By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
It might have been a long time ago, but Jack Eades still remembers his challenges as a college student trying to make ends meet.
That's why Eades, who graduated nearly 75 years ago from Fort Hays State University, decided to share his good fortune with current FHSU students.
"(Fort Hays) made it possible for me to get an education and get employed," the 95-year-old Eades said in a Tuesday phone interview from his South Carolina home. "Kids need help to go to school, and I decided why pay capital taxes when I could help some of those students go to college."
Eades, who grew up in Stockton, donated $600,000 for scholarships from the sale of 6 acres of land near his South Carolina home.
His gift was one of two announced Tuesday in a press conference at FHSU.
An additional $155,000, in the form of a life-income plan, came from an anonymous donor who is not a graduate of FHSU but said, "we developed a great interest in the university through our many years of partnership."
The two combined gifts of $755,000 raised to 30 percent what the $8 million Power of One Scholarship Campaign has earned since its launch in mid-December. The campaign is scheduled to run through December.
The Power of One, which FHSU President Edward Hammond said "every single dollar makes a difference," represents a 400-percent increase from normal fundraising expectations for the FHSU Foundation during a year's time.
Eades worked on campus for $17 a month, which he described "as big money back then," and graduated in 1940 from what then was Fort Hays Kansas State College.
"You could go to school for $40 tuition a semester," he said. "Now, it's unbelievable."
While FHSU has the lowest tuition of any Kansas Regents school, a large percentage of students attending Fort Hays still need financial aid.
Eades earned a degree in botany, specializing in plant and animal ecology, and eventually got a job at the U.S. Vegetable Breeding Laboratory in Charleston, S.C.
"And I've been here ever since," Eades said.
But he never forgot where he came from.
"I thought about this for a long time," Eades said. "I wanted to give something to help my high school and decided scholarships to Fort Hays would be a good way. Stockton is a small town, and these kids need to get an education. I hope this helps."
First priority for Eades' scholarship money will go to graduates of Stockton High School, then Rooks County graduates, then graduates from any western Kansas high school.
Tim Chapman, president and CEO of the FHSU Foundation, said the two gifts announced Tuesday represent "creative ways to donate," stressing donations don't have to come in the form of cash.
Chapman said there are more contributions to the campaign in the works.
"I look forward to many more press conferences like this," he said. "I hope we can have one once a month."
To give to the Power of One campaign, visit foundation.fhsu.edu and click on "Make a Gift TODAY" in the upper right-hand corner and select FHSU's Greatest Need as your area of designation, or call the foundation at (785) 628-5620.