Legacy Gifts to Support Scholarships in The Teachers College

February 17, 2017

Planned gifts from two Hornet alumnae — Mildred Caldwell (BSE 61 – Speech, Psychology) and Coleen Thebo (BSE 64 – English) — will continue to give education majors in The Teachers College the opportunity to chase their dreams through scholarships. Caldwell’s gift establishes the Mildred L. Caldwell Donor Advised Fund, and Thebo’s gift benefits the recently established Roger G. and Colleen D. Thebo Scholarship.

On Feb. 17, both gifts were celebrated with a bell-ringing ceremony during the annual Founders’ Day Luncheon at the Memorial Union’s Webb Hall. The announcement of Caldwell’s and Thebo’s gifts marked Emporia State’s fifth consecutive day with a celebration during Campaign Celebration Week, a week-long series of events that culminate with the unveiling of the Now & Forever Campaign grand total on Feb. 18.

After graduating from Emporia State, Mildred was the educational director at the First (United) Methodist Church in Pittsburg, Kansas, for two years. After earning an additional major in social science in 1963, she taught for two years in Colorado before returning to Kansas as a history and government teacher at Flinthills High School. Mildred taught at Flinthills High School for 31 years until she retired in 1997.

At Emporia State, four areas will benefit from the Mildred L. Caldwell Donor Advised Fund — the Future Teacher Mentorship Award, the Mildred L. Caldwell Scholarship Fund, the National Teachers Hall of Fame and the Karl C. & Margaret C. Bruder Scholarship in Theatre Arts. 

“Education has always been important to our family,” Mildred said. “However, the funds to pay for it have sometimes not been readily available. As I was trying to decide who should be remembered in my will I thought back on my own school days and how the drought of the ‘50s impacted us financially.  

“With that thought in mind I decided that part of whatever money was left should go to the Emporia State University Foundation,” Mildred continued. “Hopefully, it will give students, who are in a similar financial position to what I once was, the means to complete their education.”

Established in 2016 by Colleen, the Roger G. & Colleen D. Thebo Scholarship will provide scholarships for secondary or elementary education majors who graduated from a high school in Wyandotte County, Kansas. Colleen explained why she wanted to establish the scholarship. 

“I worked because there was no other way,” Colleen said. “My father had no money to send me to school, so I had to put myself through by government loans and by working. I had worked on-campus for a very short period of time and worked at Feld Chevrolet in Kansas City, Kansas, during the summers.

“I wanted to give financial assistance to students to attend school because college is incredibly expensive. I know that I needed help when I went to school, so I wanted to help other students, specifically from Wyandotte County.” 

Both Roger Thebo, Colleen’s late husband, and Colleen herself were longtime residents and supporters of Wyandotte County. While Roger was a police captain, Colleen was a teacher until her retirement.

“I was influenced to be a teacher because of an educator I was taught by,” said Colleen Thebo. “He did a lot to make me interested in the field of English, so I wanted to be an English teacher. Emporia State allowed me to become a teacher, which I then continued to do for 32 years. It was the diving board that got me into the occupation.”

Colleen Thebo has hopes that her scholarship can provide the financial assistance that could help Hornets in the future.

“I hope it allows people who can’t afford school to be able to attend and become what they want to become. Hopefully teachers, but if they don’t decide to become teachers after their training, I hope it helps with their all-around education.”

Dr. Ken Weaver, dean of The Teachers College, discussed the impact that Mildred Caldwell and Colleen Thebo have had on him.

“I am grateful every day for Emporia State University’s students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends,” said Weaver. “Generous alumni like Mildred Caldwell and Colleen Thebo invest in academic excellence and inspire all of us with their generosity and vision. Emporia State University’s enduring impact on so many for so long has inspired my wife and me to invest in ESU’s current and future success.”

