The power of one 

How one K-Stater paved the way for her family to create opportunities for themselves and others

By Marisa Larson

“When I received this scholarship, it gave me the confidence boost I needed to not only continue doing my best academic work possible, but also to apply to dream jobs.” — Madison Obermeyer


From the time Mary Emma “Mamie” Alexander Boyd set foot on campus 120 years ago, five generations of her family have attended Kansas State University.

Mamie was the first in her family to earn a college degree. She worked her way through what was then Kansas State Agricultural College, selling her heifer for $17.50 and working other jobs. She worked at the college printing press where she met her husband, Frank Boyd. Mamie graduated in 1902, then she and Frank began a career in newspaper publishing — a tradition that is carried on by several family members today.

K-State’s residence hall, Boyd Hall, was named for Mamie Boyd (in part) to recognize her importance as the first female president of the K-State Alumni Association. She was best known for her service to K-State, her involvement in newspaper publishing, and community service.

Many of Boyd’s descendants attended K-State. Her son, Frank “Bus” Boyd played basketball, and two of his sons played baseball and football for K-State. Mamie’s other son, McDill “Huck” Boyd went to K-State, but withdrew during the Depression to help his family. He did have a successful community journalism career and created a foundation that partners with K-State through the Huck Boyd Institute for Rural Development and the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media. Other Boyd family members were leaders on campus and in their communities. Most of them met their future spouses in class or through campus activities, leading to even more generations of Wildcats.

Fourth-generation Boyd family K-Stater Steve Logback was the epitome of a Wildcat. “Steve wore purple every day. His dream job was to work for the university,” said Lydia Graham, Steve’s sister. “Steve had that incredible passion and love for K-State.”

Steve Logback passed away unexpectedly in 2017 at the age of 49. He was vice president of communications and marketing at K-State and had previously served as director of communications for the K-State Alumni Association.

To honor Steve and his love of K-State and journalism, his family and friends participated in the K-State Family Scholarship match program by creating the Wildcat Way Scholarship for journalism students.

“I remember hearing about Steve Logback’s passing during my junior year, but it wasn’t until I received this scholarship that I really took the time to read about his life,” said Madison Obermeyer, the first recipient of the scholarship. “I was extremely grateful for the support from the university, but I knew there was also a great storyteller behind that scholarship. I think that the support — both financial and motivational — is important to college students like myself as we are about to enter the workforce, especially in such paramount times in the journalism field. Now more than ever, journalists need to support each other. This scholarship is the perfect representation of that support.”

Steve’s family say it’s fitting that a scholarship in his honor is supporting students, because that’s what Steve did when he worked at K-State. Cousins Zach Logback and Denny Graham, Steve’s nephews and fifth-generation Boyd descendants at K-State, shared that Steve and his family hosted them and their friends for dinner every Sunday night.

“Steve looked out for everyone,” Denny said. “He hosted dinner Sunday nights and he’d tell us to bring our friends. Those dinners really made an impression on our friends because Steve was so helpful and so proud to be a Wildcat. It’s really nice and fitting that a student is getting a scholarship in Steve’s honor.”

“The scholarship personifies Steve,” Zach said. “He always wanted to help people and he looked out for everyone.”

Frank Logback, Steve’s brother, said he didn’t know of anyone who loved K-State more than Steve, and that’s saying a lot coming from a family that bleeds purple. As Frank tells the story, Mamie instilled a love of K-State in all generations of her family and was also held in high esteem by the greater K-State family.

“Mamie would sit in a rocking chair at the end of the court in Ahearn, knitting during games,” Frank said.

Mamie Boyd was a pioneer in many ways, but most importantly, she set her family on a path of success through higher education. Five generations of Boyd Wildcats have produced engineers, journalists, computer scientists, teachers and community leaders. Mamie’s descendants have benefited from K-State, and now to honor their beloved son, brother and uncle, Steve Logback, they’re making it possible for others to attend K-State and set their families on a successful path.

“This scholarship helped support me in the most pivotal time of my college career. As a senior about to graduate — and now as a December graduate — pressure from the real world feels extremely real and prevalent,” Madison said. “Scholarships, to me, are so much more than financial support. When I received this scholarship, it gave me the confidence boost I needed to not only continue doing my best academic work possible, but also to apply to dream jobs.”

Boyd

Read more stories from the summer 2019 issue of Good for K-State.