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K-State Today

November 12, 2013

Gifts ensure couple's legacy at K-State

Submitted by Marisa Larson

Margo Kren is very intentional in her art, her work and now in her philanthropy to K-State.

"I’m not a 'go in the studio and slop it around' painter," Kren said. "I have to do research, sometimes for 10 years, before I begin."

Kren, a retired K-State art professor, was very deliberate in how she decided to leave a legacy for herself and her husband, George Kren, a former history professor at K-State. She has made three gifts to the university benefiting the history department and the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art through a combination of expendable funds to be used now and a bequest in her will to be realized at a later date.

The George Kren Fund supports a faculty member’s research, writing and related activities focusing 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. The George and Margo Kren Fund will benefit the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art by supporting professional development for staff members.

In 1989, Kren was given the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Member Award and in 1995 she became the first woman promoted to full professor in the art department at K-State. Her husband, George Kren, died in 2000. As a history professor, he focused mostly on European intellectual thought and was an expert on the Holocaust, and 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.

Having given her gifts to K-State 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.

"I am glad that I decided to make a donation now — it is so exciting to see your vision becoming a reality," 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 bequest will fund. As an artist, I know just how important a received grant can be. The experience can be extremely supportive. And these gifts represent George, too. He valued education because education can make you free."