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K-State Today

May 12, 2011

Engineering alum establishes new faculty award with a $465,000 gift

Submitted by Julie Fosberg

Donald Gemaehlich was first exposed to computers during a high school summer camp.

Shortly after that, he received an opportunity to pursue his budding interest in technology when he was offered a scholarship from Kansas State University. He lived in Marlatt Hall and became involved in the residence hall's various activities, all while working to put himself through school.

He may never have imagined that his time at K-State would lead him to a 27-year career with one of the nation's largest defense contractors or that he'd be visiting Manhattan several times a year for athletic events.

Gemaehlich grew up in Hays and earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1983 and then a master's in electrical engineering in 1984, both from K-State. Since graduating he has worked in Scottsdale, Ariz., developing software for a wide range of projects at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. As the senior technical manager for software systems, he currently manages 47 software engineers for the defense industry contractor -- five of whom are K-State graduates.

Having established such a successful career, Gemaehlich, who lives in Chandler, Ariz., is giving back to K-State with a gift of $465,000 to establish the Donald Gemaehlich Electrical Engineering Faculty Award. It will be used to recruit and retain the highest quality faculty for the College of Engineering at K-State.

"When I attended Kansas State, I had the privilege of learning from many excellent electrical engineering professors," Gemaehlich said. "This gift is an opportunity to provide the electrical engineering department with the ability to hire the best professors so that Kansas State will continue to produce top-notch engineering graduates."

"We're thrilled with Don's gift," said John English, dean of the College of Engineering. "His generosity will allow us to continue building on our excellent program by bringing top-caliber faculty to K-State."

Gemaehlich is a member of the K-State Alumni Association, the Presidents Club -- a group representing the leadership of alumni and friends who support K-State -- and the College of Engineering Seaton Society. He received the College of Engineering Professional Progress Award in 2003. In addition to previous gifts to the Ahearn Scholarship Fund, he established the Donald Gemaehlich Electrical and Computer Engineering Scholarship in 2004 to support undergraduate students enrolled in the electrical and computer engineering department.

Philanthropic contributions to K-State 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.

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