Meet Our Donors

We are thankful for those who have made an estate gift to K-State. Here are their stories.

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"Take what you have and do something great with it"

"If you have something you care about, spell it out in your will and determine where you want your assets and hard work to go," he said. "Hopefully, you've magnified that money over time, and now it can go to magnify someone else's life."

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John Niemann

John Niemann's first year at Kansas State University was 1989, the same year Bill Snyder began coaching K-State football. Much has changed since then. What hasn't changed is K-State's commitment to excellence and the College of Agriculture's pivotal role in meeting the university's land-grant mission. For John, the College of Agriculture and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity prepared him professionally and connected him personally, growing him into the leader he is today. This is why John and his family created the John Niemann Family Agriculture Facilities Fund and the John Niemann Family Agriculture Scholarship.

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Gifts for first-class leaders and world-class entertainment

"Both of our fathers were in the military," Paul says. "Sharon's dad served during World War II, right out of high school and was unable to go to college after the war. After dropping out of high school to help his mother raise six brothers and two sisters, my dad served five years in the Army during WWII and then 23 years in the Air Force. The Coley Military Scholarship honors their service. We could not think of a better way to thank the men, women and spouses of our military than to establish a scholarship for them."

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Wes and Jan Houser bank on the future

With Wes’ business leadership in the community and Jan’s civic leadership as a Columbus, Kansas, city councilwoman, education and supporting their community are important to the Housers. They created an estate gift, using a charitable gift annuity, to support K-State students in the College of Business Administration. By creating a charitable gift annuity, the Housers realized a charitable tax deduction and a fixed stream of income related to the gift for the rest of their lives. They also applied a portion of the gift now to create the Wes and Jan Houser Scholarship and support students today.

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Oswalt family commits to helping K-Staters lead

Tim and Lisa Oswalt created the Oswalt Family Leadership Scholarship with a bequest in their will to support K-State juniors and seniors. "We're not in a hurry to initiate our wills, so we asked for a way to impact students now. A yearly donation was a sustainable way to help current students before the endowment starts," they explain.

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Farmland supports scholarships for ag students

In 1952, Robert and Virginia met at a Methodist Wesley Foundation event. He was a junior in agricultural education and she was a freshman studying nursing. A movie date led to another and by fall 1954, they were married and on their way to Robert's first teaching job in western Kansas.

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Investing in student-athletes at K-State

The Wileys share a love for K-State's people and the place. Together, they created a planned gift to provide K-State student-athletes with academic support and scholarships. Nita works with K-State student-athletes as an academic team mentor and study hall supervisor and appreciates the opportunity to encourage and support them now and in the future.

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Fashioning a legacy

When love and memory are woven into philanthropy, the strongest threads are often family. Wanting to honor his wife, Janet, Dick Rees donated many of Janet's 1950s and 60s business and party attire to Kansas State University's Historic Costume and Textile Museum. With this gift and a planned gift to the museum, he has made a significant investment into future generations of K-Staters and — without realizing it — formed a family at K-State.

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Tractor teams & dream machines

"Having the support of the Helwigs has helped to guarantee the continued success of our team by allowing us to spend more time designing our tractor instead of trying to raise money to build it," said Braden Mishler, senior in biological systems engineering. "With the guaranteed source of funds for the future, it allows us to invest in some newer equipment to build our tractor as well as the financial ability to test different things that we were previously unable to."

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Sharing the love across K-State

Deb Shuck '84 leaves no doubt about her love for Kansas State University. Having logged countless study hours in Hale Library's stacks, graduating in accounting from the College of Business Administration and cheering for the Cats over many seasons, Deb's K-State experience spans decades and the campus she loves. Deb and her husband, George (a Wayne State Wildcat), began investing in K-State programs about eight years after Deb's graduation. They started small, and where they felt their gifts would have the most impact.