Added Dr. David Cordle, provost and vice president for academic affairs: “The gifts we celebrate today demonstrate the commitment of our alumni as well as the dedication of our leadership.  We’re grateful to the former students who continue to support the university, and we’re fortunate to have dedicated leaders like Dr. Ken Weaver and his wife, Katherine, whose investment will help students both now and forever. “


About Now & Forever

Now and Forever: The Campaign for Emporia State University, set out with a working goal to raise $45 million through the most comprehensive campaign in university history. Determined to build spirit, camaraderie and a sense of pride in Hornet Nation, we decided to share our victories. By ringing Silent Joe during each celebration, we announce to the world that the Hornet Nation is Silent No More.

Building a University House

February 16, 2017

George Breidenthal always preferred to work behind the scenes to advance Emporia State University and its programs. His substantial gifts to music, elementary education and women’s athletics — Lady Hornet basketball, in particular — cemented his standing as a quiet superfan always ready to support students.

Five ESU Alumni Receive Horizon Awards

February 14, 2017

Michael Vander Linden, an Emporia State University theatre alumnus and teacher at Burlington High School, is among five Emporia State graduates selected to receive the 2017 Kansas Horizon Award.

Former ESU First Lady Virginia Visser Dies at 94

February 14, 2017

Emporia State lost one of its most-loyal and best-loved supporters on Feb. 8, when Virginia Visser, a former First Lady of the university, died in Mankato, Minnesota, at the age of 94.

Kansas Teacher of the Year Delegation Presents to ESU Students

January 31, 2017

Emporia State students will learn from experts when the 2017 Kansas Teacher of the Year team visits campus on Thursday, Feb. 2. The eight teachers include two ESU alumni

Opportunities for Educators this Spring

January 24, 2017

Educators are being offered opportunities to increase their skill and knowledge through workshops and conferences provided this spring through The Teachers College at Emporia State University. Some events offered have graduate credit available.

Head of Kansas Masonic Literacy Center Selected

January 23, 2017

Dr. Dennis J. Kear has been named the executive director of the Kansas Masonic Literacy Center. Kear, an alumnus of Emporia State, formerly served as dean of the college of education at Missouri State University.

Faculty Honored by Peers

January 12, 2017

Five faculty members at Emporia State University received awards on Jan. 12, 2017, for their work within The Teachers College.

U.S. News Ranks Emporia State Online Graduate Programs Among Top Kansas Schools

January 10, 2017

Bianca Hoose knew she needed a master

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration to be held on Emporia State campus

January 9, 2017

The Office of Diversity, Equity

Exploration of teaching/education careers offered

January 9, 2017

Kansas high school students looking toward the future have the opportunity to see if they want to be among the future generation of teachers, coaches, counselors, education researchers, speech ...

2 Teachers Achieve First-Time Certification

December 21, 2016

Two Kansas educators are among the more than 500 nationwide this year who achieved the highest professional credential they can earn

Kansas Teachers Achieve Certification

December 20, 2016

One hundred percent of the educators mentored through a program at Emporia State University in 2015-16 achieved the highest honor of the teaching profession

Beach and Visser halls CLOSED January 3

December 16, 2016

On Tuesday, Jan. 3

ESU Education Alumni Win Awards Trifecta

December 11, 2016

Alumni of The Teachers College at Emporia State have recently been named Superintendent of the Year, Kansas Teacher of the Year and School Counselor of the Year. The three honored alumni are Sue ...

Commencement Ceremonies Planned for Saturday

December 11, 2016

Nearly 550 students are candidates for degrees during winter commencement at Emporia State University on Saturday, Dec. 17. Undergraduates will receive their degrees during baccalaureate ceremonies ...

Erin Gruwell to Speak at ESU

November 7, 2016

A celebrated educator who helped her inner city high school students see a world outside their neighborhood will speak at Emporia State University Wednesday evening. Erin Gruwell, author of



Achievement - Emporia State University

Check out our students' achievements and accomplishments on Emporia State's meritpages.com site