Investing in tomorrow

Larry and Laurel Erickson help current and future K-Staters

by Mary Rankin and Allie Lousch

“Larry and Laurel’s gift supports student travel, faculty travel and training, emergency equipment repairs and safety improvements. For Larry to have such confidence in our department and our work is a boost in every way.” 

Jim Edgar, Department of Chemical Engineering head and university distinguished professor


Since his first semester at Kansas State University in 1957, Larry Erickson has been a student, research fellow and instructor … often all at once. After more than 60 years of study and discovery, he still keeps consistent office hours throughout the week and is an active researcher in the Tim Taylor Department of Chemical Engineering. Because of Larry’s prolific academic and professional commitment, he understands how students and faculty must be resourceful and collaborative to make best use of funding and to advance knowledge.

“I’ve had many good experiences during that time,” said Larry, emeritus professor of chemical engineering. “I have always appreciated the quality of education and scholarships I received.”

As a way of showing that appreciation, he and his wife, Laurel, established the Larry E. and Laurel Erickson Chemical Engineering Enrichment Fund in support of departmental professional travel to meetings, conferences and workshops, seminars and visiting lecturers.

“Larry and Laurel’s gift supports student travel, faculty travel and training, emergency equipment repairs and safety improvements,” said Jim Edgar, Department of Chemical Engineering head and university distinguished professor. “For Larry to have such confidence in our department and our work is a boost in every way.”

The Ericksons established a charitable remainder unitrust or CRUT to contribute to an enrichment fund for the chemical engineering department. The CRUT provides the Ericksons a charitable tax deduction while paying a specific percentage of the trust’s assets each year to them. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal will be made available to the chemical engineering department.

Aside from creating the enrichment fund, Larry and Laurel have contributed to the university since 1975 in support of many colleges, K-State Libraries, Global Campus, K-State Athletics and toward a graduate student fellowship fund established by a donor with Erickson’s name attached to it.

“When we invest in students, we do not know their future contributions to society,” Larry said. “Graduate students at K-State have gone on to become university faculty, as well as leaders in government and industry.”

K-State researchers benefiting from Larry and Laurel’s gift are working to improve energy efficiency of organic matter used as fuel. They are also working on issues related to health care, national security and improving crop yields.

“The Erickson fellowship embodies Larry and Laurel Erickson’s commitment to education and support of next-generation engineering researchers,” said Bin Liu, assistant professor of chemical engineering. “With this support, graduate students in my group are able to pursue innovative research.”

Larry Erickson has also donated his professional time at K-State since taking on emeritus professor status in 2015.

“Financial support for our educational program has been impacted by reductions in state funding. My motivations for continuing to serve without compensation include the opportunity to work with students and to contribute to the challenges society faces,” he said. “I believe the impact of my time has been as meaningful as our financial gifts.”

Larry and Laurel Erickson

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