Estate gift from KU alumnus and his wife enhances scholarship support for journalism students

A $1.36 million gift from the estate of the late KU alumnus John P. Kaiser and his wife, Mary Kaiser, will provide scholarship support for journalism students. The gift will enhance the John P. Kaiser Journalism Scholarship Fund, which the Kaisers established in 2005 with a $500,000 gift to KU Endowment.

John Kaiser earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from KU in 1951. He began his career as a journalist in the U.S. Coast Guard, and later worked for Capper Publications in Topeka. He retired in 1986 as vice president of marketing for the magazine division of Dun & Bradstreet in Chicago. Mary Kaiser graduated from Fairmont State College (now Fairmont State University) in 1950. She began her career as secretary to the president of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and later worked at Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad Company.

“The School of Journalism thrives because of the dedication and generosity of our alumni,” said Ann Brill, dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications. “The Kaisers’ love for KU and the School of Journalism is humbling. Their gifts continue to provide our students with incredible opportunities.”

Since 2005, the Kaiser Scholarship fund has supported nine students. The additional $1.36 million in support will allow the school to more than double the number of students benefiting from this fund.

In 2006, Scott Toland, who lived in Iola, Kan., became the first full-ride recipient of the Kaiser Scholarship. Toland said the scholarship opened doors for him by removing the financial burden of a college education and allowing him to be more involved in the J-School.

“When I found out about the scholarship, I really couldn’t believe it at first,” Toland said. “It was so nice of the Kaiser family to give the scholarship and I felt so honored to be named the first recipient. It gave me more time to get involved in the Daily Kansan and the television station.” 

John and Mary Kaiser