Boyer Family, Community First National Bank Endow $50,000 “Champion of Diversity” Scholarship in the College of Education

Dr. James Boyer

The family of Dr. James Boyer and Community First National Bank have created a scholarship for College of Education students at Kansas State University. The hope is to support students of color pursuing degrees in education.

Dr. Boyer, who passed away in 2017, was the first African American professor in the College of Education when he was hired in 1971. He was a graduate professor for curriculum and instruction and American ethnic studies. He coordinated many programs, including the urban master’s program. In 1996, he authored a textbook on understanding curriculum from a multicultural perspective. Boyer was also the founding pastor of Fellowship Temple Church in Manhattan, Kansas.

To honor his legacy, Dr. Boyer’s son Alan Boyer, his wife Edna Boyer, the church’s founding missionary, and Community First National Bank teamed up to create a $50,000 endowed scholarship: the James and Edna Boyer – Community First National Bank “Champion of Diversity” Scholarship. The scholarship is open to all College of Education students, but the donors hope it supports students of color as a way to promote diversity in the classroom.

In May 2021, the College of Education unveiled an exhibit honoring Dr. Boyer in Bluemont Hall. In 2019, the City of Manhattan renamed a portion of the street near Fellowship Temple Dr. James B. Boyer Lane.

“Community First National Bank and my family have been partners in the Manhattan community for more than 45 years,” said Alan, who is a professor of practice and program director for digital innovation in media programs for K-State’s A.Q. Miller School of Media and Communication, where he also earned a graduate degree in the mid-1980s.  “My mother and I were delighted when Community First National Bank wanted to do something special to remember my dad’s contribution to K-State and the community, so we matched the bank’s contribution. This scholarship is important because having teachers from different backgrounds exposes students to different communications, different cultures and different life experiences. This helps enrich their perspectives on life and their future.”  

The transformational power of scholarships is one reason Community First National Bank wanted to honor James Boyer this way.

“Dr. Boyer was a very special man, and we are truly honored to participate in this extension of his legacy,” said Rob Stitt, president of Community First National Bank. “Education is the true source of upward mobility, so we hope that this partnership between the Boyers and Community First will change many people’s lives.”

This investment in education by the Boyer family and Community First will create a ripple effect through classrooms and generations.

“Dr. Boyer’s legacy serves as a guiding light today — just as it will for future generations of educators at K-State,” said Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education. “Jim’s unwavering support for underrepresented groups can be traced to our current mission statement about preparing educators for a diverse and changing world. He was truly a servant leader.”

As Kansas State University’s strategic partner for philanthropy, the KSU Foundation inspires and guides philanthropy toward university priorities to boldly advance K-State.

*First published in February 2023

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Matt LaGree

Matt LaGree Director of Development - Education