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Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas State University

Faculty relationships inspire couple’s estate plan

Mel and Marsha Stout

Kansas State University is more than the place where Mel Stout learned about landscape architecture. It's where he met professors who mentored him throughout his long, successful career.

It's the place where he has returned time and again to mentor the next generation. Perhaps most importantly, it's the place he met his wife.

A hometown friend introduced the Paxico, Kansas, farm boy to Marsha at a dormitory social mixer on campus.

"It was all over for me then," he said, laughing.

After their graduation and marriage in 1968, the couple moved to Portland, Oregon, where Mel was a leader in multiple projects like the groundbreaking 40-Mile Loop around the metropolitan area.

The couple always remained supportive of the K-State Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning, where Mel's career began.

"Going to Kansas State made me aware of a much bigger world and that was fantastic," he said.

Mel's commitment grew as he served on the department's professional advisory board, and when planning their estate, the couple included a bequest to create the Mel and Marsha Stout Faculty Fellowship in Landscape Architecture. For Mel, it was a tribute to the fresh-faced group of new professors that meant so much to him in the late 1960s.

"They taught me how to solve problems while being mindful of the land and environment, and how to design for living in a sensitive way with the environment," he said. "There are many facets to landscape architecture, but I wanted to especially promote design as evident in all the things that we do."

Through their estate plan, K-State will now be the place where Mel and Marsha Stout leave their legacy to help sustain the faculty relationships that meant so much to his life and career.