After a loved one has passed, family and friends often search for ways to honor or commemorate that person’s life. Two such families found a way to do just that by establishing scholarship funds at Fort Hays State University, the alma mater of their deceased fathers – Bill Confer and Dr. Larry Good.
Bill Confer, father of Cindy Coldiron and David Confer, was an ardent advocate of higher education. After graduating from Fort Hays State University in 1955, he became a high school science teacher and encouraged all of his students to continue their education. His children have carried on his legacy by establishing a scholarship in his honor – a contribution they know he would be proud of.
“Although our dad grew up in Wichita, he had fond memories of his time at Fort Hays State,” said Confer’s daughter, Cindy. “He was always grateful for the education he received at FHSU.”
“The Bill E. Confer Educator in Science Scholarship will support students in the area of science or STEM education and there continues to be a need for both,” stated Janet Stramel, professor within FHSU’s College of Education. “Through the generous gift of the Confers, we can now offer another scholarship to help fill that need.”
Like the Confer family, siblings Jeffrey Good, Gretchen McIlnay and Heather Holmes took similar action in honoring their father, a 1962 graduate of FHSU. The Dr. Larry R. Good Science Scholarship will support students majoring in biology, pre-med or pre-dentistry. Preference may be given to southwest Kansas high school graduates, as Good was a native of Hugoton. His children established additional scholarship preferences that represent Good’s life and his experiences on campus.
From his time as a student until his passing, Good was an avid supporter of Fort Hays State and was well known in the community as he served Hays area residents as a family dentist for 48 years. Good – student body president and a resident assistant during his college days – knew the university well and could always recall old stories, memories and nostalgia of his alma mater to share with loved ones. Good felt that everyone should have the opportunity to get an education. According to his children, Good would often say, “Go get your degree – an education will benefit you for the rest of your life, and no one can ever take it away from you.”
“Dad had such a fantastic experience at FHSU,” daughter Gretchen said. “The university gave him an amazing foundation for his entire life. While going through the house after Dad passed, we came across letters that he’d sent to his parents (my grandparents) while he was in school at Fort Hays State. At only 21 years old, Dad wrote in one of his letters, ‘I hope that someday I’m able to repay FHSU for all that it is offering me.’ He would be so pleased with this scholarship and would have loved to have met his recipients.”
These two scholarships created in honor of their fathers’ legacies not only pay tribute to the university that their dads treasured, but they also will pave the road for future Fort Hays State students for years to come.
Anyone wishing to establish a scholarship in honor of a friend or family member, please contact Jared Schiel or Mary Hammond at the FHSU Foundation at 785-628-5620 or [email protected]. To learn more, visit https://foundation.fhsu.edu.