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A place to catch their breath

Recently, Roger worked with the KSU Foundation team to establish two endowed funds to help give K-State students and Kansans a place where they, too, can relax and unwind. By including a charitable gift to K-State in his will, he created the Roger Kinderknecht Fund for Innovative Research at the Konza Prairie Biological Research Station and a fund in support of the university's LGBTQ Resource Center currently at home in Holton Hall.

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Power of community

Jim's experience with the KSU Foundation included helping other donors establish hundreds of gifts to KSU, which allowed donors to receive income for their lifetimes. He and Carol recognized the considerable advantages of creating a charitable remainder trust (CRT). Funding a CRT with appreciated stock allowed them to avoid capital gains tax, obtain charitable deductions, receive lifetime income, diversify their portfolio and endow a scholarship to support K-State future students.

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Modest gift, powerful impact

"I like the K-State PROUD concept [of Student Opportunity Awards] and John wants to focus on the College of Agriculture because he's a farmer," Nancy says. "We wanted to make it simpler for someone to ask for the $75 they need for a project or emergency. Emilie [the Blackwells' development officer] came up with an idea to implement the PROUD conc

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A first-generation student gives back

First-generation students arrive at Kansas State University with more than their hopes and aspirations; they often arrive carrying the dreams of their families. So it was with Brian Paulson who left rural Chapman, Kansas, in the late 1970s to study engineering technology at K-State's College of Engineering. Brian will tell you that K-State launched him — gave him the foundation for a successful career.

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A gift that grows

"I returned to the farm in 1979, just prior to the ag crisis of the 1980s," Rich says. "With two college degrees, I had never taken a single class in agriculture. (Rich's second degree was a Juris Doctorate from Southern Methodist University in 1975.) Knowing I knew nothing about farming made me more dependent upon the specialists at K-State. I learned from them and have returned to help others learn."

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Helping K-Staters finish strong

To fund the scholarship, Russell and Nancy worked with the KSU Foundation gift planning team and designated K-State — via the KSU Foundation — as a beneficiary of an individual retirement account (IRA) the Reinerts owned. With K-State as a named IRA beneficiary, the Reinerts are not only saving for their future now, they are helping upcoming students afford their own K-State accounting education.

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K-State band marches on thanks to donor's generosity

Ray's band-inspired giving now includes the Navarro Marching Band Percussion Leaders Scholarship, which financially helps student section leaders as they devote their time and energy to the Pride of Wildcat Land. Working with the KSU Foundation, Ray provides annual gifts — scholarships available today — and has created a plan that will build an endowment through a deferred gift.

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A family's class act of planned giving

“The Ellithorpe family scholarship graciously provided me with the support to pursue veterinary medicine outside of the classroom,” says Chen, now an associate veterinarian. “I was able to volunteer and help local communities with veterinary care and gained a lot of surgical and anesthetic experience. I am grateful for the Ellithorpe scholarship, and have applied these new skills to my current position.”

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Cornerstone of success

Mark Schonhoff ’88, a retired vice president for Cerner Corporation, knew early in his high school years that he wanted to study computer science at K-State. Attending K-State basketball games with friends and family only solidified his interest in the university and his desire to learn here. Once enrolled at K-State, Schonhoff ’s passion for our school grew as he met influential professors who helped him succeed.

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A priceless impact

Fond memories of K-State and the lifelong friends made there, along with a family tradition of giving back, inspired Joni Wisdom Riley to include K-State in her estate plan. Riley received a degree in dietetics from K-State’s College of Human Ecology in 1975. Since then, she has been grateful for the job security and endless opportunities her education has afforded her. She now plans to give back to the program that benefited her own life so greatly.

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Helping K-State do more with less

When the opportunity arose to make a difference in the lives of K-State students by creating an estate plan, the couple was eager to do so. Estate gifts through a will or trust allow donors to retain lifetime control of their assets; establishing a plan now and funding it later.

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Son of lifelong educators supports future teachers with gift in his will

With his wife, Judy, he created the Stauffer Scholarship Fund in Education for K-State students. A bequest in the their will supplements their current giving toward the fund, allowing the couple to make a difference for students now and continue that impact after their lifetime.

