Manhattan woman's gifts to university benefit history department, Beach Museum of Art
Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013
MANHATTAN -- A Manhattan woman is making gifts to the history department and the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University through a combination of expendable funds to be used now and a bequest in her will to be realized at a later date.
Established by Margo Kren, the George Kren Fund supports a faculty member's research, writing and related activities on the history of sport, war and culture in America. When the bequest is realized, the George M. Kren Dissertation Fellowship will support history doctoral students working to complete their dissertations, and the George and Margo Kren Fund will benefit the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art by supporting professional development for staff members.
Margo Kren is a professor emeritus of art at Kansas State University. In 1989, she was given the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Member Award, and in 1995 she became the first woman promoted to full professor in the university's art department. Her husband, George Kren, who died in 2000, was a professor in the university's history department. He focused mostly on European intellectual thought and was an expert on the Holocaust. He had personal experience of the anti-Semitism that led to the Holocaust before he escaped Austria in 1939 at the age of 12. He also had a passion for photography, taking portraits of artists and people connected to the arts, as well as both expansive and intimate landscapes.
Margo Kren is a member of the Kansas State University Foundation's Presidents Club, a philanthropic leadership organization for friends and alumni of the university, and the Land Grant Legacy Society, an organization for those who have included the university in their estate plans.
Having given her gifts to Kansas State University in two ways -- expendable funds that are used now and a bequest in her will that ensure her funds go on in perpetuity -- Kren enjoys the benefits of both.
"You should give your money in a constructive way while you're still around to see that it's actually going to have the impact you desired," she said. "With planned giving, we know that the permanent purpose of the funds will be achieved. And with annual giving now, we can help to support the same kind of purposes that the bequests will fund. At the same time, one keeps one's own financial security while being able to do some good now rather than just after one's death. And it's a type of immortality for the causes in which we believe. That's amazing! It represents George, too. He valued education because education can make you free."
Linda Duke, director of the Beach Museum, greatly values Kren's gift to the museum.
"The George and Margo Kren Fund's emphasis on creative professional development will strengthen and enrich our work as an organization even as it supports individual growth opportunities for staff members," she said. "We are deeply grateful."
Kren's two gifts to the history department will have a great impact on students and faculty, according to the department chair, Louise Breen, professor of history.
"Our funding to help doctoral students who have completed their course work and entered into candidacy for the degree is woefully inadequate," Breen said. "The George M. Kren Dissertation Fellowship will help to fill this funding gap and will literally change the lives of students who receive it. It provides them with the enormous gift of uninterrupted time to write, enhancing their prospects for publication of their dissertations as books later."
"It is the ideal way to honor the memory of historian George M. Kren, who taught in the history department for many years and worked to help graduate students develop their conceptualization and writing skills. The department is enormously grateful for this gift and the thoughtfulness of our friend Margo Kren," Breen said.
Research support has already been provided to Don Mrozek, professor of history, whose research closely fits the near-term aims of the Kren giving program for faculty who study the history of sport, war and culture in America.
"This special funding buys me a most wonderful gift -- time to write and to bring to fulfillment some projects that I have worked on for years," Mrozek said. "And it is a special pleasure and honor to be associated again with my valued friend George Kren. He loved to explore connections between things that seem separate on the surface, and so do I."
Philanthropic contributions to the university are coordinated by the Kansas State University Foundation. The foundation staff works with university partners to build lifelong relationships with alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students through involvement and investment in the university.