Advancing STEM fields

Elaine and Mike Jacobson created a scholarship for students studying STEM fields

Elaine and Mike Jacobson, from Kansas City, Missouri, and Fort Worth, Texas, are investing $100,000 in students studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at Kansas State University.

The gift creates scholarships for students majoring in STEM fields, with preference given to individuals from Lyon and Osage counties with under representation in the discipline of choice and with financial need.

Elaine Pearson Jacobson, originally from Miller, Kansas in northern Lyon County, received her bachelor’s degree in 1967 and her doctorate in 1971, both in biochemistry from Kansas State University.

Mike Jacobson grew up near Muscoda, Wisconsin, and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and his doctorate in biochemistry from K-State in 1970.

They both completed postdoctoral research at the University of Utah and at the Mayo Clinic prior to beginning their faculty careers in the 1970s in Denton, Texas; Elaine at Texas Woman’s University and Mike at the University of North Texas. After spending 1983 as visiting professors at the University of Hamburg in Germany, they joined the faculty at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center (UNTHSC) in 1985. In addition to their academic duties at UNTHSC, Elaine served as the director of the division of clinical research in the Department of Medicine and Mike served as chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology from 1989 to 1992. In 1992, they moved to the University of Kentucky where Mike served as chairman of the Division of Medical Chemistry and Pharmaceutics at the College of Pharmacy, and Elaine joined the faculty of the Center for Nutritional Sciences and College of Health Sciences. Both were also members of the UK Markey Cancer Center. They joined the faculty of the University of Arizona in 2000 and served in the College of Pharmacy and Arizona Cancer Center until their retirement in 2012. From 2012 to 2016, Mike served as the founding dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Elaine and Mike have worked as a research team for nearly 50 years. The research of the Jacobsons and their colleagues led to the founding of two companies, Niadyne and Niadyne Pharma, which specialize in topical agents for prevention and treatment of skin disorders.

 Besides impressive careers in science and medical research and investing financially in K-State, the Jacobsons have volunteered extensively at the university. They have been members of the KSU Foundation Board of Trustees, both serve on the advisory board for the Johnson Cancer Research Center and the College of Arts and Sciences committee for the Innovation and Inspiration Campaign, and both were recognized in 2007 as Alumni Fellows for the College of Arts and Sciences.

“We are very grateful for the opportunities that were opened to us at K-State,” the Jacobsons said. “We deeply value education and research and are committed to advancing these endeavors for future students.”

The Jacobsons’ gift will immediately benefit students today and in future generations through an endowment.

“The generosity and leadership of Elaine and Mike Jacobson have and will continue to greatly benefit students at K-State,” said Dr. Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students. “Scholarships are vital in enabling students to earn a college degree, and the Jacobsons’ support of students in STEM fields advances K-State toward our goal of being nationally recognized as a top 50 public research university.”

The first recipient of the Drs. Mike and Elaine Pearson Jacobson Scholarship is Karsen DeWeese, freshman in biology from Americus, Kansas.

“Receiving this scholarship makes it easier for me to fund my education and gives me the ability to take advantage of more opportunities that might come my way,” Karsen said. “This scholarship demonstrates that others believe in me and the importance of STEM fields, and I plan to use this scholarship to further my studies in cell biology and disease research.”

As Kansas State University’s strategic partner for philanthropy, the KSU Foundation inspires and guides philanthropy toward university priorities to boldly advance K-State family. The foundation is leading Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas State University to raise $1.4 billion for student success, faculty development, facility enhancement and programmatic success. Visit for more information.

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