Development news

KCES receives grant from Mansfield's Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation

A $22,500 grant from the Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation of Mansfield, Ohio, will fund several improvements at the Kenyon Center for Environmental Study (KCES), including an expansion of thematic gardens and construction of an observation porch.

"We are very grateful to the Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation for this generous gift, and we're excited about the new projects this funding will make possible," says Inese B. Sharp, director of the KCES.

The grant will fund a number of improvements:

Created in 1995, the KCES supports environmental studies at Kenyon and provides students and the public with opportunities to participate in a broad range of environmental activities. Located on College-owned property off State Route 229 near Gambier, the center is part of a 380-acre tract that includes creeks, farmland, forest, recreational trails, river, and wetland.

The grant from the Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation will support improvements at the KCES that will benefit Kenyon students and the community, notes Jordan Professor of Environmental Science E. Raymond Heithaus '68, who is the academic director for the center. "What I really like about this project is that it demonstrates the kind of synergy that can develop between an academic program and a community-outreach program," he says. "Each is very important, and the grant will help us meet goals in both areas."

Last fall, approximately twenty students from the College served as leaders for field trips that brought more than four hundred area preschool and elementary-school students to the KCES. Overall, more than one hundred volunteers work on KCES programs and events.

The Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation established in 1977 by its donors, Warren Rupp and his wife, Frances. The primary mission of the foundation is to advance the philanthropic ideals of its founders by supporting charitable activities that improve the quality of life in North Central Ohio. The foundation's areas of interest include programs that educate youth and that protect and conserve thenatural environment.

Scholarship holders encouraged to write to donors

F or many years, Kenyon administrators have been writing to the donors and families of scholarship funds, telling them a little about the students who received aid from their gifts to the College. This year, however, recipients of named scholarship funds are being encouraged to write to the donors themselves.

"Donors and their families have a natural curiosity about the students they are helping," says Lisa A. Minklei, director of donor relations. "They want to know about the students' academic and extracurricular interests, where their hometowns are, what their post-graduation plans are, and anything else that helps fill in the picture of who the students are.

"We decided no one could do that as effectively as the students themselves," she explains. "Many students have been eager for this contact and for the chance to thank their donors."

In late January, students were invited to a "Dear Donor" pizza party to give them the opportunity, along with the pens, paper, and snack energy, to write letters to their benefactors and express their gratitude. Both the turnout and enthusiasm at the event were high.

Challenge to senior parents encourages stretch gifts

E ach year, parents of graduating Kenyon students engage in a unique fundraising effort known as the Senior Parent Challenge.

The program began five years ago when a small group of parents of members of the Class of 1992 established the first challenge. Their goal was to encourage fellow parents of seniors to make stretch gifts to the Kenyon Parents Fund in honor of their sons' and daughters' upcoming graduation, using a pool created by their own gifts to the College to match new or increased gifts to the Kenyon Parents Fund from other senior parents.

The challenge was a great success, helping the College reach new levels of parental support. The program has been enthusiastically embraced by the parents of each of the ensuing classes, and it is now a firmly entrenched tradition. And as the challenge has grown, so has its importance to the success of each year's overall Kenyon Parents Fund campaign.

The parents of the Class of 1997 have taken the Senior Parent Challenge to new heights by setting impressive standards against which future challenges will be measured. This year's challenge has the largest pool ever--$75,800--and the highest overall goal ever: $120,000.

Reaching the goal will also set a Kenyon Parents Fund single-year record for gifts from one class. Only one other class, the Class of 1996 during its Senior Parent Challenge, surpassed $100,000 in gifts in one year.

"The challengers for this year's effort deserve sincerethanks and recognition," says Lisa Dowd Schott '80, director of alumni and parent relations and annual funds. The challengers are senior parents Penelope and William Bardel, Bettina and Stephen Bepler, Edna and George Hartmann, Elizabeth and Geoffrey Hazard, Margaret Hill, Whitney and Phillip Long, and Karin and John McCormick, along with Mrs. William Rowe, grandmother of senior Elisha W. Long and George W. Conner '92.

College books reveal strong year-end giving totals

D onations to Kenyon as of December 31, 1996, were up $1.8 million over last year's figures for the same period, with the total for the first six months of the 1996-97 fiscal year at more than $3 million. Last year's giving to the College as of December 31 was $1.2 million.

The greatest increases were in giving by current and past Kenyon parents, trustees, and friends of the College. While the number of parent donors was marginally lower this year (600 instead of 616), dollars given increased by more than 400 percent, reaching $1,061,507. Donations by trustees and friends were also up by more than 400 percent, with total gifts of $539,565 and $164,757, respectively.

Giving to miscellaneous funds, such as lectures, library funds, outreach programs, prizes, professorships, and unendowed scholarships, constituted 62 percent of the dollars raised. Gifts to the Kenyon Fund and Parents Fund came in second at 22 percent, while gifts to endowment accounted for 15 percent.

Pittsburgh Conference awards chemistry equipment grant

A Pittsburgh Conference Memorial College Grant will help Kenyon extend the scope of projects for students in its introductory chemistry laboratory courses.

The $6,000 grant, along with $6,000 in funds from the College, will allow Kenyon to purchase a UV-VIS spectrophotometer. "We certainly appreciate this generous gift from the Pittsburgh Conference," says Professor of Chemistry Russell H. Batt, who submitted the grant proposal. "The spectrophotometer will play a significant role in the enhancement of the teaching of chemistry at the College."

