Providing opportunities for students

Debra and Jim Gordon use matching funds to provide financial assistance to students in the apparel and textiles program College of Human Ecology.

Debra and Jim Gordon’s enthusiasm for K-State and giving back is evident through their life experiences.  Growing up on small farms and participating in 4-H allowed Debra and Jim to enjoy a close connection with K-State.  Both were the first members of their extended families to graduate from college. 

Debra has worked closely with the College of Human Ecology through her work with the Make It With Wool contest, which is sponsored by the Department of Apparel, Textiles and Interior Design.  “The opportunity to give back so more families can afford the benefits available with a college degree was a huge motive for this gift,” Debra said.  She is deeply invested in the fashion design program, working with many K-State students over the years in the Make It With Wool contest, plus volunteering her time to teach local youth to sew.  Her dedication makes the College of Human Ecology a natural choice for their gift.

As a National 4-H scholarship recipient and a 1976 K-State graduate in Business and Accounting, Jim looked for an opportunity to help future students.  He recalls living at the Straube Scholarship House and listening to the marching band practicing in the open field where the College of Business now stands.  In 1980, Debra and Jim were able to come back to Manhattan permanently and be closely involved with their beloved K-State.  They have also established a fund for the College of Business, providing opportunities for many future K-Staters. 

With the K-State Family Scholarship Program, new gifts of $30,000 are matched with $30,000 from the seed fund provided by the Carl and Mary Ice, for a total of $60,000. $10,000 goes into an expendable fund, making $2,000 scholarships available to be awarded to students immediately. The remaining $50,000 goes into the endowment, ensuring future generations of Wildcats will receive scholarships as well.

“We had already made commitments to fund scholarships for K-State. The Matching gift helped us decide that it was time to make those gifts now.  We hope this gift and future gifts we have planned will help K-State be more competitive in keeping Kansas kids in Kansas,” Jim said. “It feels right to give back.  Giving when you are not required to feels right.  K-State has given us so much, being able to help future generations of K-Staters is a real joyous occasion.  We hope this scholarship will help hard working, innovative students achieve their educational goals.”

Learn more about how you can take advantage of matching opportunities through the K-State Family Scholarship Program at, or contact John Morris, senior vice president of development, via email or at 785-775-2007.

The K-State Family Scholarship Program supports Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas State University, raising $1.4 billion in support of K-State students, faculty and programs.

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heather simpson

Heather Simpson Stewardship Coordinator


halle latham

Halle Latham Student Gift Officer