A donation of $10,000 was given to the Morehead State University foundation to establish a scholarship for students with disabilities and requested to rename the Campus Activities Office after 2020 graduate Luke Birkes.
The donor remained anonymous both to the public and to Birkes, who was surprised to hear that he had made an impact during his involvement with Campus Activities during his junior and senior years.
“I was definitely in shock because I never thought in a million years that this would be happening,” said Birkes, a Winchester native who has epilepsy. “I loved my years at Morehead and I never thought when I was doing all these things that any of this would ever happen, and just the fact that they thought so highly of me was very touching.”
Birkes is an advocate for epilepsy who worked to provide MSU with seizure smart classes alongside his twin brother Colby. He hopes the scholarship can help a student with disabilities have the chance to receive an education.
“I’m hoping with more financial help it’ll in turn help them feel better and focus more on school, but I also feel like it, I hope that it’ll give them that type of uplift emotionally because it’s hard enough going to college away from your family when you have a disability,” said Birkes. “I’m speaking from experience because I know that it’s nerve wracking knowing that no one in college knows about your disability as much as your family and friends.”
Birkes also hopes that having a scholarship in his name will help new students with disabilities see that it is possible to make it through college and that they are not alone, even if they do not have a support system away from home.
“Having that person that has gone through college with a disability, it kind of gives them that happy emotion knowing that ‘If he can do it having a disability, then I can too and this guy with a disability like me actually has a scholarship named after him so he must be watching out for people like me,’ so even though it’s not the same as having an everyday support system like I was fortunate enough to have, it gives them something to hold onto,” said Birkes.
The scholarship will be available to Kentucky students who keep a GPA of 2.0 or above and use the Office of Student Disability Services at MSU.