Drs. Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau

Drs. Ernst and Sara Lane (57) Volgenau are two long-time supporters of Morehead State University’s mission to equip and prepare educators to make a difference in students’ lives. As an appreciative gesture for their contributions and generosity, MSU has named the College of Education the Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education.    

MSU received a $3 million gift from the Volgenaus for the Soar to New Heights Scholarship Campaign. The Volgenau Scholarship Endowment fund is used to award scholarships to students in teacher education and currently supports students in the MSUTeach Program. This program allows students to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in STEM-based fields within four years while earning teacher certification.     

Beginning in the spring semester 2020, graduates from the College of Education became alumni of the Volgenau College of Education as designated on their diplomas.     

“It has been a wonderful experience working with Drs. Ernst and Sara Volgenau. They are true visionaries and understand the importance of STEM education to our region,” said Jim Shaw, vice president for University Advancement. “Their generous gift will make a tremendous impact on the lives of our students and education in the Commonwealth.”      

The Volgenau family has been visionary leaders in the fields of STEM education, business development and philanthropy. Sara Lane Volgenau graduated from Breckinridge Training School in 1953 and from MSU in 1957 with a degree in elementary education. Ernst graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and later earned a Ph.D. degree in engineering at UCLA. During his full career in the United States Air Force, Ernst worked on research and development for satellite and other space projects. In 1978, he founded SRA International Inc., an information technology company that was listed on the New York Stock Exchange and named to the Fortune magazine list of Best Companies to Work for in America.   

At the University’s spring commencement ceremony in 2016, MSU awarded the Volgenaus honorary Doctor of Public Service degrees for their consistent support of the institution. 

“The Volgenau family has mentioned to me consistently that they believe improving education and the pipeline of STEM teachers will help the economy of Eastern Kentucky, the Commonwealth and the entire nation,” said MSU President Dr. Jay Morgan. “On behalf of our entire University community, we would like to thank the Volgenau family for their generosity, vision and support of our students.”   

To learn more about MSU’s Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education and its programs, call 606-783-2162 or visit      

For more information on the Volgenau Scholarship Endowment, or to establish your own, contact MSU’s Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033, email or visit