Decades of Student Service

(Photo above) STUDENT-CENTERED: David Menager, a SELF Graduate Fellow majoring in computer science (left) and Matthew McFarlane, a 2017 architectural engineering graduate (right), were among the students who celebrated the dedication of the Florence E. Boldridge Conference Room with her.

Diversity and Women’s Programs at the KU School of Engineering celebrated its 45th anniversary in April 2016. Florence Boldridge was named the director in 1983 and quickly became the face of the program. She spent her career working with underrepresented minorities and undergraduate women, helping students with academics, networking, leadership skills and scholarships. More important, Boldridge is known for mentoring students and inspiring them to achieve more than they ever imagined. 

To celebrate its anniversary, the program’s advisory board set out to raise $100,000 to provide students with opportunity funds as well as bolster recruitment efforts to bring the brightest underrepresented minorities and women to the school. Michael Branicky, dean of the School of Engineering, saw this as an opportunity to commemorate Boldridge’s service and proposed naming a conference room in her honor when the goal was met.

In just a few months and with a generous lead gift of $30,000, 48 donors came together to raise just over $103,000 on KU Endowment’s crowdfunding platform, LaunchKU. To date, the campaign has raised the most funds on the platform. The funds are supporting a variety of Engineering Diversity and Women’s Programs, including the Shinn Scholars and the National Society of Black Engineers. The Florence E. Boldridge Conference Room in the Learned Engineering Expansion Phase 2 building was named and dedicated at Boldridge’s retirement ceremony in April 2017. 

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 34 years as Director of Diversity and Women’s Programs,” Boldridge said. “I couldn’t be more pleased to have one of our alumni, Andrew Williams, take on the responsibilities as Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. I look forward to there being a great deal of growth within the program.”

Members of the advisory board, who helped champion the crowdfunding project, hailed its success. 

“What a great way to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the minority engineering programs with a tribute to Florence Boldridge,” said Luke Bobo, member of the program’s advisory board and 1982 engineering graduate. “To know that I helped raise $100,000 that will eventually help another student make his or her mark on the world, it’s hard to express in words.”


To support Diversity and Women’s Programs at the School of Engineering, contact Susan Reilly at
785-832-7351 or