The University of Kansas has announced a $7.4 million estate gift from alumnus Lavon Brousseau to benefit students majoring in the arts, humanities, and education.
The bequest from the retired high school teacher will create several funds named for Brousseau and her husband, Jack, benefiting areas across the university, including an Honors Scholars program for students in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (as part of the KU Honors Program); scholarships for students at the college; a Center for Learning at the Spencer Museum of Art; awards and programming designed to encourage creativity for students in the humanities and the arts; and scholarships and prizes for students in the UKanTeach Program.
Brosseau grew up on a farm without electricity or plumbing and lived in a modest two-bedroom home until her death in 2016 at the age of 88. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from Kansas State University and a master's degree in English literature from Pittsburg State University, and taught English for twenty-nine years in public high schools in Atwood, Coffeyville, and Concordia, as well as at Cloud County Community College. Her husband, Jack Brosseau, who co-owned a small glass company, died in 1998. The couple used their savings to buy farmland, which comprised a large part of their estate.
"It's not what you get in life that's important — it's what you share," said Lavon Brosseau in 2014. "I'm concerned about young people and their education, because I've lived long enough to know that the kids who have an education are able to go farther in life."