By Patricia O’Dell
When Karen and Don Loeffelholz’s daughter, Kristin, passed away in 1998, they made their first contribution to UMKC in her memory.
A few years later in 2001, they established the Kristin Jane Loeffelholz Memorial Scholarship in her name and have been contributing to it since.
The couple feels that providing these scholarships is the kind of lasting legacy that Kristin deserves.
“Kristin loved UMKC,” Don says. “She was her happiest when she was there.”
The Loeffelholzes developed the scholarship criteria based on Kristin’s personal experience. Recipients must be active in engineering activities, either Kansas, Missouri or Iowa residents, employed part-time and maintaining a C+ average or better.
“It was our idea to create a scholarship for students like Kristin who study hard, have a job in order to contribute to their own tuition and take part in engineering school activities,” says Karen.
The Loeffelholzes have attended the scholar/donor event in the School of Computing and Engineering almost every year since their first donation.
“It always impresses and inspires us,” says Karen. “Each year it’s different, but we’ve enjoyed every one. There is nothing more wonderful than meeting the students. They are always so polite. It’s a great, happy event.”
After considering different ways to make a gift, the couple felt that a scholarship was the best memorial for Kristin.
“It seemed better than planting a tree or donating a bench. It’s something that will always give back without our having to ask for help for something like a walk,” Karen says.
The couple recently joined the Robert H. Flarsheim Society, which honors donors who include UMKC in their estates, by designating a gift to ensure the scholarship’s longevity.
This year’s recipient is Mina Kim, a senior studying electrical engineering and computing.
“This scholarship has allowed me to be more focused on my school work and involved in engineering activities,” Kim says. “I never would have guessed that it would have made so much of an impact on my life.”
Kim is grateful that the Loeffelholzes’ gift has allowed her to take on greater leadership responsibilities and pursue other opportunities.
“I have been able to obtain an internship with a small engineering firm where I’ve been able to apply all that I have learned and contribute to real substations and power plants,” Kim says. “It’s exciting to know that I helped create something that helps others.”