“In my 11 years here at MSU, I think the Craft Academy may be the most transformational activity that has occurred,” said Wayne D. Andrews, MSU president.

State lawmakers budgeted $2.3 million to establish the academy. Alliance Resource Partners CEO Joe Craft pledged $4 million during the next several years in support of the academy. Craft’s gift is the single largest cash gift in the history of MSU.

The Craft Academy will offer unique, project-based STEM+X courses that will enrich educational experiences and develop competencies in entrepreneurship and innovation, design and creativity, and civic and regional engagement.

“This is a special day,” said Craft. “There are certain days in your life that you will remember forever and this is one of them for me.” Craft met the students and told the crowd that he had challenged the first class to make the academy the best high school in the nation.

At the end of two years, students will have earned a minimum of 60 credit hours, finished high school and have the opportunity to further their education at MSU or transfer to any other college/university in Kentucky or elsewhere.