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KSU Foundation

A window on renovation

By Marisa Larson

Memories of her graduate years in a Willard Hall basement laboratory inspired Dr. Karen Nickel to fund the renovations of lab space in Burt Hall for two new faculty members. Drs. Erika and Brian Geisbrecht were due to begin work with the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics in fall of 2013, but K-State didn’t have the best type of lab space for their work.

“When Phillip Klebba, head of the biochemistry and molecular biophysics department, walked me through the labs in Burt Hall, I looked out the windows across the grassy plaza toward Willard Hall,” Nickel said. “I remembered all those years down in the basement of Willard Hall and said to myself, ‘This is going to be a wonderful lab for the new, young professors. Why not help K-State out by contributing toward the renovation of this bright, cheerful lab?’ So I did! It is a memorial to my years in the basement of Willard Hall.”

The new lab not only provides a cheerful place for the Geisbrechts to work, but it shows K-State’s commitment to research.

“Knowing that there would be adequate lab space was a key determinant in our decision to relocate to K-State,” Brian said. “The ability of our department chair to secure the funds for this excellent renovation showed us that there is a real institutional commitment to research and the alumni and benefactors to K-State care about research to the extent they’re willing to give to support infrastructure improvements. This raises the stature of K-State and will help us meet our goal of being a top 50 public research university by 2025.”

Erika agrees that the lab renovation gave them confidence in K-State’s commitment to research and a sense of alumni pride. “It seemed that the university is part of a greater whole, or community, that is willing to give back to achieve success in many different areas,” she said.

Both Brian and Erika like that their newly renovated lab space is in a historic building. “Being in an old building that is repurposed allows us to continue being a part of K-State history,” Erika said. “I love the character of the building, and the location on the grassy quad has that classic university campus feel.”

How you can help

To learn how you can support programs and facilities in the College of Arts & Sciences, contact Sheila Walker at 785-532-7511 or sheilaw@found.ksu.edu.

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