Kansas Wesleyan University Saturday night was able to pull off a first-ever event which was three years in the making. As part of Spring Alumni, Family & Community Weekend, the school hosted its inaugural Scholarship Gala at the Hilton Garden Inn.
The idea for a Scholarship Gala came about a couple of years ago. Plans were set for events in 2020 and 2021 but had to be scrapped because of the pandemic.
The event Saturday night was a gathering of KWU current and past family, friends and supporters. The purpose was to recognize and honor current scholarship students, recognize those individuals, families, and businesses who make scholarships possible, and to scholarship fund raise.
Among those who spoke was former Kansas Governor Bill Graves. Graves, a Salina native and KWU graduate, spoke about his time at Kansas Wesleyan and how even though he was a very “average student”, it provided the foundation for his future.
Among other things, the largest gift in school history was recognized, a gift in excess of $4 million from the estate of Dale Olson. The Franzen family was also recognized for establishing an endowed scholarship fund. Four of the five siblings from the Colorado family attended Kansas Wesleyan. The Franzen’s rescheduled a previously planned international trip and instead all came to Salina, 30 of them, to attend the event in Salina.
As the evening wound down, KWU President Dr. Matthew Thompson announced $435,500 in new scholarship funds had been pledged.
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Photo: Former Kansas Governor Bill Graves speaks at the KWU Scholarship Gala.