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Couple's gift inspires K-State students

Goering scholars have been a fixture in the College of Engineering for so long that some have graduated and paid it forward by creating scholarships that benefit students like Andrew Collins, senior in IMSE. The Valley Center, Kansas, student expressed his appreciation for the legacy of philanthropy that started with the Goerings' gift almost three decades prior.

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Former football star uses life insurance to instill leadership in the next generation

"I hope we will begin to see alumni in the younger age ranges understand that they can make significant gifts through deferred giving," Kevin said. "Giving a quarter million dollar gift is not as expensive as you might think it would be, if you meet with the development staff at the Foundation and talk about the different options. It feels good to support the future of the university because I know previous generations provided support that was of great benefit to me during my time at Kansas State."

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A much bigger world

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.

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Vietnam P.O.W. survivor helps education take flight at K-State Salina

The Talleys toured the Salina campus and airplane hangars, impressed with the teaching technology and friendly atmosphere. After researching investment options, they chose to establish the Talley Family K-State Salina Excellence Fund through a charitable gift annuity because of the tax deductions, exemptions and structured payments they would receive.

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Couple plans to leave a triple legacy at K-State

"I want to touch people in generations we'll never see," he adds. "I want to choose where my money goes. The neat thing about the KSU Foundation is you can literally designate exactly how you want that money utilized. You have control over it, even after you're gone."

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Honoring the past, giving for the future

"It seemed like a logical way to celebrate the 150th anniversary in terms of something that seemed doable and appropriate. Giving a gift annuity is a different way to contribute than just giving the university $150,000. It seems to be a logical way for us to move toward retirement and have retirement income. We see this as a win-win opportunity, as it's good for K-State and it's goo

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Estate gift helps Michigan student achieve K-State dream

Endowed scholarships, like the Zimmerman Milling Scholarship, are invested as part of the KSU Foundation endowment to have a permanent and lasting effect on generations of K-State students. For Marie, that effect is twofold. Not only is it helping with her out-of-state tuition, but it encourages her to think about how she can make a difference.

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Alumni gifts ensure professor's memory lives on

In recent years, K-State geology students have taken field expeditions to Yellowstone National Park and Death Valley National Park — largely with help from the Beck Fund. It was exactly the sort of purpose Ratcliff envisioned when he supported the fund with matching donations from former employer Kerr-McGee Corporation, coupled with a bequest in his trust.

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Scholarship continues a 'strong family tradition'

It's no surprise Charles went on to graduate from Kansas State University's College of Agriculture in 1938 and worked for several years as a county extension agent. He traveled extensively during his Army service in World War II and later with his job setting up grain export deals for the Department of Agriculture. Still, Kansas always remained his home.

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Every student has a story: Estate gift helps graduates write the next chapter

Whether a fourth-generation K-Stater or a first-generation college graduate, there's a story behind each student earning a Kansas State University diploma this spring. These are stories of perseverance, passion and community. They inspire generations before them — people like King and Terry Foster — to reach out, give to K-State and support the path to graduation.

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Rewarding students who get involved

"If all there was to a university was truly classroom learning, you could make a strong argument for doing it remotely and not leaving your room or your house," Aaron Otto says. "But I believe there's so much more to the experience outside the classroom as well and the culture and interaction that takes place through campus involvement and campus leadership in student groups."

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Scholarship honors Lee and Wanda Parr's lifelong love of K-State

"Dad thought it was even more important for his daughters to get an education. If they ever became sole support for their family, the financial opportunities would be greater with a degree. He urged all his friends to support their daughters as well as their sons to get a college education."

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Alumna includes K-State in her will to honor professor, mentor

After a lengthy career spanning academia, all levels of government and the private sector, Herbel began to consider her estate plan and how she might incorporate a gift to honor the professor who "changed her life." She decided to support the Louis H. Douglas Scholarship with a bequest in her will.

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Alumnus uses estate plan to invest in undergraduate research

Through Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas State University, Wildcats worldwide are making a difference by investing in the area of K-State they care about most. For Brad Chilcoat '84, that means supporting undergraduate student research in the Department of History.

