Living out a family legacy

Two K-Staters establish an endowed professorship to support students for generations

Whether it was Sunday dinners with family or serving on the schoolboard, Vera May McAninch could always be found helping others and working to improve her community. Vera May lived by an important principle: having a strong family plays a central role in society.

This principal was a large part of Vera May’s studies while at Kansas State University. She graduated in 1939 from what is now the College of Health and Human Sciences as a home economics major and a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. While a student at K-State, Vera May met Leroy McAninch at the Palace Drugstore in Aggieville while he was working behind the soda bar. After getting married in December of 1939, the McAninchs had three daughters: Mary Kay, Patricia Ann and Janet Lee.

Vera May and Leroy were avid Wildcat fans who held football season tickets and passed on K-State traditions to their family however they could. With Leroy’s humble beginnings, the McAninchs firmly believed that education provided a unique chance to establish a career and support a family. Knowing they wanted to give back to their alma mater, the McAninchs established an endowed professorship, via their estate plans, to benefit students for years to come. 

The current recipient of the Vera Mowrey McAninch endowed professorship is Glade Topham, professor and program director of couple and family therapy. Awarded in 2021, Glade is honored to be among the recipients selected for the professorship.

“The endowment has been of long-term benefit to me and those before me who have held the professorship,” said Glade. “The endowment will continue to be a catalyst for faculty and student growth and development, and for community health and well-being.”  

The professorship has enabled Glade to attend four national trainings on assessment and treatment approaches, which provided immediate benefit to Glade’s clinical work, research and his work training students. Additionally, the accompanying resources have allowed Glade to publish a study in a national journal to provide important insight for educators and service providers.

“Philanthropy such as faculty professorships has broad impact on K-State and the communities we serve,” said Glade. “It enables faculty to advance their research, with real-life implications for improving lives. It provides resources to allow faculty to obtain training to stay on the cutting edge of their disciplines and provide a high quality of training experiences for students.”

Written by Ariana Brancato

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