dinosaur skeleton at the Natural History Museum

Estate gift supports Natural History Museum and industrial design

A $200,000 estate gift from University of Kansas alumnus George Seymour will provide support for KU’s Natural History Museum and establish an endowed scholarship for students majoring in industrial design.

Seymour, who lived in Prairie Village, Kan., earned a bachelor’s degree in architectural design from KU in 1932. His career path led him to the railroad industry, where he eventually became president of the George T. Cook railroad supply company.

George Seymour’s stepdaughter, Maggie Moran, business ’78, law ’83, of Kansas City, Mo., described her late stepfather as a generous man who always was willing to help co-workers, family and friends in need. Seymour also was a talented artist, she said: “He majored in architecture, in part, because he loved to draw.”

Throughout his life, Seymour maintained close ties to KU. “He loved KU,” Moran said. “He was very loyal to the University of Kansas.”

Lois Greene, interim chair of KU’s Department of Design, in the School of Architecture, Design and Planning, said this is the first endowed scholarship established for a specific area of the department. “It is also significant because it prompts the faculty to encourage students to achieve a level of excellence in order to apply for the scholarship,” she said.

Leonard Krishtalka, director of the Biodiversity Institute, which includes the Natural History Museum, said the museum’s portion of the gift would help bring its discoveries of the life of the planet to all Kansans. Private support is critical for the public programs at the museum, which is visited by more than 60,000 children, adults and families each year, Krishtalka said.

“We are extremely grateful for this generous gift,” Krishtalka said. “It will help us to provide new exhibits and education programs on our exploration of the world’s animals and plants, and how to conserve them for future generations.”

The two Seymour funds will be managed by KU Endowment, the official fundraising and fund-management foundation for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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