Dave Foster instructing students during a lighting lecture in his Video for Still Photographers class. Photo taken by Tyler Hill.

Truly Transformational

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 (JMC).

Wallace (Wally) Hagedorn, took one photojournalism class at Kent State 73 years ago and was forever changed. He 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. When he passed away in Cincinnati in 2013, he chose to leave a generous and unexpected $3 million gift to benefit JMC photojournalism students for years to come.

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

“We can never underestimate the impact that Kent State has on people, whether they are graduates or not,” said 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.”

Hagedorn’s multi-million dollar bequest brings JMC’s endowment to more than $7.6 million, a historic all-time high for the School. 

HOW IT WORKS

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 a $5,000 annually. The scholarship can be applied to tuition, room and board, and fees.

JMC recognizes the potential of its students and understands the importance of investing in the next generation of visual storytellers. This gift provides an unprecedented opportunity for both current JMC students and incoming freshmen. 

“Our faculty and students have worked incredibly hard to build this program to where it is today – a top 10 Photojournalism program,” said JMC Director Thor Wasbotten. “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.”

The photojournalism program prides itself on not only classroom learning outcomes, but on providing students with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. Any remaining funds will be used to support student endeavors within the Photojournalism program, and 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.

JMC lecturer David LaBelle, 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 criteria and application details are being finalized by the School and will be made available in the coming weeks. 

CHECK OUT WORK FROM OUR PHOTOJOURNALISM STUDENTS

Photojournalism student work featured in Picture Kentucky 2014 video

Freshman Welcome and Photography Exhibit.

Compassionate Storytelling: JMC photojournalism majors remember Flight 93.

Photojournalism Student Makes JMC History in Hearst Photography Competition.