rainbows over lawrence campus skyline

Estate gift creates new scholarship for KU students

Joan and Wayne Anderson
Joan and Wayne Anderson

A $264,000 estate gift from University of Kansas alumni Wayne and Joan Anderson has created a new scholarship for KU students.

Wayne Anderson earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1942, and Joan (Taylor) Anderson received a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts in 1941. The couple spent their later years in Englewood, Colo., after having lived around the world during Wayne’s career with ExxonMobil. Joan died in 2004, and Wayne died earlier this year.

“It is my hope that the students who are helped by this scholarship will know how important education was to the Andersons,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “They graduated from KU, enjoyed a lifetime of success and, as they approached the end of their lives, they made plans to provide scholarship support for KU students. That’s a gift that speaks to the importance of the past, as well as of the future.”

The Andersons had three children, Patricia Fanning, who graduated from KU in 1964; Rebecca Seaman; and Sally Jackson. Fanning said her family’s high regard for education goes back generations. For instance, her great-great grandparents migrated from Nova Scotia to the United States and settled in Boston, where all of their 15 children — eight sons and seven daughters — earned college degrees, the boys at Harvard, the girls at Mount Holyoke.

“Education was one of the things that our parents always emphasized,” Fanning said. “They’d say get a good education and you’re set for the world.”

The couple married soon after graduating from KU. Wayne Anderson started out working for Phillips 66 in Texas. During World War II, he volunteered for the Navy, where he served in the Pacific Theater during the Battle of Okinawa. In 1951, he began working for ExxonMobil, which led to a lifetime of travel.

No matter where they lived, learning continued to be important to the Andersons. In every country, Joan learned the language and customs. When she became interested in working with the blind, she learned how to type Braille and transcribed books for the Library of Congress. She later became a passionate gardener and wrote two books on gardening.

The Wayne C. and Joan T. Anderson scholarship fund will be managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Rosita McCoy

Senior Vice President, Communications and Marketing 785-832-7336

Michelle Tevis

Senior Editor, Media Relations 785-832-7363