David Jennings created the Jennings Turning Point Scholarship in honor of his father’s accomplishments and love for K-State.
During the early 1900s when Kansas State University was still known as the Kansas State Agriculture College, a man named Harry Jennings attended classes in mechanical engineering. He was not able to finish his education due to financial restraints, yet went on to invent the foldable wheelchair. Decades later, Harry’s son David, created the Jennings Turning Point Scholarship in honor of his father’s accomplishments and love for K-State.
“My father was a sincere supporter of K-State,” David Jennings said. “He took great pride in relating himself to the university because of the fact that my mother, Leona Moore, was a graduate, and her father, Rawley Moore, helped build campus buildings as a stone mason.”
Harry and Leona’s friend, Herbert Everest, became paralyzed from the waist down while working for a mining company in 1918. Subsequently, travel became very difficult for him.
“Herbert was confined to a large wicker-back wheelchair. To travel by car, the wheel chair had to be tied onto the luggage rack on the back of his vehicle,” David said.
With a drafting table in his bedroom, Harry used the concept of a folding camp stool to make a wheelchair that would fit in the back of Everest’s car.
“Soon after Herbert was seen in public with his new chair, he had inquiries about it. His response was that his friend, Harry Jennings could build one for them,” David said. “And that was the beginning of Everest and Jennings.”
The company prospered for many years and was sold in 1990. However, Everest and Jennings is still the name that appears on almost any foldable wheelchair in the country.
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