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Estate plan protects pets, provides peace of mind

"My immediate family is gone, and I do not have anyone I feel would be able to provide the love and care I desire for my kitties," says Roye. "I spent hours and days searching every potential program that offered perpetual pet care or something similar. K-State's pet program stood out above all the others. Caring, compassionate people who wanted to know my pets and what I wanted for them made K-State the place for me to get the peace of mind I desperately wanted."

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Band photographer's estate plan supports band scholarships

Wildcats worldwide are making a difference by investing in the area of K-State they care about most. Leon "Red" Skelton is one such supporter, who recently established a scholarship for the K-State Marching Band through a bequest in his will.

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Alumni benefit from K-State, pay it forward through estate plan

The Frasiers named the KSU Foundation as owner and beneficiary of their life insurance policies, designating future support for K-State students to study overseas and for the Alumni Association to create the Alumni Excellence Award to honor exceptional K-State alumni.

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Alumni advance K-State's strategic goals with investment in faculty

The couple created the Hininger Professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences to help recruit and retain top faculty. The Hiningers now reside in the Nashville, Tennessee area, where Damon works as CEO of Corrections Corporation of America. They fondly recall their days at K-State, where Damon earned a degree in sociology in 1991 and Carrie earned a degree in accounting in 1994.

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K-State fan's estate plan supports marching band leaders

Some might think of Ray Navarro as impatient. Truth be told, he's more passionate than impatient. Navarro created a scholarship for the K-State Marching Band percussion leaders through a gift in his estate plan. Interested in making a difference sooner than later, he also decided to fund his scholarship now with annual gifts.

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Making special memories possible with a 'win-win' gift

Through a gift in their will and a charitable gift annuity, the couple created the David and Lisa Rock Agriculture Scholarship for undergraduate students in the College of Agriculture. The charitable gift annuity is a mutually-beneficial gift, providing the Rocks with an income tax deduction and a guaranteed lifetime income stream while ensuring an eventual donation to benefit their scholarship.

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Creating opportunities with a legacy gift

"Mrs. Crowther's generosity allowed me to focus on excelling in the rigorous veterinary curriculum and expanding my education with unpaid extracurricular activities," said Jennifer Aucott, a third-year veterinary medicine student who received Crowther's scholarship.

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Looking out for K-State's future

The K-State welcome he knew as a student, however, brings him back to Manhattan and makes him want to give in whatever way he can. Tim and Lisa Oswalt created the Oswalt Family Leadership Scholarship as a bequest in their will to advance opportunities for K-State juniors and seniors who demonstrate leadership while at the university. The first scholarship will be awarded for the fall 2018 semester.

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A family's commitment to education

Powered by a conviction that education matters to Kansans and inspired by Rod's machine design class professor, Dr. Bill Monday, the Nashes chose a variable annuity to create a tax-deferred gift to advance K-State. They established an endowed scholarship and a mechanical engineering excellence fund, which assist K-State undergraduate mechanical engineering students pay for college.

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Former K-State faculty member makes a ’win-win‘ gift to benefit future students

K-State alumni Ray and Carolyn Waller, Wichita, Kansas, have found a way to benefit future K-State students while helping themselves through retirement. The Wallers have used a charitable gift annuity to set up a future scholarship for undergraduates or graduate students in statistics.

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Now is the time

When you think of “team,” do you envision uniformed K-State Wildcats? Rob Stohlman and Vanda White make a great team and K-State partners. This past summer, they worked with K-State to create a blended gift supporting graduate researchers of American military history.

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Learning from the curve balls

"I really wanted to find a way to support the (revitalization and expansion) project financially," Kurt says. "Kristen and I met with our financial advisor and with KSU Foundation representatives. We realized a gift through life insurance was the perfect answer for what we wanted to do. It turns out naming K-State as a beneficiary (via the KSU Foundation) in our life insurance policy made this gift easier than we'd ever thought possible."

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