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Foundation Honors Kanters with Student Center Naming

Published Friday, July 10th, 2015

C. James & Barbara K. Kanter Student Center
Newly appointed president Marysz Rames, Barb and Jim Kanter, and former president Curt Frye present the new sign for the C. James & Barbara K. Kanter Student Center.

The Wayne State Foundation honored Jim and Barb Kanter of Minneapolis, Minn., on June 26 with a dinner and program to celebrate the newly named C. James and Barbara K. Kanter Student Center.

Jim and Barb Kanter

The Wayne State Foundation honored Jim and Barb Kanter of Minneapolis, Minn., on June 26 with a dinner and program to celebrate the newly named C. James and Barbara K. Kanter Student Center, which was dedicated in May.

The Nebraska State College System Board of Trustees chose to name the center after the Kanters to recognize their major financial support and because they are individuals who bring honor to the college system by their values and work ethic.

Phyllis Conner, vice president of development and executive director of the Wayne State Foundation, introduced and publicly thanked the Kanters at the dinner.

“There is no recognition or naming opportunity that could repay Jim and Barb Kanter for their amazing support for Wayne State College through the Wayne State Foundation – truly, support that includes their time, talent and treasure,” said Conner. “We are eternally grateful for what you have done and that you are part of the Wayne State family.”

The Kanters have financially supported many projects at WSC, including the Willow Bowl restoration, the US Conn Library renovation, the Alumni House renovation, the Barbara K. Kanter Endowed Scholarship, the Service-learning program and the general fund.  

Barb Kanter grew up in Wisner and graduated from WSC in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She serves as the secretary/treasurer of the Wayne State Foundation and was the recipient of the Wayne State Alumni Service Award in 2010. Jim grew up in Battle Creek and is a graduate of Kearney State College. They are both trustees of the Wayne State Foundation. 

Jim and Barb each expressed their gratitude and privilege to be a part of Wayne State College.

”The honor that has been bestowed upon Jim and I in the naming of this building is quite overwhelming,” said Barb. “When this was first brought up by Curt and Phyllis as a possibility, I was reluctant at the thought, because I didn’t feel we needed recognition for something that feels like the right thing to do for generations to come.”

She also credited Wayne State for her education and career success.

“Wayne State was the perfect size for me – I didn’t get lost in a sea of people,” she said. “It goes without saying that it takes a lot of time and effort to be successful, and with a good education, life is a lot easier to figure out. I will always appreciate the opportunities that have opened up for me as a result of the good education that I received at a Nebraska state college.”

Jim stressed that even though they started out with nothing, they truly cared about making a difference in the world together.

“A long time ago, Barb and I were two farm kids trying to find our place in the world. We did not know each other, but we shared one common goal – to gain an education and give ourselves the opportunity to make a difference in the world,” he said.

“Even though we’re being honored by the college and Foundation in the naming of the Kanter Student Center, this has been our privilege to be able to help the Foundation and staff and our fellow trustees to make Wayne State College a better place for the students, faculty and administration,” he said. “We are overwhelmed with this honor at the naming of the C. James and Barbara K. Kanter Student Center. But it is our honor to be part of something in this college that has done good things for generations, and we hope we can help and continue its mission into the future.”