Hoping for a chain reaction of giving
By Marisa Larson
“College is more than an education, it’s learning how to be a person and develop relationships,” said Louis Meilink, Jr., a 1987 graduate of Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning and Design. “K-State is just a wonderful environment to create those relationships and to grow as an individual as well as professionally.”
Louis and his wife, Janetann, have created the Louis A. Meilink, Jr. and Janetann Meilink Scholarship in Architecture for the Department of Architecture at Kansas State University. The scholarship will be $1,000 awarded annually to a third, fourth or fifth-year student in the department.
Louis grew up in St. Louis, Mo., and knew he wanted to major in architecture and play football in college. “Being able to find a school that had a good architecture program and a football program was challenging,” Louis said. “K-State provided both, although at the time, K-State football wasn’t as good as it is now. The fun part of my freshman year in 1982 was we went to the first bowl game in Kansas State history.”
Many fond memories fill Louis’s time at K-State such as the gatherings professor Jones would hold so students could speak with visiting architects and guest lecturers in a casual setting. “Another fond memory is the picture we took every year in front of Seaton Hall with all the students,” Louis said. “They’d be up in the rafters and everything. That was always great to see everybody come together in that picture.”
Louis and Janetann, who live in Haddonfield, N.J., visited campus this fall with their youngest son, Doug, who is considering going to K-State in architecture, like his dad. They took some time during their visit to share why they created this scholarship.
What inspired you to create this scholarship? I’ve been very grateful for the education I received at K-State and how that prepared me for my professional life, so I’ve been giving some thought for a couple of years on how to give back to K-State. Creating a scholarship seemed ideal because we know how education is so expensive and a lot of students struggle. We thought it would be great to give back and create this scholarship.
What do you hope this means to a student getting this scholarship?I hope it takes some tension out of the cost associated with college. With the rigor of the selection process of all of these scholarships, it also honors the student recipients. Obviously, if they receive the scholarship it’s because the dean and the committee felt strongly about that person’s performance and growth academically.
What would you say to inspire someone to create a scholarship at K-State?I guess everyone personally thinks about these things but I think it’s important to give back to the institutions that have helped you be successful in your career. It certainly feels good to give back. And I’m sure over the years, as scholarships are given out and students start to receive them, you’ll feel really good about helping the K-State program. The architecture program is one of the best in the country and it does a great job of educating and creating a good work ethic in the students. Being able to educate more students at K-State and give them the resources to do that is just a nice thought. It’s a good way to give back.
There are nearly 800 students in the College of Architecture, Planning and Design and only 90 scholarships to give out. This year there were only four new scholarships created to be given out next year. With 6,500 K-State graduates of the college out there, we hope others will be inspired to create scholarships.
Louis and Janetann hope this scholarship will create a chain reaction of giving, inspiring the recipients and others to give back.