“We are fortunate we can help our kids with the cost of college, but there are a lot of people who struggle with the cost of a college education. We believe whole heartedly in the concept of ‘paying it forward,’ and this is our way of supporting future K-Staters.” –Steve Swanson
Honoring those who inspired and supported them throughout their lives, Steve and Kristen Swanson have created two scholarships to help Kansas State University students.
Kristen was passionate about becoming a teacher and chose to get her degree from K-State because of the faculty and because she could get into the classroom more quickly than through other programs. Steve, her high school sweetheart, joined her at K-State to study construction science.
The Swansons have created the Bill and Judy Swanson Construction Science Scholarship in honor of Steve’s parents. His mother died when he was young and his father passed soon after Steve graduated from K-State. Steve says the scholarship is a way to say thank you for the support and encouragement his father gave him. The scholarship will benefit students and the construction science industry.
“There is a need for quality construction management graduates,” Steve said. “It’s not an easy program and we hope this scholarship will help students stay in the program instead of choosing to get an easier, faster and less expensive degree.”
The Swansons also created the Kristen Strongman Swanson Elementary Education Scholarship to help lessen the financial burden on students so they may concentrate on their education and maximize the opportunities available to them.
“We believe teachers are the foundation of our society and it’s everyone’s responsibility to support students who want to follow this avocation,” Kristen said. “We have personally seen with our kids how an engaged and skillful teacher can change the trajectory of a kid’s future, and it’s important to provide the opportunity for people to become teachers.”
Kristen and Steve hope these scholarships help students pursue their dreams and create a positive ripple effect in their chosen fields.
“As parents of one current college student and one starting next year, we have an intimate understanding of how expensive college can be,” Steve said. “We are fortunate we can help our kids with the cost of college, but there are a lot of people who struggle with the cost of a college education. We believe whole heartedly in the concept of ‘paying it forward,’ and this is our way of supporting future K-Staters.”
For Sue Maes and Dennis Hemmendinger, giving back to Kansas State University had always been part of their family’s plan. The KSU Foundation Family Scholarship match initiative provided these K-State alumni the opportunity to step forward and bring their gift to reality.
"Ray Navarro has been an absolute ‘savior’ to many students in the K-State drum line over the years,” said Dr. Frank Tracz, director, K-State marching band. “His support and generosity has been the difference between staying in band and school, and dropping both for many of our students."
Flying and teaching are two things Bill Gross loves most about his job as an aviation instructor at Kansas State University Polytechnic. It’s because of these passions he and his wife, Elaine, participated in the K-State Family Scholarship Program and created a scholarship for Polytechnic students.
K-State alumni, Craig and Carolyn Swann, always wanted to show appreciation to their alma mater by giving back. Their aspiration finally came to life with help from the K-State Family Scholarship Program — an initiative to increase scholarship opportunities for students.