Advancing the educational experience

Steve and Cathy Lacy give to three K-State programs

Cathy and Steve Lacy of Des Moines, Iowa, have given $1 million to support three programs at Kansas State University: the Department of Hospitality Management and the Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health in the College of Human Ecology and the Career Coach program in the College of Business Administration. 

Cathy Lacy graduated from K-State in 1979 with a degree in dietetics. Steve Lacy received his bachelor’s in accounting in 1976 and his Master in Business Administration in 1977, both from K-State.

The Lacys serve on the KSU Foundation Board of Trustees and Steve is currently the chair of the KSU Foundation Board of Directors. Steve is on the College of Business Administration Dean’s Advisory Council executive committee and serves as a mentor to business students. Both Cathy and Steve serve on the Innovation and Inspiration Campaign committee and on the campaign steering committees for the Colleges of Business Administration and Human Ecology. Both have been commencement speakers for their colleges.

“We are pleased to continue supporting the students and faculty in the Colleges of Human Ecology and Business Administration with new and enhanced programming to recruit exceptional students, advance the educational experience and help ensure career success,” said Cathy and Steve Lacy.

The gift to hospitality management funded the new Cathy and Steve Lacy Quantity Foods Lab and a quick service area named Lacy’s Fresh Fare & Catering. “Overall, the laboratory will provide a hands-on opportunity for students to experience food production, including the customer service component, which is vital for students in the hospitality industry,” said Kevin Roberts, director of the hospitality management program. “A facility similar to this has been on the wish list of faculty for several years. The Lacys’ support has allowed us to finally establish a food production facility that will help us advance our programs and provide truly transformational educational experience to our undergraduate students.”

The gift to the Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health created the Cathy Wiltfong Family Fellowship for faculty in that department. “This fellowship is really impactful. One of the priorities of the college has been to grow faculty awards,” said John Buckwalter, dean of the College of Human Ecology. “The fact that the Lacys are willing to put a gift like this toward that priority is really helpful. It will help me recruit and retain exceptional faculty, which is key to having the type of educational experience we want to have for our students.”

The Lacys’ gift to the College of Business Administration’s Career Coach program will help expand that program to encompass more students. “It is naïve of us to think that an 18 year-old just out of high school will know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their life,” said Kevin Gwinner, dean of the College of Business Administration. “Our Career Coach program provides students exposure to a wide range of career options, including tradeoffs in salary, lifestyle and future opportunities. This allows students to make informed choices about majors and other activities to better prepare for careers they will truly enjoy and fit with their own personal goals.  The gift that Steve and Cathy Lacy have made to our Career Coach program allows us to continue and expand this critical program for our students.”

As K-State’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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Isabella Decker

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Kerry Wefald

Kerry Wefald Senior Director of Development - Agriculture