Paying it forward

Steve and Kristen Swanson create two scholarships for K-State students.

Honoring those who inspired and supported them throughout their lives, Steve and Kristen Swanson have created two scholarships to help Kansas State University students.

Kristen was passionate about becoming a teacher and chose to get her degree from K-State because of the faculty and because she could get into the classroom more quickly than through other programs. Steve, her high school sweetheart, joined her at K-State to study construction science.

The Swansons have created the Bill and Judy Swanson Construction Science Scholarship in honor of Steve’s parents. His mother died when he was young and his father passed soon after Steve graduated from K-State. Steve says the scholarship is a way to say thank you for the support and encouragement his father gave him. The scholarship will benefit students and the construction science industry.

“There is a need for quality construction management graduates,” Steve said. “It’s not an easy program and we hope this scholarship will help students stay in the program instead of choosing to get an easier, faster and less expensive degree.”

The Swansons also created the Kristen Strongman Swanson Elementary Education Scholarship to help lessen the financial burden on students so they may concentrate on their education and maximize the opportunities available to them.

“We believe teachers are the foundation of our society and it’s everyone’s responsibility to support students who want to follow this avocation,” Kristen said. “We have personally seen with our kids how an engaged and skillful teacher can change the trajectory of a kid’s future, and it’s important to provide the opportunity for people to become teachers.”

Kristen and Steve hope these scholarships help students pursue their dreams and create a positive ripple effect in their chosen fields.

“As parents of one current college student and one starting next year, we have an intimate understanding of how expensive college can be,” Steve said. “We are fortunate we can help our kids with the cost of college, but there are a lot of people who struggle with the cost of a college education. We believe whole heartedly in the concept of ‘paying it forward,’ and this is our way of supporting future K-Staters.”

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