At the spring KSU Foundation Board of Trustees meeting, trustees Terry and Tara Cupps, Manhattan, Kansas, were awarded the Kansas State University Medal of Excellence, which recognizes those who have advanced K-State through exceptional service, leadership and philanthropic contributions.
Tara received her first degree from K-State in 1978 in engineering technology. She went back for her accounting degree, which she earned in 1982. Terry graduated from K-State in 1978 with a degree in speech. He went on to get his law degree in 1985 from Washburn University.
Terry and Tara are both KSU Foundation Trustees, and Tara has served on the KSU Foundation Board of Directors and was the chair of the K-State Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2005. They are very active with the K-State Alumni Association and various friends groups on campus including Friends of McCain, the Beach Museum of Art, K-State Libraries, and the Gardens. Terry is a member of the Friends of McCain Board of Directors, the Communications Studies Advisory Board and is a former chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Council. They both served on the Ahearn Fund Advisory Council and are members of the Ahearn Fund National Leadership Circle. They invest in four scholarships and five excellence funds, supporting students and programs universitywide.
“Terry and Tara embody the spirit of K-State by providing extraordinary service to Kansas State as volunteers, mentors, philanthropic leaders and enthusiastic Wildcat fans,” said K-State President Richard Linton. “We very much appreciate their commitment to advancing what makes K-State great today and in the future, and we’re excited to celebrate Tara and Terry by awarding them the university’s Medal of Excellence.”
“Terry and Tara Cupps believe strongly in providing students the opportunities to have exceptional learning experiences while attending K-State. This passion is driven by the rich and meaningful experiences they had as K-State students,” said Greg Willems, president and CEO of the KSU Foundation. “They invest in scholarships to help make sure students have the ability to focus on their education and take advantage of unique opportunities. They give of their time to help make sure programs on campus excel. They are truly fantastic investors, advocates and ambassadors for K-State.”
“K-State is better because of Terry and Tara. They are committed to supporting so many different entities on campus,” said Amy Button Renz, president and CEO of the K-State Alumni Association. “Athletics, their colleges, the foundation, the alumni association, the arts — they have touched so many different areas. We wouldn’t be the same university without them because they do so much. They give of their time and their talent. It’s heartwarming to see everything they support.”
Terry and Tara Cupps join a prestigious group of past Medal of Excellence awardees.
“The award isn’t about us, it’s about Kansas State, and we’re just an example of what we try to do for K-State,” Terry said. “It’s about philanthropy and giving back to the university with your leadership, your abilities and setting an example for other people. This recognition helps set an example for others. That’s the significance I see in the award — the example, not us.”
And for Tara, to receive the award this year is particularly special, as it’s a milestone year for female leaders.
“In 2007, I was sitting on the KSU Foundation Board as a representative of the K-State Alumni Association. That year there were five women on the board and one, Betty Tointon, was slated to be a future chair, but was unable to do so due to health reasons,” Tara said. “ Finally, this year Mary Vanier is serving as the first female chair of the KSU Foundation Board of Directors. So, for me, it’s very special to receive this award this year.” 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.