Wichita State, KU receive estate gift to fund $11 million in scholarships

Dick Smith's widow said he donated $5.5 million each to Wichita State University and the...
Dick Smith's widow said he donated $5.5 million each to Wichita State University and the University of Kansas because he believed in a college education.(KWCH)
Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 6:51 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Wichita State University and the University of Kansas received a welcome gift on Wednesday. The estate of the late Richard “Dick” Smith presented the universities with a total of $11 million to fund scholarships. WSU said its the 6th largest estate gift since the university’s founding in 1885.

Smith was a longtime Wichitan and KU alum who founded Range Oil Company. He died last year at the age of 87. Smith’s widow, Sondra Langel, said he left behind $5.5 million for each university because he believed in education.

“Dick believed that a college education could have an incomparable impact on the direction an individual’s life could take. His family and friends join in celebrating the opportunities his scholarships will create for thousands of young Kansas students,” she said.

The scholarships will cover all expenses related to college, including, tuition and fees, books, and housing.

“The chancellor (Douglas Girod) and myself are very grateful to be able to share in a scholarship of this size. We often don’t get any of this. Neither of us get scholarships this big,” said Wichita State President Dr. Rick Muma.

Girod said he was also grateful his university was included.

“Even though they (students) never had a chance to get to meet Dick Smith. They will benefit from the incredible man that he was,” he said.

At Wichita State, undergraduates from any field of study will be eligible for the Richard “Dick” Smith Scholarship. At KU, Smith specified that the gift be divided equally between scholarships for undergraduates across the university and students studying geology.

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