Contact: John Scarffe, KU Endowment Association, (785) 832-7336

Kimbell family pledges $4 million gift to KU athletics, Lied Center of Kansas

LAWRENCE -- A family with a long history of support for KU athletics and performing arts has committed $4 million for a KU football program facility and the Lied Center.

KU alumni Charles and Sharon Lynch Kimbell of Hutchinson pledged a combination of cash and deferred gifts to the Kansas University Endowment Association. The couple made the commitment with their children and their children's spouses, Michael and Michelle Kimbell of Mission Hills and Dan and Katherine “Kay” Kimbell Almanza of Lawrence.

Of the gift, $3 million will support a proposed centralized facility for KU's football program at Memorial Stadium. The remaining $1 million will be added to the Kimbell Performing Arts Programming Fund. Designated by the Kimbells through a $1 million deferred gift in 1994, the fund will help the Lied Center bring performing artists to KU.

Lew Perkins, director of athletics, said KU is seeking additional funds for the football facility. While the building is still in the early planning stages, he said, it will one day help all KU athletics programs.

“ This facility will help KU be more competitive with other Big 12 programs,” Perkins said. “By consolidating all football activities into one area, the facility will free up space needed for other sports, especially our women's athletics programs.”
Sharon, who graduated in 1958 with a degree in education, said her family has long supported KU athletics. In particular, she cited the example of her father, the late Bryan Lynch, who attended KU in the early 1920s.

“ My father was a great supporter of KU athletics, especially KU football, and Charlie and I and our family want to carry on that tradition,” she said. “We feel very strongly that athletics are an important part of the university and that the football program needs our support.”

Kay, a 1988 graduate in theatre and film, said football games have been a part of the family's life since the Kimbell children were in grade school.

“ Growing up in Hutchinson, we always made the effort to come to Lawrence at least once a season for a KU football game,” she said. “We turned it into a family event for the weekend.”

Kay added that the Lied Center has played an important role for the family as well. Her children, Ellen and Fischer, enjoy children's performances and the Broadway Series selections each year, and they often attend with their grandmother, Sharon.

Tim Van Leer, executive director of the Lied Center, said the Kimbells are known for their generous support of the arts.

“ The Kimbell family's commitment to arts is outstanding,” Van Leer said. “They recognize that the performing arts enrich the lives of people of all ages. We are grateful for their continuing support."

Charles, a 1954 graduate in business, and Sharon met in Kansas City after they graduated from KU. Charles owned a fire and casualty insurance company in Hutchinson and retired in 1990. Sharon is a former teacher.

Other alumni in the Kimbell family include Michael Kimbell, a 1987 gradaute in business who completed a master's in business administration in 1991; and Dan Almanza, a 1996 graduate in fine arts.

The Kansas University Endowment Association is conducting KU First on behalf of KU through 2004 to raise funds for scholarships, fellowships, professorships, capital projects and program support. KU Endowment is an independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fund-raising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university and one of the largest.


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