Leading Change

Alumni support Berney Family Welcome Center and new leadership initiative

Campaign Themes:

“The K-State Welcome Center represents a beginning and a beginning—the front door to your college career, and the front door to your post-graduate career.” - Ellie Everitt


David and Ellie Everitt, Marco Island, Florida, have made a gift of $3 million to Kansas State University — $2 million will go to the School of Leadership Studies at Kansas State University to establish the David and Ellie Everitt Endowment for the Leading Change Institutes, and $1 million will benefit the new K-State Welcome Center.

The Leading Change Institutes is a new initiative to begin the summer of 2015. It will bring together influential leaders and scholars focused on the grand challenges of our times, and capture that thinking through substantive and accessible publications — sharing and testing ideas that confront the global and everyday challenges we face.

The north end of the K-State Welcome Center will host the physical gathering place for students and employers, the technology to facilitate career connections and the career services personnel who are dedicated to guiding K-State students from college to career.

David Everitt is a native of Concordia, Kansas, while Ellie Everitt grew up in Washburn, Illinois. She graduated from K-State in 1973 with a degree in clothing and textiles from the College of Human Ecology. David is a 1975 graduate of K-State’s College of Engineering with a degree in industrial engineering, and he has been recognized in the college’s Hall of Fame.

The Everitts are members of the KSU Foundation’s Presidents Club, a philanthropic leadership organization for friends and alumni of K-State. The Everitts are also KSU Foundation trustees.

“The K-State Welcome Center represents a beginning and a beginning—the front door to your college career, and the front door to your post-graduate career,” Ellie Everitt said. “The welcome center will be the first face of the university that potential students and corporate recruiters see. It is vital that this 'first face' is a positive, attractive face that portrays the strengths and accomplishments of K-State.”

“Leadership, especially in an ever more diverse and divided culture, is all about articulating a vision that creates a consensus of action to achieve results that would otherwise not be achievable,” David Everitt said. “Preparing tomorrow’s leaders for meeting ever more challenging problems — and equipping them with the skills to demonstrate leadership — is one reason we wanted to support the Leading Change Institutes.”

“We aim to make K-State — a land-grant institution committed to serve, in a state with a proud heritage of progressive, pragmatic leadership focused on the common good — the center of conversation, scholarship, and practice of effective civic leadership,” said Dr. Mary Hale Tolar, director of the School of Leadership Studies. “The Everitts’ gift provides the cornerstone of support we need to advance this goal.”

“By supporting the School of Leadership Studies in this new endeavor, the Everitts are helping to move K-State toward being a top 50 public research university by 2025,” said Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University. “The Leading Change Institutes will have a real-life impact on the issues faced by society today and for years to come, putting K-State at the forefront of being a progressive leader and seeker of solutions for our state, nation and world. And by supporting the career services area of the K-State Welcome Center, the Everitts are helping students get a positive jump on their post-college experience.”

Philanthropic contributions to K-State are coordinated by the Kansas State University Foundation. The foundation staff works with university partners to build lifelong relationships with alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students through involvement and investment in the university.

Read more about how your gift can support University Programs and advance the Innovation and Inspiration Campaign.

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