Students at Hopkinsville Community College will forever be educated in the Thomas L. Riley Lecture Hall after the auditorium was dedicated to honor the school’s first president during a ceremony Tuesday with the local Rotary Club.
Rotary went looking for a $1 million donor to shore up its Rotary Scholars Program a few years ago and found an anonymous benefactor willing to give $500,000 if the club could match his contribution over five years. That goal is being met and when the opportunity came for naming rights of the auditorium to honor the donor, the benefactor instead chose to honor Riley.
Dr. Riley was a longtime Rotary member and twice served as president. HCC President Dr. Alissa Young says Rotary’s longtime partnership with HCC and the relatively new scholars program is an example for others to follow.
Rick Paxton of Rotary has overseen the collaboration with the anonymous donor and says the memory of Dr. Riley and the generosity of the benefactor will both be honored by the renaming.
Dr. Riley led Hopkinsville Community College from 1965 through 1989 and saw enrollment grow from 220 to over 2,000 students.
The Rotary Scholars Program allows graduates of high schools in Christian County who meet GPA and attendance thresholds to attend HCC tuition-free for two years.