Published Thursday, October 3rd, 2019
The donation is the largest single scholarship gift in the history of Wayne State College.
Wayne State is proud to announce that the Gardner Foundation presented the college with a $1.8 million donation, the largest single scholarship gift in the college’s history, at the annual scholarship luncheon hosted by the Wayne State Foundation on Oct. 3 in the Kanter Student Center.
The $1.8 million gift includes $300,000 in one-time money for the conversion of the college’s natatorium into an Indoor Athletic Complex, and $1.5 million for scholarships. The athletic scholarship fund will receive $925,000, athletic operations will receive $150,000, and academic scholarships will receive $425,000.
The Gardner Foundation has played a role in every fundraising initiative launched by Wayne State College. Gardner Foundation trustees are critical partners in the success of the college and the Wayne State Foundation as the college moves forward to fulfill its mission of excellence in teaching and learning and regional service.
“Wayne State has always been near and dear to our family,” said Leslie Bebee of the Gardner Foundation. “We are pleased we can be in a position to provide students with an opportunity to earn an education. Scholarships can make the difference in whether they go to college or not and if they choose Wayne State.”
The Gardner Foundation has been instrumental in the building of Gardner Hall and the Center for Applied Technology; the renovation of U.S. Conn Library, Memorial Stadium press box, athletic fields, and weight training facilities, the Campus Commons, Carhart Science Building, Studio Arts Building, Heritage Plaza; and a host of other projects on the Wayne State campus. In addition to supporting building projects, the Gardner Foundation has provided strong financial support for athletic teams and Wayne State Foundation’s general fund.
“This commitment in support of athletic scholarship and facilities is extremely exciting,” said Mike Powicki, director of Wayne State College athletics. “These scholarship dollars will most definitely help better position our athletic programs within the Northern Sun Conference and NCAA Division II and give our coaches the additional resources needed to be even more competitive. The indoor athletic complex is something we as an institution desperately need for our athletic department, our students and community partnerships. The Gardner Foundation and family have been vital to the advancement of Wayne State College and success of Wildcat Athletics. We are truly grateful for all they do for us.”
Leslie Bebee, Kirk Gardner, and David Gardner lead the Gardner Foundation. Leslie and Kirk have also served in leadership positions with the Wayne State Foundation. Their input through the years has been instrumental in providing the college with the vision that has allowed the college to grow in tune with the evolving needs of students and faculty.
“The Gardner Foundation’s gift is profoundly transformational for Wayne State,” said Dr. Marysz Rames, president of Wayne State. “This generous donation will make a tremendous difference in the lives of our students, many of whom would not be able to attend college without financial assistance. Scholarships are an important component of the many gateways of opportunity that change the lives of our students and I cannot thank Leslie, Kirk, and David enough for their support of Wayne State. This lead gift will provide momentum as we work to enhance support of our students.”