9/3/2004

Contact: Alison Watkins, Graduate School & International Programs, (785) 864-2963.

Nurse's gift will establish scholarship, aid fund for African students

LAWRENCE -- For 32 years Patricia Hysko has had an extended family from Zimbabwe. Her recent gift to the University of Kansas honors that relationship and her commitment to international students receiving college educations.

Hysko, a retired nurse from Wichita, donated a $100,000 life insurance policy that will establish the Patricia Hysko International Student Fund with the KU Endowment Association. International Student and Scholar Services will administer scholarships and emergency help for students from Zimbabwe and sub-Saharan Africa.

"If ever there was a need, this is it. International students are the future of their developing homelands. They're here trying to get the best possible education. The slightest disaster can alter their futures and their families'," Hysko said.

Hysko is a role model for helping international students broaden their futures. She is continuing her mother's tradition of helping the Kajese family receive college educations. Thirty-two years ago her mother, Dorothy Yerkes, went back to work after retiring to support Sam and Rose Kajese through Baker University. With the help of KU alumnus Ken Wagnon, their children Vimbayi and Mutsa Kajese are currently studying at KU. Their older brother, Farayi, graduated in May 2000 with a degree in aerospace engineering.

"With all the money available to KU undergraduates, hardly any money is available for international students," Hysko said. "Thirty-two years after my mother worked to help Sam and Rose, the financial help isn't any better. This is my opportunity to change that."

Joe Potts, director of International Student & Scholar Services, agrees.

"Economic and political circumstances can change very quickly, and this is especially true in Africa," he said. "Every year we have cases of students from one African country or another who end up with major financial needs, even though they were in good financial shape when they first arrived. Gifts from concerned individuals like Patricia Hysko are often the only resource we have for assisting these students through tough times.

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