students in germany

Gift funds fellowships for students in KU's German language department

Max Kade Center
Max Kade Center

A $56,000 gift from the Max Kade Foundation will fund four $14,000 fellowships for doctoral students in the University of Kansas Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures.

Since 1964, the Max Kade Foundation of New York has provided a total of more than $1 million to KU’s German department. The gifts have supported fellowships, a professorship and renovation of the home of Mervin Sudler, former dean of the KU School of Medicine. It now serves as a residence for the Max Kade Distinguished Professor and provides space for KU’s Max Kade Center for German-American Studies.

This year’s fellowship recipients are Anne Peterson, Julia Trumpold, Michael Gruenbaum and John Paul Dove.

Support such as this is crucial, said Dove. He and his wife have one young son and are expecting their second child this fall. His long-term goal is to teach German language classes at the university level. “Without this fellowship, I would have to be working part time or even full time and having to write at night,” Dove said. “This gives me a chance to make a lot of progress. It’s quite a blessing for me this year.”

Bill Keel, department chair, said graduate students are allowed to work as teaching assistants for five years. “Then they’re basically on their own if they haven’t finished their Ph.D. by then,” Keel said. “These fellowships allow them to have one, and possibly two, years of financial support while they’re completing their Ph.D. or writing their doctoral dissertation.”

The gifts from the Max Kade Foundation are important to the program, Keel said. “We’re continually being asked, ‘What can we do to increase support for doctoral students?’ Well, thanks to the Max Kade Foundation, we’ve done it.” Keel noted that in the 2008-09 academic year the Max Kade Foundation provided three $14,000 fellowships. “We had a fourth student who needed one this year, so we asked for it and they agreed.”

Max Kade was a German immigrant who in the early 1900s made his fortune from the manufacture and distribution of a cough medicine, Pertussin. In 1944, he and his wife established the Max Kade Foundation to help people in need, and save works of art and other objects of the German cultural heritage. Later, the foundation’s objective widened “to sow the seeds of friendship where there had been enmity,” and the focus turned to providing support for higher education.

The funds are managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the oldest foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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