More than a good idea, a pathway to friendship
What to do with a life’s work devoted to public service when retirement arrives? For Diane Patrick, 1970 K-State graduate in political science and KSU Foundation trustee, she answered the call to mentor a K-State student. She was matched with Tori Thomas, junior in biological systems engineering and Spanish, to offer skills or knowledge she had as an inspired way to advance her alma mater.
The KSU Foundation Trustee-Student Foundation Mentor Program links members of Student Foundation with members of the KSU Foundation Board of Trustees — an innovative approach to fostering lifelong philanthropy through relationship and by providing students practical application of networking skills, as well as personal and professional growth.
“I felt as a trustee, if I was able to meet regularly, I should respond to the invitation to mentor,” Diane said. “I wanted to learn about K-State from a student’s perspective.”
“Diane and I have this in common,” Tori said, “the understanding that we are called to give back.”
Diane understood that it is sometimes hard for a student to reach out so she emailed Tori. They agreed to set goals and connect monthly, either in person or by phone.
“My strength would be as a connection;” Diane said, “a resource to add value as she applied for internships, wrote cover letters and résumés and began networking.”
“I’d email her for help with my internship application and she’d proofread it, offering suggestions,” Tori said. “Diane connected me with people in my field like Kate Corwin, founder of Green Works in Kansas City. She also affirmed my ideas and confirmed there are ways to live philanthropically and give back to what is meaningful for me, both in my career and outside of work.”
Both Diane and Tori mentioned they would like to continue to build the relationship even after Tori graduates.
“It has been so fun, so valuable to have someone different — outside my normal experience — to talk to,” Tori said. “And this mentoring relationship not only ensures traditions and values are not lost, but carried forward.”
“With Tori, I felt it was a partnership and it has been very rewarding,” Diane said. “Meeting Tori’s family was a high compliment. Tori’s mom told me how much they appreciate having a trustee — someone at the university — on Tori’s team.”
Mentoring, more than a good idea, a bold pathway to a good friendship.