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K-State Today

May 25, 2011

A positive reaction: English and chemistry alumni show support for K-State with $250,000 bequest

Submitted by Julie Fosberg

Charley and Kay Smith, Fountain Valley, Calif., first met in the chemistry library at Kansas State University more than 40 years ago.

Just 10 years ago they established the Kenneth and Martha Chappell Scholarship Fund to support undergraduate English majors. The fund honors Kay Smith's parents -- both K-State graduates -- and the lifelong love of the English language they shared with their children.

The Smiths are once again demonstrating their love and generosity toward K-State with a $250,000 bequest to establish the Charles and Kay Smith Chemistry Excellence Fund, which will provide financial assistance to the department of chemistry in K-State's College of Arts and Sciences.

Kay Smith's ties to Manhattan are deep. Her father, Kenneth, owned and operated Chappell Creamery, a major ice cream manufacturer founded by her grandfather. It was famous for its molded ice cream in Manhattan in the 1930s through the 1950s. Kay Smith graduated from K-State with a bachelor's degree in 1958 and a master's degree in 1966, both in English. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, K-State Student Union's Art Committee, Purple Pepsters, a cappella choir and the YWCA radio program. She taught English at junior colleges for several years and has been an active hospital volunteer for more than 20 years.

Charley Smith graduated from K-State in 1966 with a doctoral degree in chemistry. He currently is senior principal engineer with the Boeing Company, where he has worked for the majority of his career. He has served on the K-State Chemistry Advisory Council since 2005.

The Smiths are members of the Kansas State University Foundation's Presidents Club, a philanthropic leadership group of alumni and friends who support K-State. They are also lifetime members of the K-State Alumni Association.

"The training and knowledge that I received at K-State were extremely useful to me in my career," Charley Smith said. "It's our hope that this gift will help future generations have the same experience and become successful in their careers."

"Charley and Kay's substantial gift will enable our department to attract and support top faculty and students, will allow us to expand our research capabilities, and ultimately will enhance our department's stature," said Eric Maatta, head of the department of chemistry. "We deeply appreciate their continued generosity to our program."

Philanthropic contributions to K-State are coordinated by the Kansas State University Foundation. The foundation's staff works with university partners to build lifelong relationships with alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students through involvement and investment in the university.