The secret to success

A desire to help students succeed inspired Ike and Letty Evans to invest in the Academic Success Center

When Ike and Letty Evans attended Kansas State University in the early 1960s, it wasn’t uncommon for teachers to inspire competition and drive in their students by stating that not all of them would be successful. Today, the Evanses are working with the College of Engineering to inspire a different message and help ensure all students can succeed.

In 2015, Ike and Letty Evans gave an initial gift of $1 million to launch the College of Engineering’s Academic Success Center. Recently they’ve pledged another $4 million to ensure its continued success, and in turn, naming it the Ike and Letty Evans Academic Success Center.

“When we were in school, they’d say, ‘Look to your right; look to your left. Only one of you will graduate.’,” Ike said. “I think there was a little bit of pride in that, as opposed to, ‘All three of you will make it.’ The Academic Success Center is a tangible way the college tells students we care about them. It says, ‘We want you to be successful. We’re making these investments into these resources for you.’”

The Academic Success Center helps students lay the groundwork for success in their current studies, as well as their future careers. The center offers workshops on study skills, time management, engineering careers and internships. Through the center, students can access peer-to-peer tutoring, test preparation, first-year instruction and diversity support programs, such as Women in Engineering and the Multicultural Engineering Program. Because of the investment in student success, the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate for the College of Engineering increased by five percent after the center’s first year of operation.

“The mentoring of women and the focus on diversity and inclusion through the programs offered at the center are important and beneficial,” Letty said. “The mentorship and camaraderie these students receive helps them connect with others in their field who have similar experiences, making their time at K-State that much more productive, challenging and enjoyable.”

Thanks to the investments of Ike and Letty Evans and many others, K-State students are prepared to work, lead, take risks and succeed.

“Ike and Letty Evans, with their gift of naming our Academic Success Center, have made an investment in the educational success of K-State engineering students for decades to come,” said Darren Dawson, dean of the College of Engineering. “The mentoring, advising and training that take place inside the center’s facilities help ensure our graduates are well-equipped to take on the engineering challenges of the 21st century.”

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