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K-State Today

November 4, 2013

Dolese Co. announces significant multiyear gift for Kansas State University

Submitted by Hayli Morrison

A gift valued at $70 million -- the largest gift in Kansas State University history -- will benefit students in the College of Engineering for decades to come.

Officials of Oklahoma City-based Dolese Bros. Co. recently announced the private company has made a gift of stock valued at $210 million in equal amounts to Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University and University of Oklahoma through each institution's foundation.

The arrangement establishes the foundations as nonvoting majority shareholders in Oklahoma's largest supplier of ready-mix concrete, crushed stone, gravel and sand. Dolese is annually buying back stock from the schools in support of the company's profit-sharing plan and long-term goal of becoming wholly employee-owned. Dolese hopes the stock will grow in value over time and ultimately provide even greater help for universities to increase the number of engineering graduates nationwide.

"At Dolese we value our employees and the communities that we impact," said Mark Helm, president of Dolese Bros. Co. "Every day Dolese delivers products that make everything from the roads you drive on, the offices you work in, the schools you learn in and the foundation of the home where you live. This gift is a true testament of how Dolese delivers on our commitment to our employees, the communities we serve and planning for the future."

Kansas State University is experiencing record-setting growth in all engineering degree programs. The gift coincides with the statewide University Engineering Initiative Act, which is shaping the university's efforts to boost the number of annual engineering graduates to 587, an increase of 39 percent over 10 years. The College of Engineering is simultaneously embarking on a $40 million facilities expansion plan. In order to help increase student retention and graduation rates, the college has allocated the Dolese gift to support student scholarship, tutoring and mentoring programs.

"These funds are a true gift," said Gary Clark, interim dean of the College of Engineering. "They are so timely and critical to help us with our strategic plan to increase the number of engineering graduates and align with K-State's 2025 vision. With this gift, Dolese specifically implored us to increase the number of engineering graduates as quickly as possible, which aligns perfectly with the initiative already underway in our college."

Dolese officials say the gift results from the vision of the late Roger Dolese, who led the family-founded company for decades. As part of Dolese's plan to keep the company privately owned and increase the number of engineers coming from nearby universities, he finalized the charitable partnership prior to his death in 2001. The gift is being announced publicly now that it is fully complete, although the three universities have benefited from the arrangement since its inception.

"For years the gift from Dolese has allowed us to capitalize on unprecedented enrollment growth in the College of Engineering and boost our engineering graduation rate," said Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz. "The funding came at a key time as K-State works to become a top 50 public research university by 2025. We are so grateful to the Dolese Company for this novel and generous gift."