & Robert E. Frazier Charitable Trust Foundation of Cumberland

Honored by the system and representing Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in 2013 were, the Charles and Maxine Hunter family of Cloverfork in Harlan County and the Robert E. Frazier Charitable Trust Foundation of Cumberland.

During the gala, Maxine Hunter was honored as a benefactor of the Endowed Scholarship Fund of Southeast. She has established the Charles and Maxine Hunter Scholarship Fund. Mr. Hunter, who passed away in 2006, was a successful coach and teacher at Evarts High School.

Also during the ceremony in Lexington, Charles Cole, chairman of the Robert E. Frazier Charitable Trust Board, which provides various grants to entities within the Tri-City area of Harlan County, accepted an award on behalf of the board.

Maxine Hunter

Hall High Alumni Association

Hall High School in Harlan County graduated its last class in 1966; however, its close knit former students and graduates have continued to be a viable part of the Harlan County community. The Hall High Alumni Association meets annually and raises funds to support its scholarship fund at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. The endowed scholarship fund provides scholarships in perpetuity for relatives of graduates of Hall High School. The College is grateful to be the recipient of the Association’s generosity and to be a part of its ongoing commitment to higher education.

Ivory Myers accepts the gala award for Hall High Alumni 








Lillian Faye Simpson

The Southeast Education Foundation, Inc. recognized Lillian Faye Simpson for her longtime support of students at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. Mrs. Simpson is the founding chair of the Foundation, which formed in 1981 as the exclusive fundraising arm of the College. From 1975 to 1987, she served on the SKCTC faculty and as a division chair. The Lillian Faye Simpson Endowed Scholarship Fund provides support for students who would otherwise not be able to attend college without additional support. The Foundation’s primary fundraising event is named for Mrs. Simpson, the “Lillian Faye Simpson Scholarship Golf Classic.” Mrs. Simpson’s grandson, John Simpson, accepted the award on her behalf.

John Simpson accepts award in place of his grandmother









Pauline Ritter-Combs

The Whitesburg Campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College would not exist today if not for the forethought and determination of Pauline “Penny” Ritter Combs. In fact, the idea to bring a community college campus to Whitesburg was a dream of Mrs. Ritter Combs, who led both friend raising and fund raising efforts in 1989 to fund the renovation of old Coca-Cola plant to serve as a classroom building. She has continued to support the College, serving in leadership roles for the college’s major gifts campaigns and establishing the Pauline (Penny) Ritter Combs Southeast Scholars Endowment and the Atha B. and James M. Caudill Endowed Scholarship Fund, in honor of her parents.

Pauline Combs accepts the Benefact award from Dr.ayer and McCall









Georgenna Richardson and Georgetta Riley

 Harlan County natives Georgenna Richardson and Georgetta Riley made a gift of $10,000 to establish a scholarship in memory of their parents, William Jefferson Jennings and Geneva Stout Jennings. Income from the endowed scholarship fund will be used to award an annual scholarship to a Harlan County resident enrolled full-time at SKCTC and pursuing a degree in a science-related field.
African American students are given preference in selecting recipients. In 2012, they were recognized at the KCTCS President’s Gala and Benefactor Awards Ceremony.

Riley sisters and Dr. Ayers with their award