With a generous gift to his alma mater, Matt Evans, 1991 EKU finance graduate, aims to ensure that Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) becomes the dominant supplier of a high-quality workforce for the banking and financial services industry.
Two years ago, Evans established an endowed scholarship fund to assist deserving EKU finance majors pursuing a career in banking. Today, his additional donation establishes the Evans Banking and Financial Services Program.
Evans’ latest gift provides significant program support to launch a unique high school recruiting initiative, as well as a graduate placement program to help close a gap in the talent pipeline in the financial services industry.
“The Evans Banking and Financial Services Program has risen to top national status thanks to the dedication of alumni like Matt Evans,” said EKU President David McFaddin. “Matt’s gift, as well as the leadership from the EKU College of Business Banking and Financial Services Advisory Board, will transform banking education to meet the modern demands of the financial services industry.”
“With a dynamic curriculum, combined with engagement and placement with industry, Professor Maggie Abney and the Advisory Board prepare students to compete for current market demands, as well as the innovations and careers of the future,” said EKU College of Business Dean Tom Martin. “Matt’s transformational gift sets a strong foundation for this program’s growth, for years to come.”
Together, the two gifts illustrate Evans’ desire to match EKU students with jobs not only in our service region, but also all over Kentucky, the region and the world. “I am passionate about (the program) because I want our students and future bankers to have all the resources I had when I embarked on my banking career.”
A Danville native, Evans is president and CEO of the Bankers Service Corporation, a bank auditing and consulting firm in Lexington. He is a member of the EKU Foundation Board, the Business Advisory Council and chair of the EKU College of Business Banking and Financial Services Advisory Board.
“Matt has been a driving force behind the creation of this program, and he is a constant champion for EKU students and the success of the banking and financial services industry,” said Professor Abney, director of the EKU College of Business Banking and Financial Services Program. “His passion is driven by the success of our students (in events such as national banking competitions), and we are grateful for the time, treasure and talent that he shares with us.”
The Evans Banking and Financial Services Program includes a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance, with a concentration in banking and financial services. The program also includes a minor and a certificate in banking and financial services, which students with any major may pursue. All programs are offered in-person on campus and online. The banking program partners with Accounting, Marketing, Human Resources Management, Computer Information Systems and Criminal Justice programs to inform students of interdisciplinary degree combinations that align with areas where professionals are needed.
Evans’ gift will enable trips throughout the region to partner with banks in hosting high school students in bank boardrooms to discuss educational and career opportunities. “It will also strengthen the relationship between industry recruiters and EKU to maximize the placement success of our graduates and the impact of our program on the industry,” Abney said.
Evans also envisions the program bringing Kentucky bankers together. “We want to invite our bankers to campus, through conferences like the 2021 Banking Innovation Conference, as well as to meet with and interview students in our suite.”
The banking program that bears his name is “already well-positioned for success,” Evans said. “We have a well-functioning advisory board that includes stalwart members, including Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions Commissioner Charles Vice, among other well-known members of the Kentucky banking community.
“The bottom line,” Evans continued, “is that Kentucky is a banking state, and it always will be. We simply want to be the main supplier of a high-quality workforce for this important industry. And we want our students and graduates to know that they will have an excellent job waiting for them upon graduation. There is no better return on investment for their time and tuition dollars.”
He continued, “Longer term, I’d like to see the Evans Banking and Financial Services Program be the premier training ground for bank management trainees and the future of recruiting for Kentucky bank management. I want the program to be the first thing bankers and bank board members think of when recruiting for banking positions. Jobs are where the rubber meets the road, and we want our graduates employed. Period. By creating a specific curriculum that the industry demands, our graduates will bring added value to financial institutions without many years of on-the-job training. In reality, our graduates will already have training.”
For more information about the Evans Banking and Financial Services Program at EKU, visit finance.eku.edu/banking-and-financial-services-bba.