Photojournalism Program at Kent State University Receives $3 Million Scholarship Bequest

Impressed by a 1941 visit to Kent State, Cincinnati man leaves millions to fund student scholarships

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The largest single gift ever made to Kent State University to fund only scholarships will transform the Photojournalism program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

A Cincinnati man who took a photojournalism class at Kent State in 1941 has left a $3 million bequest to the program. Wallace (Wally) Hagedorn, who passed away in 2013, was so impressed with the class he took while still in high school he became an amateur photographer. 

Neither Hagedorn nor his wife went on to attend Kent State, but Hagedorn never forgot his experience or the skills he acquired in photography, which became a lifelong passion.

The Wallace J. Hagedorn Scholarship will be awarded each year to eight students in the Photojournalism program at Kent State. Two freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and two seniors will each receive at least $5,000 annually. Four additional scholarships will be awarded to Photo Illustration students in Kent State’s School of Visual Communication Design. Any remaining funds will be used to support student endeavors within the Photojournalism program.

“We can never underestimate the impact that Kent State has on people, whether they are graduates or not,” said Kent State President Beverly Warren. “Mr. Hagedorn never forgot his visit to Kent State as a teenager, or the difference it made in his life. He really wanted to give back in a meaningful way, and his generous gift to fund scholarships will have a tremendous impact on our students’ lives.”

The bequest aligns with Warren’s “Students First” agenda, which makes scholarships a priority. 

“Our faculty and students have worked incredibly hard to build this program to where it is today – a top 10 photojournalism program,” said Thor Wasbotten, director and professor of Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Mr. Hagedorn’s gift will allow many of our students to continue to focus on their learning while alleviating the pressure of the cost of their education. Mr. Hagedorn’s gift is truly transformational, and we appreciate his generosity.”

David LaBelle, faculty lead in Kent State’s Photojournalism program, added, “Mr. Hagedorn’s generous gift is going to change a lot of lives for the better and make many dreams come true, while assuring that compassionate storytelling will live at Kent State for many years to come."

“The Wallace J. Hagedorn Scholarship is an extraordinary and farsighted gift that will be a critical resource for attracting the highest-quality students to Kent State University,” said AnnMarie LeBlanc, acting dean of Kent State’s College of Communication and Information. “With this support, we also can continue our investment in our photojournalism and photo illustration students so they can consider experiential learning opportunities like studying abroad or accepting an internship.”

The Wallace J. Hagedorn Scholarship can be applied to tuition, room and board, and fees. Funds also will be available within a student’s curricular or extracurricular work to travel to workshops or conferences, and to enter their work in competitions.

For more information about The Wallace J. Hagedorn Scholarship, visit the Kent State School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s website at

2016-2017 JMC Scholarship Application

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Media Contacts:
Thor Wasbotten,, 330-672-4066
Deb McGuinness,, 330-672-0419
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797