As a soil and crop production specialist, Herbert F. Massey Jr. traveled the world, helping farmers and governments to grow crops. Working through the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, he enabled countries to maximize their land so that they could be more self-sustaining.
But perhaps his biggest impact was made back home. During his long career at UK, Massey established a variety of funds benefiting students, faculty, researchers and international studies.
“He dedicated nearly five decades of service to the University of Kentucky,” said Robert Massey, one of Herb's nephews and co-executor of his estate. “He helped develop departments of agriculture in many developing countries, all over the world. His passion was to see UK students and foreign students have the ability to receive the necessary education to return to their respective home countries or states and make a difference. His entire life was devoted to helping people receive a quality education. His generous endowment will ensure this for generations to come.”
His generosity extended to the Markey Cancer Center nurses and nurse technicians, gynecological oncology fellows and undergraduate students.
“The Masseys did not have any children, and they always held the University of Kentucky in high regard,” said Don Rose, a family friend and co-executor of Herb's estate. “They wanted to provide the university and College of Agriculture more opportunities through their estate.”
In June 2019, Herb died at the age of 93, leaving a large portion of his estate to the university, creating the College of Agriculture Study Abroad Fund, Jeannine Massey Fund and Herbert Massey Research Support Fund. The funds will enable students to study overseas and provide assistantships and research funding for graduate students in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
“Herb spent his whole career at UK and traveled extensively,” Rose said. “He saw how travel shaped his worldview and taught him to appreciate other cultures. His house was filled with antiques from the many places he visited.
“UK gave him a good life and he wanted to benefit it in some way,” Rose said. “He saved and made shrewd investments and was able to use his earnings to give back to the university he loved.”
The three funds joined five others Herb and his wife, Jeannine, established during their lifetime: Carol Mayer Memorial Nursing Endowment, Jeannine B. Massey Memorial Endowment, College of Agriculture International Programs Gift Fund, Grant Davis Undergraduate Scholarship Fund and the College of Agriculture Faculty Undergraduate Scholarship.
“We are grateful when such a distinguished person sees fit to invest in the future of the college in so many thoughtful ways,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
“Herb was a great man with a great sense of humor,” said Mike Richey, vice president of philanthropy and alumni engagement, who worked with Herb for many years in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “He understood the impact of empowering other people to realize their potential. Throughout the world, he enabled countries to feed their citizens and to strengthen their economies. At UK, he supported and encouraged students and fellow researchers and increased opportunities for people across campus through his generosity. We are grateful for his service and for his commitment to improving UK.”
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