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July 26, 2005
Contact: Mary-Margaret Simpson, Beach Center on Disability, (785) 864-7613.

First endowed scholarship fund created for Beach Center graduate students at KU


LAWRENCE -- A family with close ties to the University of Kansas and personal experience with disability has established a scholarship fund to assist graduate students at the Beach Center on Disability at KU.

Six members of the Borchardt family have donated cash and securities valued at $200,000 to the Kansas University Endowment Association to endow a new scholarship fund for graduate study at the Beach Center. The donors are Julie and Scott Borchardt of Walpole, Mass.; Kelly Elrod of Richland, Mich.; and Paul Borchardt of Lawrence; as well as their parents, Ronald and Pamela Borchardt, also of Lawrence.

Income from the fund, which will be called the Borchardt Family Scholarship for Beach Center Graduate Student Study in the Field of Mental Retardation and Community Inclusion, will assist graduate students who are working with senior faculty at the Beach Center and are enrolled in the Department of Special Education in the KU School of Education.

The Beach Center offers sponsored research and training opportunities to more than 20 doctoral students a year. Special education graduate students typically focus on such areas as access to the general curriculum, family quality of life, positive behavior support, self-determination, technology use by people with cognitive disabilities, and public policy related to these and other issues.

Two of the donors -- Julie and Scott Borchardt -- say the motivation behind the family's gift was their belief in the importance of the work of the Beach Center. They are the parents of two children, including a daughter who has Down syndrome.

" Many people in special education and related services have impacted our daughter's life and thus our lives," Julie Borchardt said. "The Beach Center has the opportunity to make a real impact on future students' lives through its Ph.D. students."

The Borchardt family has a strong connection to KU. Ron Borchardt earned his Ph.D. from KU in 1970 and is the Solon E. Summerfield distinguished professor of pharmaceutical chemistry. Julie and Scott Borchardt, Kelly Elrod and Paul Borchardt are all KU graduates.

The Beach Center on Disability is affiliated with KU's Department of Special Education. It also is an affiliated center of KU's Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, which finds research-based solutions for the challenges of human and community development, disabilities and aging.

KU Endowment is an independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fund-raising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university and one of the largest.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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