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KU Alum Sets up Scholarship for Rural Students

Gratitude for the scholarship support they received in college and a lifelong passion for reading has led a University of Kansas alumnus and his wife to make a $2 million gift commitment for the University of Kansas, reports a University of Kansas article,“A passion for architecture, reading sparks $2 million estate gift.” Their planned gift will provide $1.6 million to establish the Michael A. Cummings Scholarship for architecture students in KU’s School of Architecture, Design & Planning, which will look to give preference to architecture students from rural communities.

The gift will also provide $400,000 for Reach out and Read Kansas City. That program partners with doctors to provide books for children and to encourage parents to read to them.

“Small towns aren’t as isolated now as when I grew up,” Michael Cummings said. “But there’s still a difference in resources that are available and in the kind of things you become aware of. I’m hoping this scholarship will help some people who will have a similar experience to what I have had, which is to find a career that wasn’t on their radar and from there to end up with a wonderful and fulfilling career.”

Cummings’ wife, Pamela Miller said the scholarship expresses their gratitude to KU for making Michael’s career possible.

“I know how much he loves what he does and how good he is at it, and his career has brought tremendous benefit to our lives,” she said. “In turn we can help make a difference. We can not only pay back, but we also can pay forward.”

“We are grateful to Michael and Pamela for their love of our school,” said Dean Mahesh Daas. “This scholarship will give students who come from rural communities the opportunity to become part of the vision we have for all of our students, and that is that each should become a pioneering force for achieving global impact through design.”

Their gift for Reach Out and Read Kansas City shows the Cummings’ lifelong interest in books. Pamela said that Reach out and Read Kansas City is a win-win for children. It’s a nonprofit program at the KU Medical Center, which is a member of the national Reach Out and Read Program.

Reference: University of Kansas (January 11, 2016) “A passion for architecture, reading sparks $2 million estate gift”

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