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WKU regents approve faculty and staff raises, renaming of alumni center


The alumni center at Western Kentucky University will soon bear the names of two long-time supporters from Bowling Green.

In a meeting on Friday, the Board of Regents approved re-naming the Augenstein Alumni Center as the Eva and Jim Martens Alumni Center.

“Eva and Jim have supported countless initiatives across the university, students, our faculty, and our programs, in particular, our athletics," said Amanda Trabue, Vice President for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement. "They’ve also tremendously impacted our community, serving on a variety of boards with the volunteerism and philanthropy.”

Jim Martens is a 1972 graduate of WKU. He and his wife own J-Mar Properties, a real estate investment company.

The couple has made philanthropic gifts to the university for more than four decades,
placing them among the school’s top donors.

In other business, regents approved a 1.5% salary increase for eligible faculty and staff.

Head Volleyball Coach Travis Hudson received a contract extension through 2026,
as well as a $50,000 annual retention bonus.
That’s on top of his base salary of nearly $100,000, according to Athletics Director Todd Stewart.

Regents also signed off on a contract extension for Head Football Coach Tyson Helton that will keep him at WKU through 2025. The agreement gives Helton a $100,000 increase, bringing his base salary to $900,000.

He was hired at WKU in 2019 and has since led the Hiltoppers to three bowl appearances and two bowl victories. President Timothy Caboni credited Helton for the team’s success off the field, as well.

"The vast majority of students who play football for us have a GPA above 3.0, and that's unusual in collegiate sports," stated CAboni. "It's even more unusual in collegiate football."

Regents also honored the late Randy Capps, who passed away last month. He served as the Parliamentarian for the board. General Counsel Andrea Anderson has been tapped to replace Capps.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.