10/25/2004

Contact: John Scarffe, KU Endowment Association, (785) 832-7336

Retired English teacher to give $3.5 million for School of Education, KU

LAWRENCE -- Pledging to "make a difference" in the lives of students, a retired English teacher has given $500,000 for a University of Kansas School of Education scholarship and committed an estimated $3 million for KU through her estate plans.

The $500,000 gift from Concordia resident Lavon Brosseau, who taught English for 29 years, established the Jack and Lavon Brosseau Scholars Fund for Teacher Education Students.

Named for Brosseau and her late husband, who co-owned and operated Concordia Mirror and Glass, the endowed fund at the Kansas University Endowment Association will provide scholarships for students admitted to the teacher education program who have a 3.0 grade point average or higher.

The remainder of the gift was pledged through estate plans the couple created in 1994. The deferred gifts include unrestricted support for the university and additional funds for the education scholarship.

"Lavon Brosseau has touched many lives through her teaching career," said KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway. "Now Lavon will continue to have a major impact on students by helping to alleviate the cost of their education."

Angela Lumpkin, former education dean, said Brosseau's gift was an investment in the future of education.

"As a former teacher, Lavon knows the importance of support for strong educational preparation for teachers," she said. "The School of Education is honored and humbled by her generosity and friendship."

Brosseau attended KU to pursue a National Defense Education Act fellowship in 1964. However, it was her experiences with three KU administrators -- Hemenway, Lumpkin and Jeff Weinberg, assistant to the chancellor -- that convinced her she should offer her support. She said that Weinberg, one of her former students, introduced her to Lumpkin.

"I have been so impressed with Angela's work," Brosseau said. "She's shown me that she means business as far as teaching goes.

"My motto is Īmake a difference.' The best thing Jack and I could do was give to schools and to give for scholarships. I want to encourage people to teach if they want to because this country needs good teachers."

A native of rural Greenwood County, Brosseau said she knew from an early age that she wanted to teach. She didn't like English, however, until high school English teachers made an impression on her.

"They made me love English," she said. "I went from not caring in the 8th grade to getting good enough grades in high school that I didn't have to take the final."

Brosseau graduated with a degree in education from Kansas State University and in 1971 earned a master's degree in English literature from Pittsburg State University. Her teaching career took her to public schools in Atwood, Concordia and Coffeyville, followed by nine years at Cloud County Community College in Concordia. She retired from teaching in 1978. She currently manages her four farm properties, which total more than 1,000 acres.

In 1972, she married Jack Brosseau, a glazier and farm property owner. He retired in 1980. The couple traveled extensively until his death in 1998.

Brosseau's gift for education scholarships counts toward the goal of KU First: Invest in Excellence, the largest fund-raising campaign in KU history. KU Endowment is conducting KU First on behalf of KU through 2004 to raise in excess of $600 million for scholarships, fellowships, professorships, capital projects and program support. KU Endowment serves as the independent, nonprofit fund-raising and fund-management organization for KU.

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