Purchase of the spectrophotometer is part of a three-year program to enhance the introductory laboratory program. Batt says the enhancements, which include the addition of updated computer instrumentation, will provide opportunities for introductory chemistry students to investigate chemical systems much as "real-life" chemists investigate such systems.

Kenyon's proposal was selected for funding by a committee of sixteen judges representing the technical societies responsible for the program. Ninety-eight proposals were received, with fifteen selected for funding.

The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy is a nonprofit corporation sponsored by theSpectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh and the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh. Its annual conference, "PittCon," attracts thirty thousand scientists from around the world. Proceeds from the conference support grants and scholarships for science education and research, with approximately $750,000 awarded each year.

Mays donate three acres in Gambier to College

A long-time love for Gambier and Kenyon has inspired Mr. and Mrs. Donald May to donate a picturesque three-acre tract of land off West Brooklyn Street to the College.

The property, valued at more than $50,000, is on the north side of West Brooklyn just before the sharp curve that carries the street down to Ohio Route 308. The heavily wooded hillside lot will remain in its natural state, for at least ten years, as part of Kenyon's effort to preserve the beauty of the hilltop campus and surrounding area.

"It's a unique piece of property," says Jane Parker May, who grew up in Gambier and met her husband while he was attending Kenyon. (Donald May is a 1942 graduate of the College.) "Gambier is very special to us. It's the most wonderful little town in the world," added Mrs. May.

Five generations of her family have lived in and around Gambier. Mrs. May was raised in a Gambier home now known as Timberlake House, in which the Integrated Program in Humane Studies is based.

The Mays live in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where they have long been active in community-service work. Donald May is a retired physician, and he and his wife have served as medical missionaries with the Christian Medical and Dental Society since 1977.

"The College is delighted to accept this generous gift," says Douglas Givens, vice president for development. "It is an excellent match with one of Kenyon's most compelling needs--the preservation of the rural, natural environment of the area."

Two new scholarship funds established honoring alumni

T hanks to the generosity of two Kenyon alumni, new scholarship programs at the College have been established in their names.

The William A. Hopple III Scholarship Fund honors William A. Hopple III '24. Income from the fund is to be used to support Kenyon's scholarship program. The fund was established by an outright gift of three different stocks. A resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, Hopple is the retired chairman of Stearns and Foster.

Bruce W. Kenyon '36 has also created a scholarship fund in his own name. The Bruce W. Kenyon Scholarship Fund was established with a combination of a two-life 7.9-percent charitable gift annuity and a bequest commitment. Retired national merchandise manager with Montgomery Ward and Company,Kenyon is a resident of Seminole, Florida.

"Planned gifts are an important part of building the College's endowment to provide future income to support financial aid at Kenyon," says W. Philip Irwin '74, director of planned giving in the College's Office of Development.

NET grant funds cooperative program with local schools

S chool systems in Danville, Fredericktown, and Mount Vernon, Ohio, as well as the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, are receiving approximately $11,000 in educational materials and equipment through a grant to Kenyon from the Ohio Department of Education's Nutrition Education Training (NET) program.

The materials--aimed at promoting healthy eating, well-balanced exercise, and positive body image in children--are being purchased as part of a $44,000 NET grant to develop and evaluate curriculum for fourth- and fifth-grade boys and girls. The principal people conducting the project are Kenyon psychology professors Michael Levine and Linda Smolak, and Knox County dietitian Florence Schermer, who compiled the nutrition lessons and coordinated the selection and purchase of the educational materials. The physical-education lessons were written by Char Etling, a physical-education instructor for Mount Vernon City Schools.

The donations will bring the three-year project to a close. The materials include approximately $2,500 worth of books to the library and its branches; approximately $2,000 worth of physical-education equipment for use in classes in all the Mount Vernon elementary schools; and approximately $6,500 in books, computer software, and videotapes for schools in Danville, Fredericktown, and Mount Vernon.

Schermer presented the grant opportunity to Smolak and Levine three years ago, and the project was approved for funding by the NET. The project goals included developing the "Eating Smart, Eating for Me" curriculum for fourth and fifth graders. These lessons and guides for teachers sought to increase healthy nutrition according to the Food Guide Pyramid and to increase exercising for fitness and fun. The lessons also focused on decreasing prejudice concerning body fat and fat people, encouraging children to accept the uniqueness and diversity of their own bodies (instead of glorifying thinness), and educating children about the futility and dangers of calorie-restrictive dieting.

Fourth- and fifth-grade classes in Danville and Fredericktown served as pilots for the project during the 1994-95 academic year. The project was conducted in all the Mount Vernon elementary schools, except Wiggin Street, during 1995-96. In each grade, eight classes used the curriculum, while three classes served as "controls" for the purpose of comparison.

"As far as we know, this is the first and perhaps only controlled evaluation of this type of program for fourth and fifth graders," says Levine, who, with Smolak, has conductedextensive research on the development of negative body image and eating problems.

The "Eating Smart, Eating for Me" curriculum produced some increases in children's knowledge about nutrition guidelines, causes of body fat, and the negative effects of calorie-restrictive dieting. The only change in attitude, the investigators note, was a reduced association of negative characteristics with fat people. The children's body esteem was not affected by the curriculum, nor were there any significant behavioral changes.

The investigators hope that educational programs such as "Eating Smart, Eating for Me" will help children avoid the high drive for thinness, irrational prejudice against fat, and negative body image that fuel a variety of eating problems that emerge during adolescence.

Funded by the Child Nutrition Act, the NET is a health-promotion and disease-prevention program dedicated to improving the nutrition knowledge of teachers, school food-service personnel, and children of all ages.

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