Support for Education is Their Passion

Catherine Hackney, ’76, and her husband, Jim, are two of Kent State’s most ardent supporters. Catherine was a student at the university and, after many years working as a teacher and principal, she returned to Kent State, where she served as a faculty member and, finally, as associate dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services (EHHS).

“I love the institution,” says Catherine, “and I’m very loyal to EHHS. I’ve observed firsthand the good work that the college does.”

Catherine and Jim both feel it’s important to give back. Says Jim, “Those of us who have achieved some measure of success in life have to realize that we got there through the support of many people and organizations, including our schools and universities. We feel an obligation to pay it forward to assist other students.”

The Hackneys support two educational programs with planned gifts, including the Rising Scholars Program. It includes initiatives on each regional campus, where Kent State partners with local communities to create a support system that prepares promising youth for life after high school.

“Jim grew up in rural Georgia and was fortunate to go on to be educated as an industrial engineer,” says Catherine. “However, many of his schoolmates did not receive the support and opportunities he did. The Rising Scholars Program offers these same kinds of kids a chance to further their education.”

The Hackneys also believe strongly in supporting students who want to study away and have established the Catherine Eggleston and James Robert Hackney Study Abroad Fund.

“We’ve been fortunate to travel abroad many times, which positively shaped our attitudes toward others and their cultures. Also, as a Kent State professor, I worked with women leaders in Nigeria, the UAE and with educational leaders in Turkey. These were invaluable experiences. We want to support similar experiences for our students,” says Catherine.

If you’d like to support a program or scholarship at Kent State now, and with a provision in your will, contact the Center for Gift and Estate Planning at 330-672-1000, or email us at

POSTED: Friday, March 27, 2020 - 10:52am
UPDATED: Monday, October 12, 2020 - 10:15pm