Transformational investments

Three couples give $22 million to the College of Engineering

Three couples have given a total of $22 million to the College of Engineering, advancing opportunities for students and faculty and providing revolutionary, flexible funding for the college.

“The generosity, belief in our programs and commitment to engineering education expressed through these tremendous gifts cannot be overstated,” said Darren Dawson, dean of the College of Engineering. “This level of investment is transformative and further establishes our goal of being the top engineering program in the state. These gifts will expand our platforms and fulfill the expectations of the University Engineering Initiative Act (UEIA) to increase the number of engineering graduates in Kansas.”

Ike and Letty Evans, Bluffton, South Carolina, contributed to name the Ike and Letty Evans Academic Success Center. 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.

Ike Evans graduated from Kansas State University in 1965 with a degree in electrical engineering. The Evanses invest in faculty and students in the college, and Ike is a member of the College of Engineering Hall of Fame and served on the Engineering Advisory Council.

Jim and Laura Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colorado, invested in naming the GE Johnson Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science, in honor of Jim’s father, Gil E. Johnson. Gil Johnson founded Colorado Springs-based GE Johnson Construction, a general contracting firm, in 1967. A 1955 graduate of Kansas State University, Gil invested in College of Engineering students and faculty. Jim and Laura have carried on the family tradition of investing in the college and the success of its students and faculty.

Jim Johnson earned his degree in construction science from K-State in 1984. He served on the Engineering Advisory Council, received the Professional Progress Award in 2003, is a member of the College of Engineering Hall of Fame and currently serves on the College of Engineering’s Innovation and Inspiration Campaign steering committee.

Tim and Sharon Taylor, The Woodlands, Texas, invested in the college by naming the Tim Taylor Department of Chemical Engineering. This investment will empower the department to recruit and retain top faculty and the best students, and provide flexible funding for department leaders to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

Tim Taylor received his degree in chemical engineering from K-State in 1975. He served on the Engineering Advisory Council, received the Engineering Distinguished Service Award and was inducted into the College of Engineering Hall of Fame. He also serves on the College of Engineering’s Innovation and Inspiration Campaign steering committee.

“The Evanses, Johnsons and Taylors exemplify the generosity of the K-State family,” said K-State President Richard Myers. “Their investment in the success of College of Engineering faculty, students and programs not only elevates the college; their gifts bring prestige to the university and help propel K-State toward being nationally recognized as a top 50 public research university.”

As Kansas State University’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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