Koch Foundation pledge bears its first fruit

Ten new Shockers will be on campus this fall who are expected to stand out.

They’re the inaugural class of Koch Scholars, winners of $30,000 each to fund an education at Wichita State.

They’ll stand out because, according to a WSU Honors College news release, they were chosen to “demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual curiosity … and agree to participate in program activities and workshops coordinated by the Honors College.”

The scholarships were established as part of the 2014 pledge of $11.25 million from Koch Industries and the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation.

“$1.54 million of that pledge was set aside for the Honors College Koch Scholars Program,” said Honors College adviser Stephanie Rogers, “which awards up to $7,500 (in state), or $15,000 (out of state) per year for four years.”

All of this year’s crop of Koch Scholars hail from Kansas, including Kyle Kopecky, who will be studying finance and marketing.

He said he chose to apply to the Honors College because of the opportunities available at Wichita State, including the Koch scholarship, the Barton International Group and the hands-on trading floor, also donated by Koch Industries.

“WSU has had a rich history of successful entrepreneurs as well as business leaders,” Kopecky said. “I plan to continue being a strong leader on campus.

“Being selected as a Koch Scholar will allow me to work with other driven students like myself across a variety of majors.”

To qualify for the merit-based scholarships, the 10 high school seniors have each declared majors in engineering or business, with preference given to computer engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, accounting, economics, finance, human resources and management information systems.

In addition, eligibility criteria for the Honors College required an ACT score of 27 or a high school GPA of 3.7. The application process included an essay, résumé review and an extensive interview with faculty to evaluate integrative learning, critical thinking and reasoning skills, as well as demonstrated experience in team building and collaborative work.

The scholarship money is renewable and can be used for tuition, fees and room and board.

University President John Bardo, at the Dec. 19 announcement of the initial pledge, called Koch’s $11.25 million a “transformative gift will have an impact on generations of Wichita State students.”

The 10 Koch scholarship winners are:

Scholarship winners

1. Chase Crenshaw, Andover High School, computer science

2. Kiehn Foraker, Rose Hill High School, computer science

3. Courntey Grosch, Newton High School, economics

4. Morgan Jarrett, Mulvane High School, computer engineering

5. Kyle Kopecky, Blue Valley North High School, finance and marketing

6. Thomas Schmidt, Wichita Northwest High School, economics and finance

7. Daniel Martin, Flinthills High School, economics

8. Nicholas Perkins, Andover High School, computer engineering

9. Jessica Wehkamp, Cimarron High School, accounting

10. Taylor Williams, Wichita High School Easy, mechanical engineering