Native Kansan supports agriculture, animals through endowed gift
By Hayli Morrison
Zeta Schippel Crowther was born and raised on a large farm in Saline County, Kan., the granddaughter of one of the county’s earliest settlers.
She cared for animals her entire life, including her Irish setter, Blaze. Never one to shy away from a challenge, she talked of buying a Harley-Davidson motorcycle at age 75.
"Zeta was not one to sit back and let the world pass her by," said her nephew, Mike Aylward, of Chanute, Kan.
After Crowther succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2012, a $300,000 bequest in her trust provided for two scholarships at Kansas State University.
The Zeta Schippel Memorial Scholarship in Production Agriculture honors her life’s history and the Zeta Schippel Memorial Scholarship in Veterinary Medicine honors her life’s passion.
"She never met an animal she didn’t love," said her niece, Jayne Aylward, of Tonganoxie, Kan. "She wanted to make sure there were qualified people to take care of animals. She wanted to help educate them."
A graduate of Loretta Heights College in Denver, Crowther had a career in social work for several years. She later moved to Lido Isle in Newport Beach, Calif. after marrying her husband Joseph B. Crowther, an attorney. Even after moving away, Crowther retained controlling interests in about 3,000 acres of her family’s original land in Kansas.
"She never lost her love and understanding of the importance of agriculture. Our phone conversations always circled back to our family farms," said her niece, Jeanne Aylward Edwards, of Salina, Kan., adding that many in Kansas agriculture knew Schippel by first name and considered her a friend.
Through her final gift to Kansas State University, Schippel helped grow the KSU Foundation endowment, a key goal for K-State to become a top 50 public research university by 2025. The endowment is the most important component of the university’s ability to serve future generations of K-Staters, and Schippel’s gift will support animal care and keep her family’s agricultural legacy alive for years to come.