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K-State Today

December 10, 2018

Chapman Center for Rural Studies receives gifts to support research internships in the humanities

Submitted by Bonnie Lynn-Sherow

Top left, Pat Sauble; Right, Adelaide Whisler & Henry Whisler; bottom left, Ken Gnadt

The Chapman Center for Rural Studies has received three new gifts from donors to the center to support undergraduate student research in the humanities.

Patrick Sauble, 97, from Cedar Point, has donated $2,500 to the center's internship program to support a three-year ranching project that has had students conduct and transcribe hundreds of hours of oral interviews, digitize and accession three collections of documents and images and conduct extensive research about life in the Flint Hills. Sauble, a well-known storyteller and ranch historian, is a K-State alumnus and owns the longest continuously operated ranch in the Flint Hills. In collaboration with the center, Sauble is publishing a memoir of his ranch with Mennonite Press of Newton, Kansas, that should be available in early 2019.

In addition to a donation of $2,500 to the center's internship program, Vicky Sue Jones, Alma, has generously shared the handwritten diaries of her great-great-grandmother, Adelaide Whisler, to provide insight into the daily life of pioneer Kansans through the early 20th century.

"These diaries are a fascinating chronicle of Kansas life and are especially rare and valuable because they were written by a rural woman over the course of her entire life," noted Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, center director.

Student researchers will employ optical character recognition softwar to decode these handwritten pages into text. Practice in this software will give undergraduate students a solid introduction to cognitive computing, artificial intelligence and keyword tagging. An online exhibit of the diaries and their importance is in the works for 2020.

Also from Alma, the Wabaunsee County Historical Society has announced a long-term planned gift to the center of $1,000 annually to support student research from the estate of Ken Gnadt. John Hund, of the society notified the center in November that "Ken Gnadt, benefactor of these scholarships, passed away earlier this year. He was our friend and a tireless crusader for the historical society. He was a Wabaunsee County boy who had a distinguished career in global business and was the beloved mayor of Grand Island, Nebraska, transforming the city over his years in office. And, he was greatly impressed with the Chapman Center. As his good friend, I was gratified that he would include the center in his legacy. This award should go on as long as the Chapman Center exists."

In keeping with Gnadt's long career in business, the first year of support will go to a student researching the life and legacy of Clyde Cessna, Kingman County. In conjunction with Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research and engagement at K-State Polytechnic, the Chapman Center is aiding in an effort to raise funds for the purchase of the Cessna Homestead near Rago, Kansas, for a heritage center. This long-term project can now rely on the steady support provided by Gnadt — a fitting legacy for an extraordinary individual.

The Chapman Center was created in 2007 with a gift from Mark Chapman, Broughton, and grew to become a Center of Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2017. Today the center's core internship program is still supported through a behest from Chapman to the center and its students.

For more information about the center, student research, gift opportunities and ongoing projects, visit k-state.edu/history/chapman/.