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Although Ray Kimber only spent a few semesters as a student at Weber State University, it was the beginning of a long-lasting relationship, during which he has contributed to many different departments as a continuous benefactor.
Kimber donated $2,000 last Tuesday to help fund the 14-foot-by-18-foot jumbo screen that will show the NBA Draft live for the Damian Lillard Day celebration at The Junction in downtown Ogden this Thursday.
After discontinuing his formal education at WSU, Kimber started Kimber Kable in 1979 when he created a new speaker cable that reduced noise brought in from lights to the sound system while improving the sound quality, according to the Kimber Kable website.
Kimber also serves on the WSU Arts and Humanities Advisers board and said he contributes as much as he can to WSU.
“Sometimes you can just do good for no good reason,” Kimber said regarding his philanthropic work with the university
Among the areas of his contributions to WSU are WSU Athletics, the department of performing arts and the School of Music.
Madonne Miner, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, said that although Kimber only attended WSU for a year, he has a strong allegiance to it.
“One of the things he has done for us is to make incredible CDs of some of our piano students’ performances and faculty members’ performances,” Miner said. “He also brings in phenomenal performances from outside, and they use the Browning Center and Ray’s equipment and make amazing CDs.”
Carol Biddle, WSU development director with University Advancement, said Kimber got his start at WSU but then continued to educate himself.
“He’s one of those innately brilliant poeple that took it upon himself to learn everything he could,” Biddle said. ”He learned through experimental ways instead of academic training. At the same time, he surrounded himself with people who could mentor and teach him. He’s had good partnerships with our faculty and the learning goes both ways.”
Biddle said Kimber is someone who will always push the limits of what he knows and that he helps nurture the WSU experience for students and faculty.
According to Biddle, Kimber tends to see a need before they even realize they have one, and then he goes out and finds a way to satisfy it. She said he knew the WSU choir needed better-quality risers, so he arranged to purchase some. The new risers increased the number of students who could stand on the risers at one time and were of a safer, sturdier construction.
Biddle shared another example when Kimber helped pull together a local junior high choir performance and created an event program wherein he discussed the value of the arts, particularly music, in schools.
“He is very knowledgeable of the value and importance of the arts in life for education, for the development of children and the enrichment of the community,” Biddle said. “He’s been working hard to bring back the state’s support of art education.”
According to Biddle, Kimber is currently working to restore an organ housed in the Austad Auditorium that Val Browning donated in the 1960s.
“Ray has a fondness for that organ and he loves organ music, so he took that instrument and has been working on it as a labor of love for the past few years, and is thinking that, within a year, he may have it completely done and reinstall it in the Browning Center so the Austad Auditorium can have live concerts again,” Biddle said. “The sound that’s coming out of it now will knock your socks off.”
Kimber also provides the gun that shoots out WSU T-shirts at basketball games, as well as the T-shirts themselves. Biddle said Kimber thinks it’s important to boost school spirit at events and keep the entertainment factor going.
Andrew Gardiner, WSU student body president, said he felt so relieved when Kimber donated the rest of the money needed to get the screen for the Damian Lillard Day celebration.
“I was just so grateful that we have great men like him who are willing to make sacrifices and efforts to better Weber State and to make our student experience that much better,” Gardiner said.