Celebrating the naming of a department

Kansas State University celebrates the naming of the Carl and Melinda Helwig Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Carl and Melinda Helwig, Columbus, Kansas, have invested in the naming of the Carl and Melinda Helwig Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering in the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering at Kansas State University. On April 23, the college will celebrate this naming in the Helwigs’ honor.

This investment will empower the department to recruit and retain top faculty, support deserving students and provide flexible funding for department leaders to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

“I am extremely honored that Carl and Melinda Helwig have chosen to invest in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering,” said Joseph Harner, department head and professor. “The Helwigs are committed to assuring undergraduate students have extracurricular experiential learning opportunities beyond the classroom. Their generous gift enables students to participate in a team environment working on product design, testing, manufacturing and marketing prior to entering the professional workforce.”

Carl and Melinda Helwig, owners of Helwig Farms, raised wheat, corn, soybeans and grain sorghum on their southeast Kansas farm. The Helwigs also competed in tractor-pulling competitions and placed nationally in the early 1980s. Neither attended Kansas State University, but in recent years became important supporters and mentors of K-State students by investing in the university’s quarter-scale tractor team, which demonstrates the power of engineering and inspired innovation. They felt a kinship with the students of this team and were motivated to support them.

“We are honored to support K-State as it educates the next generation of engineering professionals,” said Carl Helwig. “We have had a good life, been fortunate in grain production, and we’ve enjoyed the thrill of competition. We want students to have every opportunity to be on top.”

A gift of this magnitude is truly transformational for the college and the university.

“Carl and Melinda Helwig personify the generosity of the K-State family,” said K-State President Richard Myers. “Their investment in the success of the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering faculty, students and programs not only elevates the college but brings prestige to the university and helps propel K-State toward being nationally recognized as a student-centered, 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 the K-State family. Visit ksufoundation.org for more information.

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