Western Kentucky has received the largest outright gift from a former athlete with a gift of $1 million from Joe and Sunshine Micatrotto of Las Vegas, Nev.
The Micatrotto gift includes support for capital projects, the WKU football and volleyball programs and the WKU Opportunity Fund.
Micatrotto originally started his college career at Kent State on a football scholarship. He transferred to WKU after his freshman year and played football at WKU from 1993 to 1997.
Micatrotto, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism from WKU, credited both his academic department and WKU football for helping him successfully enter the workforce. The President and CEO of MRG Marketing & Management, Inc., Micatrotto said the idea of making a significant gift to the University had always been a dream for him and his wife, Sunshine.
Of the three areas outlined in the gift, one is capital support for scoreboard and technology enhancements for E.A. Diddle Arena, Houchens-Smith Stadium and the WKU Softball and Soccer complexes. Ultimately, the facilities for six athletic teams will see improvements and athlete and fan experiences will be dramatically elevated.
Both the WKU football and volleyball programs will also receive support through their respective team Excellence Funds which provide unrestricted funding for each team and program.
Through the gift, the couple has also established the Micatrotto Family Opportunity Fund for Athletics, part of the WKU Opportunity Fund campaign to raise $50 million to benefit WKU students. The Micatrotto Family Opportunity Fund for Athletics will benefit athletes, with first preference given to WKU football players, and provide access to applied experiences and other relevant financial needs related to their educational pursuits.
The gift marks the first gift to the WKU Opportunity Fund to support WKU athletics.
Joe and Sunshine Micatrotto are lifetime members of the WKU Alumni Association and Joe currently serves on the WKU Alumni Association National Board of Directors.