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Economics Scholarship Honors Memory of Graduate Kyle Thacker

Thacker family with Fred Ruppel and President Benson

When they graduated with bachelor’s degrees in economics in May 2012, twins Kyle and Keith Thacker of Somerset pledged that, wherever they were in life, they would never miss the program’s annual reunion at Eastern Kentucky University.

Sadly, tragedy intervened in February of this year when Kyle was accidentally killed by the blast of a shotgun held by younger brother Kody, who then turned the weapon on himself.

Thanks, however, to the generous support of EKU Economics faculty members and others, the life of Kyle Thacker will never be forgotten. This year’s Homecoming tailgate party on Saturday, Oct. 19, included the announcement of the Kyle J. Thacker Memorial Scholarship.

EKU President Michael Benson stopped by to present the Thacker family with a plaque recognizing the scholarship. Looking on were several members of the family as well as friends and former classmates.

The establishment of the Thacker Scholarship was first discussed among a small group of Economics faculty during their return from a visitation service in Somerset.

Dr. Fred Ruppel, professor of economics and Kyle’s academic adviser, said Kyle “is remembered as a fun student who loved economics and who was well liked by classmates and faculty members. This scholarship is a fitting remembrance for Kyle.”

Kyle and Keith Thacker graduated from Pulaski Southwestern High School in 2007. Kyle went on to work as a supply chain analyst after graduating from EKU.

“It is an honor for Kyle to be remembered by our alma mater,” Keith Thacker said. “Kyle made a lasting impact on both the University and the Department of Economics. Words cannot describe how thrilled we are as a family to see that the Department has chosen to create a scholarship in Kyle’s name. Economics is something that Kyle was passionate about, and I am glad that we will be able to share his passion with younger generations.”

The Department plans to recognize the first recipient of the scholarship at its holiday gathering this December, and all subsequent recipients at the annual Homecoming tailgate event. The scholarship is designed to reward outstanding junior and senior economics majors at EKU.

Department Chair Dr. Gyan Pradhan said he “can’t even imagine what the family is going through. We just wanted to do something that honored his memory, and a scholarship in his name is one of the best ways we could do that.”

Several gave donations to the scholarship fund at Homecoming, and more have expressed an interest in helping, Pradhan said.

Ruppel suggested that anyone interested in donating to the Thacker Scholarship fund should contact either the EKU Department of Economics at 859-622-1769 or the University’s Development Office at 859-622-1583. Donations can also be made online by visiting and designating the gift to the Kyle J. Thacker Scholarship Fund, or by mail to University Development, Coates CPO 19, Eastern Kentucky University, 521 Lancaster Ave., Richmond, Ky., 40475.

Published on October 24, 2013

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