University of Kentucky

Hall of Distinguished Alumni

Carol Martin Gatton

Born near Bremen, Kentucky, on May 25, 1932. Banking and Automobile Dealership Entrepreneur. University of Kentucky, B.S., 1954.

C. M. "Bill" Gatton's start as an entrepreneur began as president and general manager of Bill Gatton Motors in Owensboro, Ky., in 1959, just a half-decade after his graduation from college. That lone dealership has since mushroomed to Bill Gatton Chevy - Cadillac, which now incorporates eight additional auto dealerships in Alabama, Texas and Tennessee. He also opened a Honda dealership in Bristol, Tenn., where he remains owner and general manager.

His entry into banking began as a director of Central Bank & Trust Company in Owensboro, where he would later be named chairman of the executive committee. He would later chair Area Bancshares Inc., an Owensboro holding company that owns four banks.

Other banking interests include the Bank of Bloomington, Ind.; Crestwood Banking Co. of Crestwood, Ky.; First City Bank & Trust Co.; Farmers National Bank of Glasgow, Ky. and the Bowling Green Bank in Bowling Green, Ky.

In addition to his degree at UK, he holds an M.B.A. in finance and banking from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Graduate School.

Past and present business association affiliations include the National Dealer Council of Chevrolet and Cadillac Motor Divisions of the General Motors Corporation and the General Motors Presidents Council.

He has been active in civic interests in Bristol, Tenn. and Owensboro.

He is a military veteran, entering the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. He completed two years of active duty in 1956.

In 1995, he made a multi-million dollar gift to the College of Business and Economics at UK, the largest gift ever made to the University. The gift has enabled the college to advance the quality of education available to students enrolled and the quality of research conducted here. In his honor, the UK Board of Trustees later renamed the college "The Carol Martin Gatton College of Business and Economics."

Carol Martin "Bill" Gatton was inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni on May 19, 2000.