Kansas Masons Create New Literacy Center: Largest Gift in University History

March 25, 2016

Masons across the state of Kansas are partnering with Emporia State University to create the Kansas Masonic Literary Center (KMLC) on the Emporia State campus. The initiative was publicly announced by the Masons last week during the 160th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Kansas. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a proclamation to recognize the special day, March 18, 2016, as Kansas Masons’ Day.

The $4 million gift is the largest in Emporia State University history. Today, Emporia State will celebrate with a bell-ringing ceremony in the Memorial Union’s KSTC Ballroom at 4 p.m. The literacy center is part of Kansas Masonic Foundation’s Building Kansas Campaign that seeks to raise $20 million during a new fundraising campaign to enrich the lives of Kansans throughout the state. The KMLC is scheduled to open Jan. 1, 2017.

“The KMLC’s mission is to provide service and support to learners from birth through adulthood throughout Kansas in the area of literacy,” said Dr. Ken Weaver, dean of The Teachers College. “Our partnership with the Kansas Masons includes working with the teachers around the state and hosting community literacy events for families and children. Thank you, Kansas Masons; the KMLC is truly a once in a lifetime partnership that will transform young minds and all Kansans.”

Aiming to transform the lives of over 50,000 children throughout Kansas in the next 10 years, the KMLC’s goals are to provide service and support with three foundational pillars: service for schools, teachers and students across Kansas; service for families and communities at the KMLC; and research for the betterment of literacy development. The KMLC will provide reading specialists and experts in the field to work with school districts and provide resources to assist the improvement of their students’ literacy rates.

The KMLC will promote the literacy development of Kansans of all ages, young children through adults. Outreach efforts will include providing elementary teachers and students with quality literacy instruction and support for literacy activities from the Kansas Masons in communities around the state.

Tutoring and year-round community literacy activities for children and adults are other services the KMLC will offer. Emporia State will lead the way by providing literacy leaders, faculty and teacher education students and graduates to partner with teachers, schools and communities to promote literacy. 

“We know that people of all different ages, in various walks of life, struggle daily with reading and writing,” said Dr. Beth Dobler, professor and Topeka PDS coordinator. “It’s been the dream of Dr. Weaver and the reading faculty at ESU to create a literacy center that supports the literacy development of Kansans, young and old.”

“Due to the generous support of the Kansas Masons, we now have the opportunity to make this dream a reality,” Dr. Dobler said. “Combining the financial support and manpower of the Kansas Masons with the literacy leadership at Emporia State University will build a literacy legacy for our state.”

“The creation of the Kansas Masonic Literacy Center at Emporia State University has the potential to help not only Kansans of today, but generations of Kansans in the future,” said Allison Garrett, president Emporia State University. “ESU is excited to partner with the Masons of Kansas to help create a foundation of literate, educated citizens.”

For information about how you can be a part of Now & Forever, the Campaign for Emporia State University, please contact campaign manager Carol Cooper at 620-341-6463.


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