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College of Architecture, Planning and Design

Donor Stories

Kansas State University's College of Architecture, Planning & Design, or APDesign, has announced an $8 million gift — the largest gift in the college's history.

According to APDesign Dean Tim de Noble, the alumnus and spouse, longtime Kansans, were positively impacted by their higher education and desire to help others achieve. The funds, to arrive through their estate in the future, will be invested with an expected distribution of about $400,000 annually.

A majority of annual distributions will support full-ride scholarships for Kansas students with financial need and a minimum 3.5 grade point average in at least their third year of study in the College of Architecture, Planning & Design. The donors, who asked to remain anonymous, also designated a portion of the distributions to support the dean's excellence fund, which provides flexibility to the college's leader to address emerging opportunities and priorities.

"Our drive toward academic excellence is fueled by alumni and friends," de Noble said. "Our margin of excellence in scholarship, teaching, and facilities will be dramatically advanced by such a transformational gift. We are truly grateful for this investment in the college and the impact it will have now and in the future."

The gift is a part of Kansas State University's $1 billion Innovation and Inspiration Campaign, which includes a $28 million goal for the College of Architecture, Planning & Design. Philanthropic priorities for the college include excellence funding, student success, faculty development and $13.5 million in private support for the Seaton Complex revitalization and expansion, currently underway. To date, the college has secured private commitments of over $8 million in funding for the project, which will renovate 80,000 square feet and add 114,000 square feet of adjoining new construction.

Philanthropic contributions to Kansas State University are coordinated by the Kansas State University Foundation. The KSU Foundation was established in 1944 as the official fundraising arm of Kansas State University. It is a separate, independent entity chartered by the state of Kansas as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit education corporation. The foundation is leading the $1 billion Innovation and Inspiration Campaign, which has recorded gifts of more than $850 million thus far to advance Kansas State University.


Ben Barnert

Architect’s legacy helps K-State students build strong futures

By Hayli Morrison

Ben Barnert graduated from K-State’s College of Architecture, Planning & Design in 1977 and proceeded to work on legendary sports architecture projects like Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. After succumbing to an 18-month battle with cancer in July 2013, Barnert’s legacy continues at his alma mater with gifts from family, former coworkers and friends.

The Ben Barnert Memorial Scholarship will support architecture students at the university Barnert loved. Darla Barnert, Ben’s wife and high school sweetheart, looks forward to watching the professional journeys of the scholarship recipients.

“Ben would be so proud,” she said. “His thought was always, don’t be afraid to dream and step out there.”

One of Ben Barnert’s more memorable achievements while at K-State was his involvement with a committee to build a new house for Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. The house now stands near the eastern edge of campus and contains a conference room named after Ben.

“That’s really where he felt like he learned leadership and how to bring people together from all walks of life to work together for a common goal,” Darla Barnert said.

After college, during his three-decade career with Populous global design firm, he was promoted to senior partner and principal while leading more than 20 high-profile sports facility projects. Along the way, he developed a reputation as a terrific mentor and leader with strong problem-solving skills, fun-loving yet driven and dedicated to his work.

“Beyond his skills as an architect, he was simply one of the best people I have ever known,” said Rick Martin, retired senior principal of Populous. “He was caring of others, respectful, giving of his time, funny and compassionate. He was a great friend, and he is missed by all of us who were fortunate enough to have Ben in our lives.” 




William T. Kemper Foundation gives $1 million boost to Seaton Complex

By Hayli Morrison

The Kansas City, Missouri-based William T. Kemper Foundation has made a gift of $1 million to the College of Architecture, Planning & Design (APDesign) at Kansas State University to support the Seaton Complex revitalization and expansion.

With expected groundbreaking in fall 2015, the $75 million project will renovate 80,000 square feet of Seaton Hall and add 114,000 square feet of new construction. The building will include consolidated fabrication capabilities, integrated design labs, collaborative spaces and a 300-seat auditorium. In recognition of the gift, the exterior amphitheatre will be named the William T. Kemper Foundation Amphitheatre. Upon completion, the amphitheatre will serve as a public gathering place for students, faculty and visitors to interact outdoors.

Kemper, a 1926 University of Missouri graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City. His 52-year career in banking included top positions in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.

“The William T. Kemper Foundation is delighted to support the expansion and renovation of Seaton Complex,” said Office Director Beth A. Radtke. “With greatly enhanced facilities, APDesign will at last have classrooms, studios, fabrication labs and a gallery space commensurate with the superior quality of the education inside. This important project will help to ensure that APDesign continues to attract the best and brightest students and faculty well into the future.”

“We are deeply grateful for the William T. Kemper Foundation’s generous show of support for the Seaton Complex revitalization and expansion, a project that will bring our learning environment in line with our exceptional national reputation,” said Timothy de Noble, dean of APDesign. “Design aesthetic and environmental stewardship are foremost in our mind throughout this process, to align with the principles we teach. The William T. Kemper Foundation Amphitheatre touches on both those elements, as heretofore our students have not had an attractive central outdoor gathering space they could call their own.”

Philanthropic contributions to K-State are coordinated by the Kansas State University Foundation. The foundation staff works with university partners to build lifelong relationships with alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students through involvement and investment in the university.

More about the Seaton Hall Revitalization and Expansion.

About the William T. Kemper Foundation - Commerce Bank, Trustee

The William T. Kemper Foundation, established in 1989, honors Mr. Kemper’s life-long interest in improving the human condition and quality of life. The Kemper Foundation focuses its giving on education, health and human services, the arts and civic improvements.


Seaton Hall expansion, renovation move forward with multimillion dollar gift


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