Longtime teacher donates $150,000 for KU
Lavon Brosseau, of Concordia, Kan., has made a $150,000 gift to create three endowed $50,000 funds for the University of Kansas. Her gift established two funds at the Spencer Museum of Art: a Creativity Award for undergraduate students and a Student Education Fund for travel to galleries, internships and special programs. The gift also created a Special Opportunity Fund to enhance the experience of students in the University Honors Program.
“It’s not what you get in life that’s important — it’s what you share,” said Brosseau. “I’m concerned about young people and their education, because I’ve lived long enough to know that if you don’t have an education, you can get by — and some people get by very well without one — but most of the time, the kids that have an education are able to go farther in life.”
Brosseau earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in English literature from Pittsburg State University. She taught 29 years in high schools in the Kansas towns of Atwood, Coffeyville and Concordia. She remained single until well into her 40s, when a chance meeting with the late Jack Brosseau changed her life. The couple were married for 26 years.
While the Brosseaus had no children, Lavon has remained close to a number of her former students, and refers to one of them — longtime KU employee Jeff Weinberg — as her son. Weinberg has worked at KU for 44 years and currently is an Honors Fellow with the University Honors Program. Brosseau said she made the gift to KU because of Weinberg. “He has been an inspiration to me,” she said. “I have always admired Jeff and appreciated what he has done since high school. I dearly love him and his wife, Mary.”
University Honors Program Director Jonathan Earle expressed appreciation for the gift. “Lavon Brosseau is truly a teacher’s teacher,” he said. “This generous gift will be a continuation of what she has already been doing for decades: enriching the lives of her students by offering them exciting new experiences.”
Saralyn Reece Hardy, director of the Spencer Museum of Art, said the gift will provide a lasting benefit for KU students, “Lavon is one of those people who sees straight into the heart of young people,” said Reece Hardy. “She believes in a creative future through education of our citizens of tomorrow. We are honored by her gift and are thrilled with the many opportunities it will provide for students for years to come.”
Jeff Weinberg said Brosseau is dedicated to helping others gain an education. “Jack and Lavon Brosseau, quietly and privately, provided an open door to the future to countless young people,” he said. “After Jack’s death, Lavon has continued this tradition. I can only believe that nature endowed them with the grace to enhance the lives of others, and I am deeply grateful that they have both known the joy that this brings to life.”
The funds created by this gift are named the Jack and Lavon Brosseau Student Education Fund, the Jack and Lavon Brosseau Creativity Award and the Lavon Brosseau Honors Special Opportunity Fund. Brosseau’s earlier support for KU has included $500,000 for the Brosseau Scholars program, $128,000 for the Spencer Museum of Art and $20,000 for the University Honors Program.
The gift counts toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university’s $1.2 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign. Far Above seeks support to educate future leaders, advance medicine, accelerate discovery and drive economic growth to seize the opportunities of the future.
The campaign is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.