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BKD partners and employees make $300,000 gift for KU School of Business building

January 6, 2015
University of Kansas alumni who are partners and employees of BKD — one of the largest CPA firms in the nation — have contributed more than $300,000 toward construction of a new home for the KU School of Business. Construction began this spring, and the new building will open its doors for classes in fall 2016.
Traci and Bill Pickert

KU alumnus Bill Pickert, managing partner of BKD’s offices in Wichita, Kansas, led the fundraising drive within BKD. He and his wife, Traci, met at KU, where they both earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and business administration. Traci is an active community volunteer in Wichita and chair of the board of Music Theatre Wichita.

Bill said he appreciated the support of the 10 other individuals who contributed to BKD’s drive, and the matching gifts made by the firm.

“During my years at the University of Kansas, I not only developed a number of great lifelong relationships, but the education and the mentorship of the professors was instrumental in my professional career,” said Pickert. “This support is an opportunity for the BKD partners and employees to help make sure future generations of Kansans have the same opportunity we have had.”

Bill said he was inspired to initiate the BKD drive after having conversations with Neeli Bendapudi, dean of the KU School of Business.

“Neeli is such a dynamic leader and an inspirational person in her own right,” said Pickert. “I think that’s certainly part of our decision to get on board with the School of Business and the Far Above fundraising campaign. We are impressed with her as a leader, with her enthusiasm for the building project, and with the overall program at the KU School of Business.”

Dean Bendapudi expressed appreciation for the gift. “The School of Business is truly grateful for the gift from BKD’s partners and employees and to Bill and Traci Pickert for their leadership in making this pledge a reality,” she said. “The new building allows us to build a greater sense of community for future KU business students. Alumni support propels the School of Business as a great place to work, a great place to learn and a great place in which to invest.”

BKD, which is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri, serves clients in all 50 states and internationally. The firm provides a wide range of assurance, tax and accounting outsourcing services, including specialized consulting to numerous industries, such as health care, financial institutions, insurance, manufacturing, distribution, construction, real estate and energy, along with not-for-profit organizations, governmental entities, colleges and universities.

The gifts count toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign. Far Above seeks support to educate future leaders, advance medicine, accelerate discovery and drive economic growth to seize the opportunities of the future.

The campaign is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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January 6, 2015
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