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Ketner makes $500,000 gift
Donation will enhance Ketner School of Business
A longtime benefactor has made a $500,000 gift to his namesake business school at Trine University.
Dr. Ralph Ketner, center, chats with an audience member at left and Ketner School of Business Dean VK Sharma at right during his Distinguished Speaker Series appearance at Trine on Oct. 2.
Dr. Ralph Ketner, a Tri-State College accounting graduate, has donated to the Ketner School of Business (KSB) to fund phase one of a plan to renovate Ford Hall as the future home of KSB and move the Franks School of Education from Ford Hall to Shambaugh Hall, the present KSB site.
Phase one will include internal mechanical and infrastructure updates and remodeling to accommodate the enlarged facility for the KSB, the Rhoads Center for Entrepreneurship, classrooms, offices and new technology, said Trine University President Dr. Earl D. Brooks II. After the two schools exchange locations, Ford Hall’s exterior will be renovated.
“In the past two or three years we have seen a growth in students and an enhancement of our business education, evidenced by the Ketner School’s Association of College Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accreditation this year,” Dr. Brooks said. “With that growth opportunity, the challenge is to work through our entrepreneurship program to link our business and engineering schools. This facility provides space for that growth.”
Dr. Ketner co-founded Food Town, later to become Food Lion, a 1,300-store chain in the mid-Atlantic and southeast United States, in Salisbury, N.C. in 1957. He came to Trine, then Tri-State College, to attend school in 1937 at age 17.
The Ford Hall gift underscores a long history of benevolence between Dr. Ketner and the university. Across the years, Ketner contributed nearly $2 million to endow a chair in the Ketner School of Business, and establish an endowment fund to provide continual funding for the school. He made another $500,000 gift to create the Ketner Sports Center in Hershey Hall.
“Dr. Ketner has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to Trine University,” Dr. Brooks said. “He is a true philanthropist who has benefitted not only this university, but other schools and many charitable organizations. We are proud of his connection with Trine, and appreciate his dedication to the future of our students.”