Family Honors Teachers With Endowed Scholarship
The Kerford family has always considered education a high priority. Several family members chose education as their life’s work, totaling almost 150 years, and three of them taught their entire careers in the St. Joseph School District.
With that in mind, Karen ’76 and Mark Kerford recently established the Kerford Family Education Scholarship at Missouri Western to honor three of Mark’s cousins who spent their lives inspiring others. The scholarship honors Catherine, Edmonia and Doris Kerford. Catherine and Edmonia spent their entire careers in St. Joseph, and Doris taught in Kansas City.
Karen, who also taught for 33 years in St. Joseph, said she and Mark wanted the scholarship to benefit Missouri Western juniors and seniors who are education majors to assist them in finishing their degrees. The Kerfords donated $10,000 to endow the scholarship and ensure that it will always be available to help students. Preference is given to applicants who have graduated from high schools in St. Joseph. Grade point average and financial need are determining factors in the scholarship awards.
Karen, who is an alumnus along with her son, Chris ’14, said their connections to Missouri Western made the University an obvious choice for their gift.
The last of the siblings, Catherine, died in 2014 at the age of 102. Karen said the women were devoted teachers who always had school supplies in their home, including a mimeograph machine and an overhead projector.
Karen said she still talks to former students who remember the women. “They were well respected as excellent teachers, and apparently they were pretty strict, too. They were very dignified and independent.”
She hopes that former students will want to add to the scholarship fund as a tribute to the Kerford teachers.