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KSU Foundation

Gretchen Gravenstein (Photo: KSU Foundation)
A scholarship helps a landscape architecture student study abroad
Gretchen Gravenstein had never left the United States before. But her academic ambitions stretched further than our country’s borders — they stretched all the way to Italy.

Gravenstein is a fourth-year student from Topeka, Kan., enrolled in landscape architecture’s five-year program in the College of Architecture, Planning and Design (APDesign). The college allows students in the second semester of their fourth year to either study abroad or get an internship. Graven stein spoke with other students who had studied abroad, and said it was an experience of a lifetime. “I wanted to study the buildings and landscapes that we had heard about in lectures,” said Gravenstein. “For a designer studying architecture, there is no better way of understanding that than when you are actually in the place.”

Thanks to the Hakimian Study Abroad Scholarship, Gravenstein was able to do just that. The scholarship was established by K-State alumnus Ben Hakimian, founder and president of Hakimian Organization, a New York City real estate development company. The $12,000 annual commitment provides three $4,000 annual scholarships to students in APDesign to expand their creativity and innovation with an international experience, which is a major component of K-State’s goal of becoming a top 50 public research university by 2025. Read the full story here.

Aileen McDaniel: the ultimate gift
In the U.S. alone, more than 3,000 people will die waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Finding a suitable donor is harder than finding a needle in a haystack since only 2 percent of the population are registered donors. Aileen McDaniel, a K-State junior from Shawnee, Kan., is looking to change those odds.

McDaniel was devastated when her father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma four years ago. McDaniel’s father later developed leukemia for which the only known cure is a bone marrow transplant. After much time and waiting, Aileen’s father found a suitable bone marrow donor. “There was only one donor match in the world for him,” she said. “We don’t know who the girl is, but she really gave us the ultimate gift with a couple of hours of her time.”

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This random act of kindness inspired McDaniel to help other families waiting for the ultimate gift of a suitable bone marrow donor. McDaniel, along with classmate, senior Jim Thoennes, coordinated a massive bone marrow donor registry event on the K-State campus. To learn more about McDaniel’s plans to make a difference, click here.

Lifetime of giving, an enduring legacy

Gary and Peggy Edwards, both K-State alumni, have a long history of supporting K-State. Their gifts include endowed scholarship funds in the Department of English and the College of Engineering, and they remain actively involved with the university.

The couple’s most recent support for K-State came in the form of a gift in their estate plan. They are combining a deferred gift with more immediate gifts to establish the Gary and Peggy Edwards Chair in Engineering. Faculty chair sponsorships help supplement salary and research budgets in order to recruit and retain high-achieving faculty. Gary and Peggy Edwards saw it as an opportunity to make a big impact at K-State in a unique way.

“The ability of the university to build its quality is dependent upon the type of faculty it can attract,” Peggy said. “That’s a huge part of it. We are just thankful to be able to do what we can.” To read more about Gary and Peggy Edwards and their support for K-State, click here.

K-State Alumni Association
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