Scholarships Eliminate 5-Hour Commute for UK Senior

Aerial view of farm equipment on a field
By Ravyn Ladenburger

Dylan Gentry was raised in Green County by a single father, a hard-working UK 4-H extension agent who also runs a small business to make ends meet for his two children. Growing up, Dylan tagged along to his father’s 4-H meetings across the state playing with toy tractors on the conference room tables instilling a love of 4-H and the state of Kentucky at an early age.

When Dylan was in high school, he knew he wanted to become a 4-H extension agent just like his father and the only university for him was the University of Kentucky. UK, as a land-grant university, is the only university in Kentucky with classes and programs on extension service training.

“UK is the only school that has all the resources I need to achieve my dream,” Dylan said.

When he applied and was accepted to the University of Kentucky, Dylan had no idea how he would pay for school. “I knew that if I couldn’t earn any scholarships before classes began, I probably wouldn’t enroll,” Dylan said. “It just wouldn’t have made sense for me to pursue a college education because I would have been completely focused on reducing debt and pinching pennies.”

After committing to UK, he earned scholarships to cover his tuition. However, he was unable to receive enough scholarships to cover housing in the Lexington area.

“On days I have class, I leave Green County at 5:30 a.m. and get back home at 11 p.m. I knew I needed to apply for more scholarships to afford housing when I realized it was hard for me to focus and learn in class.” Dylan said. “The days are so long with my commute. Commuting makes it harder for me to get involved and take advantage of the resources UK provides.”

Because of the support of UK donors and Dylan’s excellent academic achievements, he has received seven scholarships. Dylan is the recipient of the University of Kentucky Academic Excellence Scholarship; the Stewart Family Consumer Sciences Cooperative Extension Scholarship; the Ray Forgue Endowed Scholarship in Memory of Zoel Raymond & Mary Helen Forgue and in Memory of Mary Ellen Edmonson; the Janet L. Chatfield Memorial Scholarship; the John H. Ewing Jr. Scholarship; the Epsilon Sigma Phi Extension Endowed Scholarship; and most recently the Joseph P. Kennedy Scholarship.

Now, the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment senior will be able to live in the Lexington area for the fall 2021 semester.

“When I get a scholarship, I am elated. I always call my dad first and he always tells me he’s proud of me for working hard to take financial burdens off him,” Dylan said. “Without scholarships, I wouldn’t even be at UK. These scholarships have changed the course of my life and have given me peace of mind letting me focus on my dreams.”

Dylan is set to graduate this upcoming year. He hopes to become a UK Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences or 4-H Youth Development and one day return to UK for law school.

Dylan’s story shows the importance of supporting scholarships at the University of Kentucky. Scholarships amplify opportunities of student success at the University of Kentucky, one of the main initiatives of the university’s $2.1 billion comprehensive campaign, Kentucky Can: The 21st Century Campaign. Make your gift to the University of Kentucky today here.

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